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Thread: Question about practice tests on Sportys re: cross country section

  1. #1
    geosnooker2000's Avatar
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    Question about practice tests on Sportys re: cross country section

    I'm taking practice tests every once in a while in prep for taking the written @ Sportys free website. 60 questions with a 3 hour timer, which seems to be about 2 hours more than one should need. When a question comes up with a VFR chart vignette asking how long of a flight time will it be from Airport "A" in area 3 to Airport "B" in area 1, I have no idea HOW you are supposed to arrive at an answer. There is no way to measure distance, short of using the length of my finger from joint to joint on the scale above, and saying "weeeeeelllll.... it looks like my first and second index finger sections looks to equal about 10 nautical miles, and it looks liiiiike.... let me scroll the screen up to finish measuring.... 7.5 finger lengths. So 75 miles." Which sometimes ends up being off enough to get the wrong answer.

    Those of you who have any knowledge of testing by computer please tell me the "real deal" at the testing center has a way to determine distance, length, angles/headings, etc. This problem also crops up when they ask to figure the total landing distance under certain wind and temperature conditions on a chart that has four different segments that you are supposed to go up, hit an angled line, follow that over to a sloped line, follow that down to the next section, etc. etc.... you get the idea.

    Thanks for any responses!
    George

  2. #2
    geosnooker2000's Avatar
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    Additional question. On the Sporty's pilot test site, the practice tests have 3 possible answers on each question. Does the real test have 3 as well?
    Last edited by geosnooker2000; 07-05-2020 at 07:36 PM.

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    The vertical lines on a sectional chart (lines of longitude) have tick marks (for minutes of latitude) that are 1 nautical mile apart. For headings, maybe you can start with a VOR compass rose on the chart. For those charts where "you are supposed to go up, hit an angled line, follow that over to a sloped line, follow that down to the next section," you can just follow with your eyes and notice if you are halfway between two lines or a third down from the line, etc., that carries over to the next segment in the same proportion.
    Last edited by dougbush; 07-06-2020 at 12:02 AM.

  4. #4
    When you go in to take the actual test, they give you a book that has the "figures" in it. The test says "refer to figure....", then asks the question.

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    geosnooker2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbalexander View Post
    When you go in to take the actual test, they give you a book that has the "figures" in it. The test says "refer to figure....", then asks the question.
    Ahhhh.... So then you can use an E6B and a straight edge?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by geosnooker2000 View Post
    Ahhhh.... So then you can use an E6B and a straight edge?

    Yessir. You can even use the CX-3 computer. You can also use "T" pins or straight pins to mark points on the sectionals.

  7. #7

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    Don't want to hijack your thread, but it looks like you got your answer. I went through testing 21 years ago. At that time I basically read through my red Gleim question book over and over. When I got to the test, every question and the answer choices were word-for-word what was in the book. Practically just had to read the first few words of the answers and could pick the correct choice without reading the question. Is it the same now, or have they improved/randomized the testing now?

  8. #8
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    Yeah, it doesn't work that way anymore. For some reason, the FAA wants pilot applicants to learn something about piloting rather than just how to memorize/recognize correct answers. When they moved from the old Practical Test Standards to the new Airman Certification Standards in 2016 & 2017, they also reviewed all of the written test questions, developed new questions, and stopped publishing the question banks.

    From the FAA's Airman Testing Q&A:

    Why did the FAA knowledge test include so many questions I had never seen before?

    The FAA makes every effort to maintain the integrity and security of actual knowledge test questions through regular review and revision of the test question item bank. We have recently intensified this review and revision process, so it is increasingly unlikely that applicants will see an exact match between sample questions and actual test questions. The FAA does not publish actual knowledge test questions, in part because at least two independent studies indicate that publication of active questions could negatively affect learning and understanding, as well as undermine the validity of the knowledge test as an assessment tool.

    The agency does provide sample knowledge tests on the FAA website. The questions in these sample tests are intended to help applicants understand the scope and type of knowledge that will be tested to qualify for the target certificate or rating. The goal is for applicants to devote their efforts to mastering the fundamental aeronautical knowledge necessary for safe operations in the National Airspace System (NAS) rather than to memorizing specific questions and answers.

    The questions that you may have seen and studied in commercially-available materials have been developed by test preparation providers for similar reasons – that is, to enable applicants to study concepts and practice calculations specified in the 14 CFR part 61 “aeronautical knowledge” requirements for each airman certificate or rating. These are not, and should not be represented to be, “real” questions.

    In some cases, unscrupulous test preparation providers have sought to obtain actual test questions by overtly or otherwise encouraging knowledge test takers to share information about actual questions and possible answers immediately after taking the knowledge test. The FAA has taken action against such companies. You should also be aware that an applicant’s participation in such practices could be a violation of 14 CFR part 61, section 61.37 (“Knowledge tests: Cheating or other unauthorized conduct.”)

    The FAA's page on Airman Testing has all the info you could want, including a link to their own practice exams.
    Last edited by Eric Page; 07-08-2020 at 09:14 AM. Reason: Add link to FAA knowledge testing info page.
    Eric Page
    Member: EAA, AOPA, ALPA
    ATP: MEL / Comm: SEL, Glider / ATCS: CTO
    Map of Landings

  9. #9
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    The supplement book (the book with the figures) is on the way out. The testing software includes an on-screen electronic E6 or you can bring your own. The FAA has sold out PSI/TrueTalent, so there's no other thing to deal with (and there's no longer any competition so the prices have reached the gouge level).

    Yes, it's still three-way multiple choice at this point.

    Irwin Gleim always was a good study, though the tests have changed. I too liked Gleim phrasing things in the study guide to match the words on the test. Essentially, if you saw it in BOLD FACE you knew it was word for word from one of the test answers.

    The problem is that the FAA can issue corrupt single source contracts and screw around with the testing format all they want, but they aren't going to achieve anything until they get a better methodology for generating the test answers. Some of it is so insanely arcane that there wasn't much hope other than to memorize the answer and regurgitate what the FAA wanted to hear. I always liked the FCC with the amateurs. They actually formed a committee (led by the three of four testing organizations) to actually develop relevant questions for the test.

  10. #10

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    I am a big fan of Sporty's online learn to fly course. Pay the money, get it, you have it for life, and it is updated periodically. The FAA Chart supplement book is available from Amazon. Get that too. Then you just can't go wrong.

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