STUDENT LIFE

ATPL Theory Course Tips

The ATPL Theory is the course a pilot in training has to complete in order to gain the ATPL. It consists of 14 subjects and can be carried out in schools with full time classes or by distance learning at home. 

Once you start taking exams, you will have 18 months to complete them with a maximum of six exam sittings (up to four per subject). Careful planning and not wasting sittings is advisable.

The volume of information to take in and work to complete can be overwhelming, so here are some hints to ease you in to your course, from choosing a school to sitting exams.

Find your learning style

Everyone has a unique way of learning and different people find different ways of absorbing information, revising and applying their knowledge. You might have developed certain methods of learning while studying for school exams and you could apply these to the personal study time you will be putting in to the ATPL theory.

There will be a large volume of learning and work to do during the course, so hit the ground running from the start, don’t get behind. If you have a learning plan in place you’re off to a positive start. 


Set study boundaries

You will spend a lot of time practising self-led study outside of the classroom, so it’s important to plan your time well. 

Set aside time every evening to recap your notes and continue your studies. Also take a day out of the weekend to revise and do further reading. This extra time will stand you in good stead later on as you start to absorb more and more information. 

Equally, it’s important to take time for yourself to relax. It’s good practise to set a timetable and stick to it. If your self-written timetable says you’ll study at a set time each evening then follow it and enjoy your downtime after that. You’ll feel satisfied that you’ve done your best!


Group study

When time allows and when it feels right for you, arrange study groups with fellow trainee pilots. You’ll get tips and information from others and you’ll feel great about sharing your understanding with them too. 

It will also help you to build and maintain friendships with like-minded people, something you may appreciate in long study periods and your downtime too. 

Don’t doubt yourself though – if others have different answers or opinions to you, don’t hesitate to ask your tutors or a full trained pilot for their advice.


Use your PPL knowledge

If you’re going down the modular training route and have obtained a PPL then you’ll have a solid basis to continue your education for the ATPL theory. If you’re choosing the integrated training option then it may be a good idea to acquire as much research as you can about aviation and aircraft ahead of the course commencing. 

If there’s been a gap between your PPL and ATPL it would be a good idea to revisit your previous notes and give yourself a good recap! 


Get one step ahead

If you’re still studying for school exams, this step starts now! English, Maths and Science will build a good foundation for pilot training, so working hard at those now and finding ways to help you learn will be beneficial later on. 

During ATPL theory you should be prepared for upcoming subjects and modules. If you start reading and researching ahead of each topic it will help you to absorb the information as it is taught. 

Also keep researching the aviation industry in general and maintain an interest in aircraft. If you enjoy what you’re learning about it will become more straightforward. 


Test your math’s skills

Arithmetic comes up on a daily basis for a pilot so some of the theory will come easier to you if you practise. Leave yourself little math’s tests around the house, think about how you can build tests into shopping, filling the car up with petrol, cooking. 

You don’t need to have an extensive knowledge of math’s but if you keep your brain ticking over on it as much as possible, it will become easier to process when you really need to. 


Utilise school facilities

You’ve picked the flight school that you feel is right for you, so don’t let it go to waste. Use all the resources available to you whether it’s books, flight simulators, tutors or aircraft, it’s all there to help.

The more you immerse yourself in what’s accessible the more your interest, enthusiasm and knowledge will build, making your whole experience worthwhile.