Written PPL exams

There are nine examinations that have to be taken.  Some are required to be done before a certain stage of flying, such as the Air Law exam which has to be done before the first solo, and the Navigation exam must be done before the first cross country, and it is recommended that the Communications exam leading the the Radio Telephony practical be done before doing the Qualifying Cross Country which is a cross country of over 120 nautical miles with two landings away from base at different airfields.

The exams are taken in three batches of three, with no more than 10 days between the first and last of the batch, and they all have to be taken within 18 months of taking the first to the last one, or the earlier ones have to be taken again.  At Cotswold Flying School we are authorised to give the exams, which are provided by the CAA.

As long as the subject is understood these exams are straight forward and can be learned from the set of recommended books.  They are multiple choice, and the pass mark is 70%.  Some exams have more questions than others.  If anyone is struggling to learn the subject, then we offer groundschool to help our students to learn the subject and also to pass the exam.

Below is the list of subjects that have to be taken.  I have grouped them in suggested groups of three in the likely order that they are best taken.  The first subjects are very dry, and difficult to comprehend initially, the second are very practical and necessary for flying training, and the last for cross county flying which comes towards the end of the course.

Air Law


Operational Procedures

Aircraft General

Principles of Flight

Human Performance and Limitations

Navigation and Radio Aids

Flight Planning and Performance


I strongly suggest that you work on these exams as you progress with your flying training.  I have had many students who have not done this, and end up finishing their flying and then struggling to pass their exams.  In the meantime they have forgotten about their flying and need more flying to revise for their final skills test which they cannot take until the complete course is done.  I have only one student who did all his exams before he started to fly, and it was a pleasure to teach him as his understanding was superior to those who were learning as they want along.