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My Experience Taking (and Passing) the Part 107 Test

January 6, 2017

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My Experience Taking (and Passing) the Part 107 Test

January 6, 2017

 I took the test in December and passed with an 87%. The test was hard. I am not a licensed pilot otherwise, so a lot of the concepts were pretty foreign to me. I scheduled the test back in October and selected a date in December, figuring I would have a fair amount of time in the interim to study and get prepared. I spent a lot of time just trying to figure out what to study. I considered taking a paid course online, but the test already costs $150, and some of the prep courses costs several hundred to more than $1,000.   

 

Test Prep:

 

Generally, I would say that most of my time "studying" prior to the day before the test was really just spent figuring out the ins and outs of the test and trying to find a decent study guide or study material. I download the published FAA Guide (https://www.faa.gov/regulations_poli...tudy_guide.pdf), but found it to be confusing and overly complicated.   

The first resource I found was the study guide on 3D Robotic's website (https://3dr.com/faa). I went through all of that material and watched the webinar on what to expect. This guide is very helpful, but kind of sparse in terms of content. I would definitely recommend it though for anyone else preparing to take the test. 

My test was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. By Friday at noon, I realized that I had not studied nearly enough, so I moved the test back to 2:00 p.m., with the intention of getting up very early, and finally getting down to studying before the test (cramming?). And that's what I did. 

First, I went back to the FAA Study Guide and read the whole thing. I was still super confused about airspace classifications and sectional charts, so I went on YouTube and watched as many videos as I could on those topics. After that, I did the 40 practice questions published by the FAA, available here. I found an online resource that had those same questions with explanations as to the answers (http://jrupprechtlaw.com/part-107-knowledge-test). 

Going through the practice test 10 questions at a time, and then cross-checking my answers was probably what helped me the most. I ended up getting about two or three questions directly from those practice questions on my actual test. I also printed out and utilized a copy of the FAA Supplement that is available online (https://www.faa.gov/training_testing...ivate_akts.pdf).  This Supplement is the very same Supplement you will use when taking the actual test.  In fact, many of the answers to the questions on the real test can be figured out simply using the information found in the Supplement.  Thus, it is vitally important that you read and become familiar with the content of the Supplement before the actual test, especially the reference materials found in the beginning.   

 

Taking the Test:


I got to the testing center 30 minutes in advance. They checked me in quickly and verified some information like my name and address, etc. The testing room had three stations set up with a computer in each station, and dividers in between. There was another guy there taking his actual pilot's license test, but he started after me. 

Definitely bring glasses if you wear them (I don't) because not only is the Testing Supplement small print (including the sectional charts), but the test on the screen was like 8 point font for some reason. 

The only easy thing about the exam is that there are only three multiple choice answers per question. That means if you just guess, you'll statistically end up with at least a 33%. You only need a 70% to pass, so a few right answers will get you close. 

My Recommendations: 

1. Get to know the Testing Supplement. This is the most important.  A few of the answers can be found by just looking at the Appendix in the front. I had one question that basically asked what an acronym stood for. If you go to the first page of the supplement, you'll see an explanation of what the various frequencies are surrounding airports on the charts, along with a statement of what each stands for. That question was that easy, but only easy if you knew where to look. 

2. Always go with the most conservative answer. I had one about how long you have to notify the FAA of your new address and I just guessed the most conservative answer of 30 days, and was right. There were other questions where I knew that the most conservative answer was the correct answer.  Thus, if you are unsure, go with the most conservative answer.   

3. The software allows you to mark certain answers. Use this feature. If there is a hard question that seems like the kind you can figure out given enough time, mark it and come back to it, but make sure to answer it anyway, just in case you run out of time. 

4. Be mindful of your time. Most people say it only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to the test, but I used almost the full two hours.  If I wasn't watching my time, I likely would have run out of time. 

5. Bring glasses if you wear them.  
 

Conclusion:

 

I ended up getting an 87 and I was pleasantly surprised. The test is HARD.  There is no way to guess your way through it.  You need to know and understand airspace classifications, sectional charts, weather reports and weather forecasts, and all of the FAA rules specific to UAVs.  There really is no shortcut.  

In the end, I am happy I passed, but keep in mind that passing the test is only the first step.  As a UAV pilot, you have to continuously review what you have learned, and stay on top of new regulations and how the impact you as a remote pilot.  The most important thing to remember is that safety is always the number one priority.  You cannot safely operate a UAV unless you understand the concepts set forth in the Part 107 Test, and actually implement those concepts in your everyday-operations.  So have fun and be safe! 

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