FAA Instrument written test.

faa instrument written test

Are you preparing for your instrument written test and yet unaware of what to expect in the exam?

This article answers the frequently asked questions on instrument written tests.

I did my best to describe the following commonly asked questions by private pilots before taking the FAA instrument written test.

  • How many questions are on the FAA instrument written exam?
  • What is the duration for the instrument written exam?
  • What is the passing score for the FAA instrument written test?
  • Where can I take the FAA written test?
  • How do I schedule my FAA written exam?
  • How much does the FAA written exam cost?
  • What can you bring to an FAA written exam?
  • How many times can you fail the FAA written test?
  • How long is the instrument written test good before it expires?
  • Which test prep can I use to prepare?
How many questions are on the FAA instrument written exam?

The FAA instrument written exam has 60 multiple-choice questions. The questions are on various topics on essential elements for instrument flying.
You won’t find any irrelevant questions. Thus have no fear if you prepare well for the instrument rating exam.
Each question has three options and one correct answer.

What is the duration for the instrument written exam?

You will have 2 hours, 30 minutes to answer 60 questions correctly.
The best practice is to answer the most straightforward questions quickly and save time to think and answer the difficult ones later.
Many times you will notice two are very similar choices.
These options are there to confuse you, and if you look closely at the options, you will see slight differences.
That small variations differentiate the right answer from the wrong one.
Be confident of what you learned during your instrument training and pick the correct answer.

What is the passing score for the FAA instrument written test?

Examinees must at least score 70% marks to pass the IFR written test. That means one must answer 42 questions correctly to pass the exam.
I believe that it is not a big deal.
You can pass the exam with ease if you are ready to take the exam.
But I don’t vote for merely passing the exam with a passing score.
Take an online course and use instrument written test prep software to study for the test.
If you put some effort and time into studying, I can confidently say you will pass the exam with over 90% marks.
Getting over 90% marks has an extra benefit.
During your oral exam and check-ride, your Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) may take it lightly on you. Likely, DPE won’t ask the examinee many tricky questions if DPE sees the trainee pilot passed the FAA instrument written test with an excellent score.

Where can I take the FAA written test?

The FAA has over 300 testing centers around the country. In the united states, you can choose a testing center that is nearest to you.

How do I schedule my FAA written exam?

To register for your instrument written test, you can go online to this link and schedule your exam.
First, you must create an account or login with your existing account on PSI True exams website. Next, you can schedule your exam in your nearest test centers.
All FAA written exams have online scheduling. Likewise, they have a toll-free number where you can talk to a customer service representative to schedule your exam date and time.
Schedule the most convenient date and the testing center that is closest to you.

How much does the FAA written exam cost?

The FAA written exams cost only 150 USD. The registration fee is the same for both private pilot written test and FAA instrument written exam.
To take the instrument rating written test, you will have to pay 150 USD for registration.
However, with an AOPA membership, you will get a 10 USD discount, and your fee will be 140 USD.
Ensure you pass the FAA written test during your first attempt because retaking the exam will cost you another 150 USD for registration.
Every time you take the exam, you have to pay 150 USD for the registration.

What can you bring to an FAA instrument written exam?


You are allowed to bring a few necessary gadgets during your exam. Having these tools will aid you in your exam. You have the authorization to carry the essential ones, such as:
Protractor;
Plotter;
E6B flight computer (Manual or Electronic);
An electronic calculator for simple maths.
You are not allowed to take anything that can store or save notes during your exam. Such as:
Cellphone;
Notes;
Scratch papers.
All examinees must bring valid IDs and the necessary endorsements for the exam.
US citizens must bring one valid ID such as:
US driver’s license;
US government iD;
Passport.
Foreign Nationals in the United States must bring along their:
Passport; and
Driver’s license in the United States.
It is compulsory to show the necessary endorsements before taking the exam.
To take the FAA instrument rating exam, you must carry your instrument rating endorsement that says you finished instrument ground school or took an online instrument course.
Without an endorsement, you can’t take the exam. Thus, it is essential to finish a ground school course online or offline.

How many times can you fail the FAA written test?

There is no limit on how many times you can fail the written test and retake the exam.
Every time you fail the exam, you have to re-register to take the exam. Thus you will pay 150 USD to FAA for the re-registration.
Failing the exam multiple times is not an option. Study carefully and prepare well to pass your IFR written test on your first attempt.
I want to tell you that prepare well enough before your second attempt for those retaking. Regardless you will pay the registration fee of 150 USD.
Passing the exam at once will benefit you during your check ride.
Once the check pilot notices you failed your instrument written test multiple times, he might go the extra mile to test your flying skills and IFR knowledge.

How long is the FAA instrument knowledge test good before it expires?

The instrument written test is good for 24 months. After you pass your exam, your certificate for the instrument written test is valid for 24 months.
Within these 24 months, you have to complete your IFR training and pass your check-ride.
Twenty-four months is adequate time to complete IFR flight training and pass the check-ride.
Failure to complete your instrument rating training or, unfortunately, not passing your instrument rating check-ride within 24 months will require you to retake the instrument rating exam.
In that case, you may need an updated IFR written test prep to practice for the instrument rating knowledge test.
The FAA updates their question bank frequently, and the questions you practiced before two years may not be relevant to the problems today.
Instead of waiting for 24 months to get your IFR rating, allocate some time and try to complete instrument rating training in a few months.

Which test prep can I use to prepare for the instrument rating knowledge test?

There are numerous test prep online available to practice for the instrument rating theory exam.
Gleims has always been popular among pilot students to study for theory exams.
But there are also test prep software by Dauntless Aviation.
Using Gliem’s test prep books to study and the Dauntless Aviation software to practice answering the question is an excellent idea.
Using the dauntless test prep, you will get used to answering multiple-choice question answers similar to the actual FAA test.
Once you practice using dauntless test prep, the actual test will not seem anything unknown.
Set a time limit and use the dauntless software to answer questions and then see your score.
That way, you will be ready for the actual FAA theory written exam. There is an article here about IFR written test preps.

How to take an FAA instrument written exam?

I believe you have a clear understanding of the instrument rating theories if you have followed the instructions above.
But did you know many student pilots still fail the instrument rating exam after all these efforts?
I guess you don’t want to be one of them.
Tip number 1: Do not memorize the answers to the test questions to pass the exam.
It’s the wrong way, and you will fail your exam if you find unfamiliar questions. Thus understand each subject and relevant concept clearly to prepare for the unknown.
Your FAA instrument written test questions may differ, but the questions’ fundamentals will be the same.
Tip number 2: Don’t leave any questions unanswered.
Answer every question. Leaving answers blank means you have failed to respond to the item already. If you really can’t find the answer to your question, then make your best guess.
Tip number 3: Do not overthink the answers to any question.
Always go with first instinct. Usually, your first instinct is the correct answer to a question.
If you overthink and are confused between two solutions, answer the first one you thought correct. Take a close look at the answers.
The FAA often makes slight differences to the options, yet they look correct at first glance. However, you will realize the other option’s tiniest flaw by taking a closer look and breakdown.
Tip number 4: Try to answer the most straightforward questions quickly.
There are only 60 questions, and answering the easier one quicker will leave you with extra time to answer the difficult question.
When you follow the study method I describe in this post, you can answer the most strange question.
If you know the fundamentals and understand the concept, you can answer any instrument rating written exam item.
To keep pace, answer the more straightforward question, and save time for the difficult ones. With proper time management, you will likely finish your exam before the scheduled time.

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