As of 14 August 2017, the first new-style ATPL Theoretical Knowledge (TK) exams have been taken in the UK. Arguably this makes the exams even more challenging... So how have we arrived at this new status-quo?
Let’s refresh with a very recent history of the ATPL TK exam.
A brief history...
Until 2015 these exams were sat on paper with each cadet in the room receiving the same exam.
This then transitioned to electronic exams, with each cadet in the exam room recieving questions randomly generated from a database – this meant that the ability to talk to your fellow cadets about the answers post-exam was no more. This change was not a drastic one - the exams remained in the multiple choice format and the question database was not updated on a large scale.
There are numerous online revision resources – also known as ‘question banks’ - to practice exam style questions; popular banks include ATPL Online and Bristol Ground School.
Many have observed that the question banks were so accurate that in some cases they near enough replicated the real exam. This has commonly been considered a reason why the format has been changed. Perhaps there has been a feeling that cadets where training to pass, without demonstrating true evidence of learning and understanding of the subjects? It has also been suggested that this is not the real issue, but the syllabus and subjects themselves that need reviewing – are they ‘irrelevant’ or ‘outdated’? If you’ve recently studied or are studying for your ATPL TK, we’d love to get your perspective.
It’s true that the subjects to be studied remain the same, but the UK CAA has said that all questions will be reviewed and that it will be “monitoring candidates’ comments made during and at the end of each exam to identify questions that may require amending or withdrawing.”
So, what are the subjects? There are 14 subjects and 14 exams, one for each subject. They are:
The new system
The new exam platform is called ‘Quadrant’ and will have four different styles of questions:
Want to know more? Check out this video from the UK CAA which explains the changes.
The pass mark remains the same: you’ll need a score of 75% or more to pass and there is no penalty marking. It is worth considering that some Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) enforce their own higher pass marks if your course is linked to airline employment opportunities.
We want to know what you think! Are you in training now? Have you recently sat your ATPL TK exams or will you be sitting some of your exams in the new format? Contact us or use the comment box below.
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