PPOT’s “Ace It” series highlights various tips and advice for helping you succeed in interviews and on checkrides. The series covers everything from common suggestions to lesser-known ideas. If you have some advice you’d like to share with fellow pilots, send an email to email@example.com. Appropriate credit is always given for submissions.
Passing a checkride or major milestone in training is undoubtedly one of the best feelings we experience as pilots. Hard work has finally paid off and we might enjoy the luxury of having several weeks or months until our next checkride or training event. The days or weeks following a checkride are a great time to relax and reset mentally for the next step ahead. However, at some point or another our “vacation” will end and it will be time to begin the next phase of training.
Beginning a new training course can be both exciting and daunting. The feeling of success is still fresh in the mind from passing the last checkride, but it’s time for the work to begin again to ensure future success. As we begin a new phase in training, it’s important to lay a solid foundation for success. As such, this week’s “Ace It” topic is Always Preparing.
As a flight student, I was always trying to find ways to identify shortfalls in how I was preparing for checkrides, and improve on them. One of the biggest issues I found was that, especially in complex courses (looking at you, Instrument Rating), I would arrive at checkride time without a solid collection of study guides and notes to use to prepare. Because of this, I constantly spent long hours and late nights leading up to checkrides trying to compile information learned over the course, and create study guides from it. Although this method would eventually get me prepared, it definitely wasn’t pleasant at times.
From these experiences I eventually realized that I had to solve the issue of making the process easier on myself and retain more of the information in the long-run. The solution: create detailed, insightful study guides throughout the course that would be my primary resource for preparing once it was checkride time. From then on, every time I had a lesson in the aircraft or on the ground, I would take 15 minutes at some point throughout the day to summarize everything I learned in an easy to read, study guide format. I would focus on information I wanted to retain long-term, and topics that would probably be covered on the checkride.
The difference was night and day. Instead of scrambling to prepare and compile all of the information I needed at the last minute, I always had a go-to guide for reviewing everything I needed to know for the course I was in. Throughout training, I could reference it to continuously brush-up on topics that needed improvement. At checkride time, it was my holy grail for studying all of the information I needed to know for success on the big day.
All this being said, try it for yourself. Next time you start training for a certificate or rating, try out this method. Or even better, start a study-guide now for the course you’re currently in. It’ll help you stay organized and prepared. Studies have always shown that rewriting information on your own dramatically improves retention of the information, leading to better performance on tests. And better performance on tests and checkrides is exactly our goal.