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Changes coming to two FAA knowledge exam tests

In the February Airman Testing Community Advisory, the FAA announced two planned changes to the private pilot—airplane and commercial pilot—airplane knowledge tests will be implemented April 24.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

Both the private pilot and commercial pilot test times will be reduced by 30 minutes. The private pilot test will go from 150 minutes to 120 minutes, and the commercial pilot test time limit will change from 180 minutes to 150 minutes.

Additionally, five unscored validation questions will be added to each test. These questions will not count toward the applicant's score but are included so the FAA can evaluate the statistical performance of new questions before they are implemented into the tests as scored questions. The private pilot test will now consist of 65 questions, up from 60 questions, and the commercial pilot test will grow from 100 questions to 105 questions.

There will be no changes to test topics or subject matter at this time. More information and new sample test questions can be found online.

These changes are a result of a recent assessment of current private pilot and commercial pilot knowledge tests completed by the FAA; aviation industry stakeholders; and the FAA’s testing vendor, PSI.

In January, PSI introduced its new reimbursement structure, which effectively reduced reimbursement rates to third-party test centers by more than 65 percent for most FAA exams. Following the initial announcement, AOPA asked PSI to delay implementing the new reimbursement structure, citing concerns about the negative effects this change could have on test center availability and access to exams.

Now, AOPA and flight training industry stakeholders are reaching out to the FAA asking for improved testing oversight, detailing how the change has disproportionately affected third-party providers, as well as requesting access to verifiable data on the impact these changes have had on applicants. The FAA awarded PSI the Airman Certificate Testing Service contract in 2018, and the company is currently the only provider of FAA knowledge tests.

If you or someone you know is having difficulty accessing a testing center because of a third-party closure, please contact AOPA.

Niki Britton

eMedia Content Producer
eMedia Content Producer Niki Britton joined AOPA in 2021. She is a private pilot who enjoys flying her 1969 Cessna 182 and taking aerial photographs.
Topics: Advocacy, Student, Flight Instructor

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