My instrument check ride is fast approaching, and I want to come up with a comprehensive study strategy to prepare. I feel a bit overwhelmed with the amount of information I feel I should memorize and understand. Other than flash cards, what other concrete strategies would you all recommend? Perhaps reading through and taking notes on the AIM, Instrument Flying Handbook, ect..?


1 Answer 1


Best way to master a topic is to teach it to someone else. If you know an instrument student who is just starting out, offer to coach them. Organizing the information for presentation and presenting it burns it in your brain better than anything.

Next best is to write about it. Write a series of short articles to yourself that outline the critical facts you have to have memorized. It's basically note-taking, but a little more in depth. The mental process of sifting and organizing the info burns it in pretty good.

Critical procedures you have to recall from memory; repetition, repetition, repetition. Drill drill drill, then drill some more. Drill it until you can have someone distract you by poking you and yelling at you, as you recite memory items and procedures, unaffected by the poking and yelling. When you can do that, it's burned in well enough to come to you automatically when you're under stress during the check ride.

And don't forget to use MS Flight Simulator on your computer to practice. You have the ability to fly hundreds of approaches, holds, missed approaches, engine failure drills. Use it. Examiners are blown away by someone whose hands fly around effortlessly doing A/B/C/D while they are able to think ahead about what do to next. You achieve that through repetition and drill.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, flight sims can help here. Nowdays, many of them do offer real life nav aids tuning, cross wind, poor visibility with realistic instrument and plane behavior. You can actually fly your exam airfield in the sim. It can be time consuming though. $\endgroup$ Dec 11, 2023 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ When I was flying CRJs, years ago, it was quite infrequent, and I actually used a CRJ add on for FSX to practice profiles, or to familiarize myself with a new destination. Even at that basic level, the ability to repeat things is a powerful tool. Recurrent check rides involved a non precision circling approach usually followed by a go around with an engine fire at just the right time during the climb out It was pretty intense doing it in a jet. But I'd done it hundreds of times at home, so it came easy. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Dec 11, 2023 at 22:21

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