FAA Part 107 Test-Day Tips
You've prepared for your FAA Part 107 exam, have created an IACRA account, and have registered for the test. Now it's time to actually sit for the exam. Here's some general information about the FAA Part 107 exam itself, along with a few test-taking tips.
Obviously, the most important tip I can give you is to make sure that you understand the information. There are 60 questions on the test, but they are drawn from a test bank of hundreds of questions. Memorizing the answers to practice questions won't work because the order of the answers is randomized. You actually have to understand the material.
The second most-important tip I should remind you of is that there are no refunds of FAA knowledge test fees if you fail. In the case of the Part 107 knowledge test, you'll also have to wait 14 days before you can take the test again, in addition to paying a second testing fee. So again, don't register for the test until you're sure you're going to pass.
Specifically, make sure that you understand the following topics like the back of your hand:
- Weather Services
Those sections combined will constitute most of the test. If you understand them all, you're practically guaranteed to pass.
Although most drone pilots who are new to aviation consider the above topics to be the hardest parts of the test, they're actually the easiest if you understand them. The answers literally will be right there on the screen or in the test supplement.
What I mean is that the answer to a chart question will be right there in the chart if you understand charts, the answer to a METAR question will be right there in the METAR, and the answer to a TAF question will right there in the TAF. They're basically freebies if you understand the concepts. So be sure you understand them before registering for the test and paying the fee.
The rest of the questions will be on the topics referenced on this page, specifically:
- Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
- Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
- Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
- Emergency procedures
- Crew resource management
- Radio communication procedures
- Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
- Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
- Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
- Airport operations
- Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures
- Operation at night
Note that a few questions may reference fixed-wing aircraft control surfaces, flight characteristics, abnormal attitudes (stalls and spins in particular), and weight and balance. The Part 107 certificate presently includes fixed-wing privileges, so you'll need a basic understanding of how unmanned fixed-wing aircraft fly and are flown.
If you've been preparing by way of the self-study route, and you're still not confident that you'll pass the test, I suggest you consider taking a training course like the Pilot Institute Part 107 Made Easy course.
Helpful Hints for Test Day
Here are a few things that you should know before you actually show up to take the Part 107 test.
- When you make your testing appointment, print up the confirmation page or the email they send you, and bring it with you to the testing center. You technically don't need it, but it will make it easier for the testing center to look up your appointment.
- As with any test, arrive well-rested and a bit early so you'll be relaxed and alert.
- The Part 107 test contains 60 questions selected from a test bank of hundreds of possible questions, so don't try memorizing the answers.
- All of the questions are multiple-choice.
- The test is administered on a computer but also uses a paper test supplement. I suggest you purchase a paper copy of the test supplement because that's what you'll be using on the actual test. But you can also download it for free here if you're broke or cheap.
- There's a pretty good chance that the nearest testing center to you will be at an airport flight school. Be sure you know how to get there. The perimeter roads around airports can be confusing.
- You will need to bring an approved ID and proof of address with you. You are allowed to use multiple ID's if no one document satisfies all of the requirements. The linked handout explains the requirements in more detail.
- You will not be allowed to have a mobile phone, smart watch, nor any other electronics in your possession, except:
- You will be allowed to bring a basic (non-scientific) calculator, or an electronic flight computer approved for use during FAA tests. You really shouldn't need either one. There's a calculator in the testing interface if you need one.
- You will be allowed to bring (and probably will need) a non-illuminated magnifying glass or page magnifier. The charts in the supplement are small and may be difficult to read. The reason it shouldn't have a light is that some testing centers will consider an illuminated magnifier an unapproved electronic device and won't let you use it.
- You are allowed to bring a straightedge ruler, as long as nothing other than the usual markings are printed on it. You can also use an aviation plotter if you have one, but all you really need is a straightedge. You'll need it for some of the chart questions that involve latitude and longitude.
- The testing program allows you to mark questions that you want to come back to later. The proctor will explain how to use that and other functions. If you don't understand, ask the proctor to explain it again. That's what they're there for.
- You will be allowed bathroom breaks if needed.
- You will receive a copy of your results from the test proctor or testing center administrator before you leave the testing center. Don't lose that document! You'll need it to apply for your certificate.
What to Do Once You've Passed the Part 107 Knowledge Test
Congratulations! You've passed your exam! But you're not a pilot just yet
Within a few hours to a few days (but usually a few hours, at least on weekdays) your test results will be transmitted electronically to IACRA. You'll then need to log into your IACRA account to actually apply for your Part 107 pilot certificate. Your exam results will be reviewed by an FAA inspector; and unless you're already certificated as a Part 61 pilot, sent to TSA for the security screening.
Assuming that TSA has no issues with your application, you should receive an email with a link to your temporary certificate in a week or two. The temporary certificate will be valid for 120 days, by which time you should receive your permanent certificate with your pilot certificate number. It will be valid for the rest of your life, unless revoked, as long as you take recurrent training to satisfy the FAA's currency requirements.
Revised November 26, 2022