ATPL Question Database – Yes or No?

Study the material provided by the flight school or study the ATPL question database in order to pass the ATPL exams? What is the best way to prepare yourself for the ATPL exams? You will find the answer below. I have been in this situation myself and at that time I didn’t know how to study for my ATPL subjects, until I got slapped in the face and realized how the game had to be played. Be smart, don’t spend loads of time to reinvent the wheel, just read the article below and ace the ATPL exams!

Step number 1.

ATPL question database or oxford books?Throw your books out of the window… Whoot??  Just kidding, don’t throw them out literally but just put them aside for a bit. During the last few months you have studied a lot of (Oxford) books and had many intermediate exams. I guess by this time you know at least 80% of what is all in there. Not sure of that? Fix that after the ATPL exams but definitely not before! Is that a promise? 😉 When the ATPL exams approach those books are no longer important. The only things that matter are: your notes and the ATPL question database. To get started: get a membership at ATPL online, get your notes ready and let’s go! 🙂

Remember that even though at that stage you don’t need your Oxford books anymore, it is very important to always maintain and increase your ATPL knowledge. Without knowledge you are less safe and you will not get any Airline job. This book helped me a lot in maintaining my ATPL knowledge and it has been one of the best purchases I made since my graduation. If you want to study the same books as pilots did during their flight training (including me) you can take a look and find one of the cheapest versions of any Oxford ATPL book by clicking the following link: Oxford JAA ATPL Manuals Set of 14

For the suspicious people out there, this is how it will go down if you do not follow this method… 😉 You will probably start studying your Oxford books because you are being told over and over that this is what you should do. Time will fly and in the meantime you will try some of the practice questions about the subject you just studied. You notice that you get short on time and that your results from the question database are miserable. You realize that studying and reading the books takes too long and that it is also too late to practice all 15.000 questions at this stage. So you try to fix that with the little time you have left… Ending up with understanding 3000 questions and low confidence. Wauw! Can you imagine the stress level just before some of the most important exams in your life? Not good is it? So skip his whole process and immediately start going through the ATPL question database.

Step number 2.
You can use the ATPL question ATPL question database - ace the ATPL examsdatabase to study literally every single question of each ATPL subject. The official exams consist of questions taken from that ATPL question database. There are more than 15.000 questions  so you better get to it. Make a schedule and start with one subject at a time. A faulty answer? Study the answer by heart if the questions was a fact and look it up in your notes if the question was about a system or something more complicated. Still having trouble to understand the question? Look it up on the internet and get ready for the next question. If you just want to pass, go through all 15.000 questions at least once. If you want to pass with flying colours… make sure you go through every question at least 3 times!

I studied everything about HPL (Human Performance & Limitations) and knew almost the entire book by heart. I entered the classroom for my HPL Final (the last school exam 2 weeks before the ATPL exam) and started the test. The questions were clear but the answers? Pff, they all looked so much alike. In some cases there were at least 3 correct answers. It took me a lot of time to figure out which answer was just a little bit better. The result 66%. No way?! I thought I knew the whole book by heart and my score was 66%? Other students had scores of 90%, 93% etcetera. Luckily this was just the school final and not the actual ATPL exam. As flabbergasted as I was, I looked around and asked the my classmates how they managed to get such good scores… You know the answer.

The longest answer or ‘B’Read more about the ATPL question database. Pass your ATPL exams with 90% or more instead of failing the exams.
From that moment on, I did not touch any Oxford book. I invested my time in the ATPL question database… I made sure I understood every question, whether it was a huge calculation or just a fact. Guess what my score was on the HPL ATPL exam? 98%. Quite a difference don’t you think? 66% studying books and 98% without studying the Oxford books. I completely understand that there are many people who disagree with me but I honestly believe that this is the only way to get a high score. Mistakes are easily made because the answers on the ATPL exam are so incredibly similar. In most cases you have to choose the ‘most correct answer‘ instead of just the correct answer. If you studied the question database you know which answer they are looking for. If you haven’t, you will spend ages on one question. Last but not least when you really have no clue of the correct answer? Try the longest answer or  ‘B’, haha! 🙂

A few guys from my class did not use the question database but studied the Oxford books. Whenever anyone of my class had a question, those guys were the ones who could explain every single detail about any subject. I am not joking, they knew almost everything! Not to make you worry, but this is what happened: they flunked out. Why? Because their mark on the ATPL exams was way below the pass mark of 75%. Why? Read the above. It is simply not do-able to pass 14 subjects without using the ATPL question database. Of course everyone was blown away when, especially those guys, were told they wouldn’t be able to finish their education. Crazy world isn’t it? Safe yourself a lot of stress and just play the game.

Why is a high score important?
The ATPL exam is the most important written exam during the training. Airlines pay a lot of attention to ATPL results when they look for pilots to fill their vacancies. There is too much competition going on nowadays, it is hard to get that first job. ATPL results can make a difference in getting that first commercial airline job or ending up doing something completely different. You can read more about this subject here.

I had no retakes and my average score of all 14 subjects was above 90%. It took me 2 years to obtain my first job in the cockpit. More or less, your ATPL score is directly related to how fast you will get the airline job compared to other graduates.

I wrote this article because I received an email from M. de Leeuw. He asked some questions about this subject. Do you have questions of your own that you would like answered? Feel free to write me an email or use the contact form 🙂

25 thoughts on “ATPL Question Database – Yes or No?

  1. Questionbanks are absolutely the way to go. There seems to be a certain mentality attached to them. It doesn’t matter how well you know the subject material, you will come across questions that you do not know how to answer simply because they are not in the books. I have often come across questions where I know the subject matter well and I am a native English speaker, yet I cannot fathom what they want. Only previous experience with a particular question, or question type can save you from this.

    The questionbank will quickly allow you to identify weak areas – as opposed to what you think is a weak/strong area. You can then home in on the weak subject matter through youtube videos or google. Some question banks have a nice explanation when you get the question wrong and also comments from other users where you can see that you are not alone. Often the commenters leave great tips on the subject matter. Great system.

  2. Hello everyone,

    I was wondering from which database to study. What have you heard about ?
    Thank you in advance.


  3. I did take my ATPL exams using atplonline a while back (5 years ago) and I liked it because I did not know anything else, I was recommended it by a friend. It worked well at that time. Now my girlfriend is studying for her ATPL exams and she is using as her friend studying now recommended… So I believe it all depends on recommendations and times… As questionbanks come and go.

  4. Hi, loved this article, i saw your video on if you should use question banks in general and i realised how right you was, studying the material simply seemed not enough and was glad i used them in the end, i used in the end, aswell as BGS , both brilliant banks and helped me get that extra 10-15% to getting that high score in to the 90’s

    One think i will say to anyone is the content of the atpl’s is not 100% relevant to real world flying, so just do what ever you can to hit those high scores it will help you later on in your career

  5. Hello to everyone!

    I´m a German Flight Instructor working for a german ATO. Unfortunatly I have to admit that passing the ATPL Exam in Germany is far more difficult than in the rest of the EASA world. Why? Because the german CAA (the so called “Luftfahrt-Bundesamt”) revised the question database to make it more “comprehensive”. There are some questions were you have to enter a numerical value instead of choosing one of the multiple choise answers.
    This means that you need to be prepared much better and you don´t have the possibility of just beeing lucky by guessing. It is a big issue for many of our students, some of them fail because of the limited time to calculate with the requierd accurancy.

    1. So in Germany, we cannot use the ATPL database, because the questions are different, correct?
      I also saw I couldn’t select Germany, when I tried to register on the website.

      Is there a database, with the ATPL question which can be used in Germany?

    2. Is this still so? Asking April 2022.
      LBA seem to be difficult to deal with…
      If you dare to contact me would appreciate!

  6. Hi! Thank you for this article!
    “Study the answer by heart if the questions was a fact and look it up in your notes…” Where did you get your notes from if you haven’t read the books? Did you get some online or go through chapter summaries? tnx 🙂

  7. Hi Michelle.
    I have been doing some research on aviation schools and have decided on CAE Oxford UK. I have read so much of your writings and find them so very informative. Could you please tell me, though, did you do your ATPL distance learning with CAE Oxford or some other way? Many thanks Michelle .

  8. Hey Dutch Pilot Girl I have been watching your YouTube videos and saw your Candid advice on ATPL exams. I am also preparing for My Exams and can gladly say that, you are 100% correct. While preparing for our terminal exams, those of us who used the databanks passed while those who relied on class notes flunked I guess what you are basically saying is that, ATPL exams have their own set of rules to pass them, for that am with you 100%

  9. Hello

    Big doubt, i know EASA has been adding new questions since august 2017, (ECQB04). since that everything is crazy, nowbody nows which questions banks are better, does anyone here now whichone can i use?, there are the two biggest EATPL with around 10.000 questions and Aviation Examn with 15.000 questions. the difference is huge, we are talking of 5000 questions more. some students says that EATPL is more accuirate and other that Aviation Exam is updated more often. Could anybody here guide me with this??


  10. Hello Michelle

    I am using Aviation Exam data base to write ATPL in the Netherlands. How close would you say this particular data base is to the actual questions and would you recommend this data base?



    1. Hi Paul, I am sorry but I am not familiar with Aviation Exam. Which software are your fellow classmates using? Perhaps asking other students in previous classes can help you further. They recently did the exams you will face in the future. Please let me know how your exams went and if Aviation Exam ended up being the right choice for you. Succes met je training en een fijn weekend! Michelle

    2. Hello Paul, Aviation exam didnt update its database to ECQB 4.0, I recommend you to study from website, i already passed 8 out of 14.Best regards.

      1. I am doing the UK CAA exams. I passed 6 already. Doing the old syllabus. Would you say atplquestions is enough on its own in terms of being updated and encompassing the subjects?

  11. How manny sittings did you take :)? And if you’ve done it again how manny sittings do you recommend?
    Our school try to push us doing all 14 subjects in 2 sittings but I’m not sure it’s the best way……

    1. Good morning Phill, I did all my Theoretical ATPL Exams in 2 sittings, 7 subjects per sitting. It was definitely tough but I think it was manageable because it was the only thing I focussed on at that time. I had no free time whatsoever, I didn’t work or hang out with friends. For about 8 months it was as if I didn’t exist 😉

      At my school we really didn’t have any other option. It might be easier if you spread it over multiple sittings, but maybe it will take you a bit longer to complete the theoretical phase in that case.

    2. Hello Captain, am from Papua New Guinea located in the south Pacific neighboring country to Australia. I have a philippines CPL and preparing to do my ATPLA theory exam in Australia.
      Therefore, on which Correct data base should I hook up with to study. Am alittle confused bcoz of several regulation bodies around the globe such as EASA, FAA, ICAO, CAA etc..

  12. Hey Michelle

    I read your airticle on ATPL data base exam. I am vey much impressed and grateful for the amount of info you made available , which is very important for someone like me , who’s interested in writing these exams.
    Have you written them in the Netherlands ?


    1. Hello Carol, thank you for your comment! I don’t understand what you mean by “have you written them in the Netherlands?” Can you please clarify yourself so I can give you a proper answer? 🙂

      1. Hi there again.

        Well , I meant to ask , where did you study for atpl exam. Where did you finally finish the course. Which country?

        – I read some of the articles wiritten by you here, and was wondering which headset are you using now? The company provides one?


        1. Hi Carol,

          Ok I get it now, sorry for the misunderstanding earlier 🙂 I finished my theoretical part in the Netherlands. After that I went to the United States to continue with the practical part. Here you can read why I choose this school. I will write more articles about my flight training in the near future so stay tuned!

          Currently I use the headset that was provided to me during flight training. I am about to purchase a new headset soon. An article about headsets will follow shortly after that. The company also provides very basic headsets that come with the aircraft itself. However, those are not convenient when you need to fly a lot. More about that soon 😉 thank you for your comment! Have a nice day 🙂

  13. Hello Good Night Michelle ; How Are You so far ?

    I have just read your article about ATPL exam. You know I am not a pilot.Beside I have completed my Bacxhelor degree at Management Department at University by Extern Educaiton System in Turkey. And I have Course books beside. I Have never studied at course books. I have always studied at the Courses Question Database. So in this case I agree with You. Beside before preparing an exam You should understand the Subject very well. I mean If You understand the Subjects ( Headlines ) Which is required at ATPL exam. After Than You can prepare by studying the ATPL Exam Questions Database. This will be more healthy. As I mentioned not only for You , I mean this for every kind of educaiton at Universities. Do You get What I mean. I tell You the system of studying to get higher scores. Firstly You must understand the Topic Subject Than You can practice with the Exams Question Database. I think this way. First Grab The subject Than Solve the Questions and search for the pathway for being successful at the Exams. This is my system. What I want tell You above. I wish You Good Luck. And I wsih You enjoy your work and Flying hours. And Also I would like to advise You the philisophy of the Technical Director of Arsenal Sport Club Jürgen Kloop. I agree with hisa Mentality and try to apply his phlisophy in my life. He says that I work hard beside I first aim to get enjoy and get pleasure at my Works.

Leave a comment, I appreciate it and will reply as soon as possible:)