LAPL/PPL(A) Ground Exams Q&A

How many exams do I need to sit?

There are nine theoretical examinations you need to sit: 

Air Law Principles of Flight
Operational Procedures Meteorology
Communications Flight Planning and Performance
 Navigation Human Performance and Limitations
Aircraft General


Where do I sit the exams?

All the exams can be taken at Highland Aviation in Classroom three. You can choose to sit the exams at any UK approved organisation.


What is the pass mark?

All exams have a pass mark of 75%. This includes the IMC exam which has changed from 72% to 75%.


How are exams marked?

The exams are multiple choice. To be awarded a mark, you must select an answer from a selection of four possible answers. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers.


Are the exams hard?

This is a relative question and every student is different. What we can say is past results show particular attention should be paid to the Flight Planning and Performance exam and the Operational Procedures exam.


What happens if I fail an exam? (Current System)

If you sit a paper-based exam, then you have three attempts to pass, each time sitting a variation of the same exam.

If you fail the third attempt, you must retake a fourth exam at CAA Aviation House at Gatwick Airport.

If you fail the fourth attempt, you will be barred from making further attempts for a period of three months. All previous exam results are rendered void. You will be required to undertake further training and all further exams would take place at CAA Aviation House.


What happens if I fail an exam? (New System)

If you fail an online E-Exam, then the process is similar to that of the paper-based exams, with the exception that you do not need to take the fourth and subsequent exams at CAA Aviation House.


What is Highland Aviation’s record on examinations?

In 2019, 87% of exams were passed first time and 100% by the third attempt.

In 2020, 91% of exams have been passed first time and 100% by the second attempt.


Are the exams timed?

Yes. The timing varies depending on the number and nature of the questions. The timing is the same for both the paper-based and E-Exams.


Do the exams have an expiry date?

Yes. The 18-month rule:

You have 18 months to complete all nine theory exams from the end of the calendar month in which you first attempted a theory exam.

The 24-month rule:

You have 24 months to take your skills test from the date you passed your last theory exam.


Do I have to renew my exams once I get my licence?



I was told the exams must be passed within six sittings.

This rule was abolished for the PPL exams in November 2019. You can take the exams in as many sitting as you like.


What impact will leaving EASA on 31 December 2020 have on my exams?



When do I start studying for the exams? (Existing Students)

It’s advisable to start studying as soon as you enrol on the LAPL/PPL course. However, it is primarily up to you to decide when you begin studying. You will have to take certain exams at certain points and your instructor will keep track of your progress.


When do I start studying for the exams? (August 2020 Onwards)

Students will be required to study exams in a particular order as they will sit specific exams by the end of Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 training. For more information on the examination schedule, see the EASA PPL and EASA LAPL Course Outline on the eFlyingSchool student portal.


What If I read ahead and am ready to sit an exam early?

Students are always able to sit exams ahead of schedule.


How do I study for the exams?

Most students opt for a combination of self-study and supplementary ground school with an instructor for the trickier topics. However, we have also had students who have 100% self-studied and others who have been taught the entire syllabus in the classroom.

Every person learns differently and we can tailor your ground school theoretical knowledge studies to best suit you. Remember, if you’re struggling with self-study, always speak to your instructor.


Why are the exams moving online at Highland Aviation?

Highland Aviation is piloting the CAA’s new E-Exam system. For the remainder of 2020, we expect students to be predominantly taking E-Exams. Other flight schools will follow suit at some point in 2021.


How do I sit an E-Exam?

Guidance material on the E-Exams can be found on the eFlyingSchool student portal in the Resources section. However, your instructor will talk you through it prior to your first use of the system.


Is there a maximum number of exams I can take in one day?

No, but we wouldn’t recommend sitting more than two.


When do I find out the results? (Current System)

If a ground examiner is available, about 10 minutes after the exam is finished. If a ground examiner is unavailable, then you will be notified of your result as soon as possible.


When do I find out the results? (E-Exams)

Immediately upon completion of the exam.


Who marks the exams?

The paper-based exams are marked by a ground examiner. The E-Exams are marked by the computer.


How much are the exams?

All first attempts at the theory exams are included in the Standard, Silver and Gold packages. If you pay-as-you-go, then the paper-based exams are £39 and the E-Exams are £49.


Why are the E-Exams more expensive?

The cost of the E-Exams reflects the additional service charge imposed by the CAA.


I want to be a commercial pilot. Do my grades matter?

Your future airline will be more interested in your CPL/ATPL theoretical knowledge examination grades as well as your performance during skills tests such as the CPL and MEIR.

That being said, always strive to achieve the highest grade possible.


English is not my first language, can I take the exam in a different language?

No. All ground exams for the PPL and associated ratings and certificates are only conducted in English.


What happens if I’m caught cheating?

You’re not going to do this. But if you did, you would be banned from further examinations for at least 12 months. It’s worth noting that this would remain on your records and even if you applied to another contracting state for licence issue, the CAA would inform them that you have been banned from the UK examinations.


Can I use the Highland Aviation facilities to self-study?

Yes. In fact, we encourage it. If you let us know in advance, we will do our best to make sure a classroom is available to you.


Can I study with other students?

Yes. Again, this is encouraged. As Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

If you’re interested in meeting up with other students to self-study, then please let us know and we will put you in touch with like-minded students.


You reference PPL exams, but I’m training for my LAPL.

The LAPL course requires you to take the PPL exams as there are no separate exams for the LAPL.


Will the IMC exam be moving online?

Not for the foreseeable future.


I’ve been told I can take the written communications exam as part of my practical radio test. Is this true?

Yes. The communications exam is the only exam that can be taken in such a way. It is unusual, but if you so wish, you can sit the paper with the RTF examiner, in which case you would not be required to sit the communications paper with us.


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