Saturday, March 14, 2009

FOI Test

One of the two "written" tests for Flight Instructor is the Fundamentals of Instruction. This covers a variety of topics regarding teaching in general (it does not cover aeronautics and the other content that one will actually teach). The FAA textbook that teaches this material is the Aviation Instructor's Handbook.

Topics covered include:

- teaching methods
- ground instruction lesson plans
- flight instruction (demonstration/performance etc.)
- how people learn
- basic psychology (needs hierarchy etc.)
- defense mechanisms
- critiques
- evaluations
- types of tests

I have found the material to be a little - I don't know - arbitrary? I mean it states some things as definite that I think are open to interpretation. There could be several ways of saying something, but the test questions use some very specific language that you just have to know and not argue with.

In addition to studying that book, I got the ASA Test Prep book and their Prepware software. Although the book contains the test questions and answers, I like to use the software because it makes the scoring much easier, and because it composes practice tests with random sets of questions.

ASA updates it each year to stay current with the FAA test questions. A couple weeks ago I learned that the FAA issued a new edition of the Aviation Instructor's Handbook late in 2008, so I quickly ordered a copy. The 2009 Prepware does not include any of the new material, so I asked ASA if the FAA test includes it, and they said it does not. 

Unlike the Private Pilot knowledge test, you don't need an instructor endorsement to go take the test. The test is 50 questions drawn from a pool of 190. Passing grade is 70%. In a study session covering all 190 questions, I got 91%. In practice tests of 50 questions, I got 98% and 96%.

Last week I found in my favorite used bookstore an old copy of The Flight Instructor's Manual from 1974. Perfect timing! As I mentioned, I found the AIH to be kind of artificial and not as useful as I'd like. And the ASA Test Prep for Flight Instructor is much like the one for Commercial Pilot: a lot on aeronautics and regulations but not much on HOW TO TEACH STUDENTS TO FLY. This FIM book seems to combine the two into a much more useful guide.

The more I read the FIH, the more I think that author, William Kershner, actually wrote much of the FAA's AIH. (The AIH does not credit any individuals.) The terms used are exactly the same, but the FIM goes into more depth and makes it all so much more practical. So far I'm just three chapters into it

Since ASA said the FAA 2009 test does not cover any of the new material, I went ahead and took the FOI test yesterday although I have not finished the 2008 AIH (scenario-based training etc.). Most of it went fine. I got stuck on 3 closely related questions on defense mechanisms. By comparing the questions and answers for all three, I chose what I thought were the best answers. I was either going to get them all right, or all wrong.

I got 100%.


Julien said...

Congratulations! Looking forward to future posts on how the reality of teaching students how to fly compares to what's in the book!


Anonymous said...

The FOI is BF Skinners puppy. Soundly discredited these days. Although it does an OK job of pointing out to new instructors that everyone doesn't learn the same as oneself. Don't take it too seriously.

FAA Test said...

Congratulations !! All the best for the future.

Anonymous said...

hey I just read this, thanks for making it clear that you DO NOT need an endorsement before taking this FOI test. The FARs are not as easy to understand.