The Part 107 Test: Choosing the Right Prep Course For You

Part 107 TestThe FAA says that it requires about 20 hours of study to pass the Part 107 test.  By all reports, the test is not an easy one – but those willing to put in the time can certainly be successful.  DRONELIFE published a list of study guides and courses earlier – but with these and so many new offerings to choose from, how do you know which is best for you?  Here’s our guide to finding the right resource.

#1.  Shop By Price.

Prices for study guides and materials range from free to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  If price is an issue, don’t worry: the government is giving the test, and the government has provided a lot of resources and information to make people successful.  In addition, there are a number of community members who have taken the material from the FAA’s Pilot’s Handbook – the ultimate resource – and broken it down into manageable sections.  There are podcasts to lay out the framework for you, and chapter by chapter resources; but you’ll have to be prepared to read, read, and read some more.   See our article referenced above for links to the FAA’s study material and several free courses.  If you prefer a video format, check out YouTube and search Part 107 for several video based courses, including this one by World Drone Academy.

#2.  Get Peer Reviews

At this point, thousands of people have taken – and passed – the Part 107 test.  And one of the great things about the drone community is their willingness to help each other out.  Before investing a lot of time or money in test prep, you may want to ask your peers what has worked for them.  Especially useful is a Part 107 Study Group on Facebook that has almost 1000 members; a little time on Twitter will help you too.  Other industry groups also provide forums.  Make sure that others have used the course and passed the test before you begin.

#3.  What is it you need to learn?

If you’ve been flying a drone for years now, you can probably get by with studying using the FAA resources or one of the free study guides.  But if you need someone to help you learn more about your drone as well as prepare for the test, you’ll probably need to pay for a course.  You can check out some of the choices on our previous list, or check out established drone training companies like DARTdrones, who offer a Part 107 prep course in addition to their drone training programs.  Some colleges and universities offer courses in drone training too – check out this list of the top 15 programs.

Already a pilot?  You’re in luck.  Much of the material on the Part 107 test is about knowing the rules of the airspace, not about flying a drone.  If your pilot’s license is current, you can take the shorter online test and use the FAA’s study guide; if it isn’t current, you’ll have to brush up on your knowledge and take the Part 107.

#4.  How much time do you have?

You can’t skimp too much on test prep – one thing most test participants agree upon is that the Part 107 test is harder than they anticipated, and includes a lot of material.  However, if you’re a crammer you might want to stick with the reading material from attorney’s Sarah Nilsson or Jonathan Rupprecht – lessons that you can absorb at your own pace.  If you like to spread things out, you can go with a paid video course or a training class broken out into smaller segments; pay attention to how many “chapters” the class offers.

Remember, over 80% of participants have passed the test!  Qualified drone operators are good for the industry – check out a study guide and get started.

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