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ASTB - Prep/Study Guide feedback


READ ABOUT WEATHER. Understand some basic meteorology. It was the only thing that I really wasn't prepared for on the test. Know your clouds and some other basic things like that.


New Member
Before I took the ASTB I took a ground school course for Private Pilots. It basically sets you up for the FAA knowledge test. The text book came with a test booklet http://www.amazon.com/Jeppesen-Instrument-Rating-Airmen-Knowledge/dp/088487379X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213575857&sr=8-1
which had everything we needed to know in it. During the ASTB I smiled to myself quite a bit when I saw some of the same exact questions on it as I did in that class. The book has everything you need to know for the aviation portion in it. You can leave out a few sections such as Navigation and Flight Planning, as I do not think they test you on that stuff.


I wish there was a picture of the book with the link. The textbook looked like this http://www.amazon.com/Private-Pilot-Guided-Flight-Discovery/dp/088487429X/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213575844&sr=8-2
I purchased both ARCO books (the one for officers, the other for military aviation) and read voraciously as many online materials as I could find for about a solid month. Without a previous technical background (I studied business management) except a few physics courses I scored a 7/9/7 56 the first time on the ASTB. You should be fine with these two sources for the math, reading, spatial apperception, and instrument reading sections. I would also recommend looking for additional resources on meteorology.

Most importantly, its about time. A few hours is just not going to cut it. I probably put in a good 40 hours total.


Got my scores today...

First time taking it, got 5/6/6 45. The score is not ideal, but counts as passing for the USMC. Now for the gouge:

Preparation: long story short, I only studied for about a week and a half. You should probably not do this, and give yourself at least a month. If there's one book you're gonna get, get the Barron's - it covers the latest ASTB format, plus has a nice long summary of all the info you need to know for all the sections (unlike the ARCO). That said, you should at least download the ARCO and go through the practice tests until you can memorize them. Definitely make sure you download all the gouge on here.

I also wound up purchasing the FAA Pilot's Handbook (you can d/l it for free though) - this could be considered overkill for what you need to know for the Aviation section, but you're gonna have to learn it all eventually anyway, so why not?

Math: this was the section that killed me - not because it was hard, but because I simply forgot how to work many of the problems! The last time I took math was as a junior in HS - and I graduated from college 2 years ago (did I also mention I studied art?). Anyway, if you know basic HS-level math (algebra in particular), you should be fine. Time is always of the essence though, so you have to pace yourself. Practice as many math problems as you can possibly stomach (and then do some more)!

Reading: seemed a bit harder than the Barron's/ARCO one. The passages were more convoluted, and I always felt there was more than one good answer among the choices. There's no real way to prepare for this, so do your best.

Mechanical: this was the other section that got me, and I really wish I had prepared myself more for it. I'd say the Marine gouge and the book guides cover about 70% of what's on there. Make you sure you know all the basic physics principles COLD, as there were definitely a few curve balls here and there. BTW, don't waste your money on any Mechanical Aptitude books as those are garbage, and most of the stuff they cover does not apply to the ASTB.

Spatial: this was the easiest part for me, having played so many video games and flight sims over the years. That all said, it was slightly trickier than in all the guides (this statement holds true for every section of the actual exam) - some of differences b/w the pictures were VERY slight, and when you're rushing through them it's easy to make a mistake. Once again, proper pacing is key!

Aviation/Nautical: having read the Barron's, the Marine Gouge, parts of the FAA book and chapters 1 and 3 of the "boat page," I felt like I destroyed this section. There was maybe one question I was unsure about (can't recall what it is now), and overall it seemed much easier than the study guides. As has been mentioned a thousand times before on here, knowledge of the principles of flight is key. For everything else, just know the basic ideas and concepts - you don't have to know them in depth.

Supplemental: composite of all the sections. Most of these were on the difficulty level of the "easier" questions from each section.
Reactions: mmg


Active Member
Nice work Cronach...

As far as the supplemental section goes, I remember that I didn't have a single spatial question in that section. I was really hoping for a lot of these on the supp section b/c it was easy for me, but I got shafted, or did I? Are there supposed to be spatial questions on that section?

Anyway, again good luck Cronach... when are you applying?


Nice work Cronach...

As far as the supplemental section goes, I remember that I didn't have a single spatial question in that section. I was really hoping for a lot of these on the supp section b/c it was easy for me, but I got shafted, or did I? Are there supposed to be spatial questions on that section?

Anyway, again good luck Cronach... when are you applying?
Yeah, I remember having 3 or 4 of those on there. I must've lucked out. :icon_wink

In any case, depending on how much I can get sorted out in the near future, I'll be applying for either January or June '09.


Ok, first off I want to thank everyone on these forums for being more help to wannabe's like me than anyone or any book could ever be. I took the ASTB about a month ago and pulled off an 8/9/8 61, so I want to try to pass on the help I was given.

First of all, buy the study guides. I bought the ARCO Military Flight, ARCO Officer Candidate, and Barron's Military Flight test books. The information in these books is very valuable. They may not cover exactly what is on the exam, but you can't expect that. What they do is give you an idea of what kind of questions to expect. The practice tests are the best way for you to put yourself in the scenario of what the actual test will be like, and one of the only ways to see if you're working at too slow of a pace.

Second, use the Marine gouge website and all of the files that they have available. The information on this website is very very similar to what the test questions are. The questions may not be the same, but most of the concepts are. If something seems vague to you while studying, look it up online. Try to think 'how else could they ask this question?'. There is a lot of information to know, and 90% of it won't be on your test, so don't focus too much on one thing if it is bothering you.

Third, if you have any questions feel free to PM me and (without giving you exact test material) I will try to help. I have attached my personally compiled study guide. It consists of information gathered from all 3 study guides, this forum, and many miscellaneous things that I thought might help. Keep in mind that I am not going to tell you what stuff is 'more important' than other things. I used this to keep myself organized, so it might be useful for some of you to add or remove things as you please. Also, I'm human so some of the information in this document may not even be correct. I tried to make sure it was, but I may have made a few mistakes without noticing them.

If you use this to study, let me know after you take the test if it was helpful at all. Good luck to everyone that is yet to take it, try not to stress too much.




New Member
I just briefly looked over the study guide... that will absolutely be a huge help for me. Thanks, congrats, and goodluck to you in the future!


Active Member
Good stuff in there, and I appreciate you not giving it away too (+1 rep your way). I'm gonna review it in case i get turned down next month so I can retake the ASTB and up my 7,7,8 58 scores (good enough scores normally, but my GPA is lacking).


New Member
This was a very helpful study guide. I just want to thank you again for putting this together and willingly sharing it with others.