The Transport Canada written examinations for pilot licenses and ratings aren’t actually written anymore. They were in the not-too-distant past, and they still can be if you’re writing in a remote area and don’t mind waiting a week or two for your results. But the norm now is for these exams to be computer based2. One source of anxiety for candidates is a lack of exposure to and familiarity with the interface used during exams.

Good news! It turns out that the interface is pretty good, and user friendly. On top of that, it’s pretty easy to learn if you’ve never seen it before, and won’t consume your time or energy in the exam room. In addition to that, you can learn the interface before you ever write (type? click?) your exam. Transport Canada makes a Computer-Based practice exam available at:

www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/general-exams-appproe-2009.htm.

This exam can be downloaded and installed on your home computer, where you can run through it and get familiar with the interface and features of the program. Interface features include:

  1. Instruction Window
  2. Single-question display
  3. Question bookmarking
  4. “First” and “Last” nav buttons
  5. “Next Question” and “Previous Question” nav buttons
  6. Bookmarking for each question
  7. “Next Bookmark” and “Previous Bookmark” nav buttons
  8. Summary/Navigation window displaying completed and remaining questions
  9. On/Off toggle for timekeeping and progress display
Note also that your answers aren’t locked in until you finish the exam. So you can go back and check your work.
Introduction and Instructions

This is the Introduction and Instructions window. Although you may be familiar with the rules of the game already, take the time to review this page before you begin. Be sure to check the appendices and supplementary materials provided to make sure they match the list here.

Although you’re not allowed to take reference material into the exam room with you, you are permitted to make notes from memory prior to beginning. While reviewing this screen, you can write down any last minute notes you think you may need (e.g. – memorized equations).

Finally, take a breather and a moment to collect your thoughts before diving in.

Page Layout

Navigation, bookmarking, answer selection, and progress monitoring are all done from the main window.

Navigation Bar

Forward and backward navigation can be done one question at a time, one bookmark at a time, or to the very beginning or end of the exam. Other navigation selections can be made from the Progress Summary Window (shown below).

Question Layout

All questions have a stem and 4 options. Some also include required data and/or a reference to an appendix you need to use.

Notice that your progress and time remaining can be displayed or hidden according to your preferance.

Progress Summary Window

An overview of completed and remaining questions can be toggled ‘on’ and ‘off’ at your discretion. Note that bookmarks are not displayed here.