Strategies for Success on the Canadian Drone Exams
What to Expect on The Canadian Drone Exam:
The Transport Canada drone exam is an online test taken on your home computer. Basic exam requires 65%, and Advanced exam needs 80% to pass. The exam is challenging, with low first-time pass rates. Even experienced pilots and air traffic controllers struggle to pass due to various reasons.
|Exam coverage beyond Knowledge Guide
|Topics beyond the guide are included, causing confusion and difficulty for test takers.
|Overlapping Basic and Advanced exam content
|Some content overlaps, leading to uncertainty for test takers.
|Testing knowledge about unpublished standards
|Questions related to unpublished standards create challenges due to lack of industry standardization.
Issues with the Canadian Drone Exam:
The exam presents several challenges to test takers, including:
1. Coverage Beyond Transport Canada Knowledge Guide:
One major issue faced by test takers is that the exam covers topics beyond the subjects listed in the official Transport Canada Knowledge Guide, including irrelevant drone operations and military-related procedures.
2. Overlapping Basic and Advanced Exam Content:
Basic exam content sometimes overlaps with the Advanced exam, causing confusion for test takers. However, the lower passing score minimizes its impact.
3. Testing Unpublished Standards:
Another problem arises from testing knowledge about unpublished standards. For instance, questions about redundant RPAS components have no clear answers, leading to difficulty in providing accurate responses due to the lack of industry standardization.
Redundancy and Non-Redundancy in Drone Types:
Candidates should be aware that redundancy varies across drone types for RPAS license holders. Transport Canada lacks published guidance, standards, or recommendations for systems redundancy, making answering related questions challenging. The topic is not listed in the TC Knowledge Guide, and specific non-redundancy knowledge isn’t highlighted for exam preparation.
Preparing for the Exam:
To improve your chances of passing the Canadian Drone Exam, consider the following strategies:
1. Take the Basic Exam First:
Even if you need an Advanced Operations license, starting with the Basic exam can increase your chances of success. The Basic exam generally has higher pass rates, and completing it provides a solid foundation for the more challenging Advanced exam. Additionally, holding a Basic Operations certificate allows you to operate a drone subject to minimal restrictions.
2. Master the Course Material:
Thoroughly study and complete courses that cover 100% of the items listed in the official Transport Canada Knowledge Guide. Being well-prepared with comprehensive course material gives you an advantage over other test takers.
3. Prepare for the Unexpected:
Arm yourself to answer questions about random topics unrelated to drones. To be ready for such surprises, have the following searchable resources available during the exam:
- The complete text of all Canadian Aviation Regulations (searchable)
- Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual
- Air Command Weather Manual (PDF copies available from various online sources)
- Human Factors for Aviation Basic Handbook TP12863E (PDF copies available from various online sources)
- Aviation Weather (Free United States FAA publication with good weather topics coverage)
Avoiding Common Mistakes:
- Pay attention to units. Many people focus on the number and ignore the units. 5°C is not the same as 5°F.
- Do not pick an answer simply because it is the longest or most “official sounding.”
- Do not dwell on tough questions. This wastes time and saps confidence. Mark it, move on, and return to it at the end of the exam.
- Read every answer choice even if you are convinced that the first one is correct.
Tips for Answering Questions:
- Answer the question in your mind before reading the answer choices. This reduces the odds of being lulled by the first authoritative-sounding, yet incorrect, answer.
- Rule out the nonsense or plainly wrong answers. Every question has one or two answers that are intended to be distractors.
- When considering “none of the above” or “all of the above,” test each answer choice individually against the question.
Still stumped? Search the resources listed above using a snippet of the question and the answer choices. A common method of creating questions is to take a sentence from a reference, split it up into a question and answer, and create distractors for the other answer choices.
Other Useful Documents:
|NavCanada VFR Phraseology
|Communications learning tool and reference guide for pilots flying within Canadian airspace.
|Canadian NOTAM Procedures Manual
|Provides information, guidance, and standard procedures for the origination, distribution, and query of Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) in Canada.
|Vancouver FIR UAV Best Practices for Air Traffic Services Coordination
|Covers ATC Expectations, coordination and communication expectations, emergency contact information, and location of additional aviation safety relevant data and resources.
After the Exam:
Whether you pass or not, providing feedback on your exam experience can help improve the course for future students. Specific examples of questions and topics encountered during the exam can aid in refining