ATPL(A) Theory Course

World-leading ATPL theory for the pilots of tomorrow

Bristol Groundschool is a world leader in ATPL theory tuition. Our mission is to inspire you to strive for your ambitions by giving you the theoretical knowledge needed for a rewarding career in aviation.

After all, the biggest dreams deserve the best support.

We train the pilots of tomorrow. You could be the next one.


Learn here with us in Bristol. Or anywhere else in the world.

With Bristol Groundschool you have the freedom to learn anywhere, anytime. Our online learning materials enable you to study at your own pace – no matter where you are in the world.

Allowing you to fit your studies in around other commitments including your flying. So, you can fit your learning around hours in the cockpit and your other commitments.

Of course, you can study with us in person too. As part of your course, you’ll be able to study with us at our school in North Somerset, UK, as part of your end of module revision courses – welcoming students from all over the world to conquer their ATPL theory tuition with Bristol Groundschool.

So, whether you want to study remotely, in person or a mix of the two, we have everything you need for success. Let’s get started.

For more information about our online courses, please read our frequently asked questions about distance learning.

Key features of our ATPL theory courses

ATPdigital: pioneering flight theory training software

ATPL Bristol Groundschool software ATPdigital
ATPdigital displayed on a PC and Tablet

Learning is more memorable when the course materials are engaging.

That’s why we pioneered a computer-based training system called ATPdigital: the first software of its kind in the industry.

It breaks your course into bitesize stages, guiding you through your studies with interactive diagrams, animations, and explainers.

Pass quizzes at the end of each section to progress with your studies. Watch your knowledge grow with a dashboard overview of your learning.

ATPdigital is available for Windows and Mac OS PCs and laptops. There’s also an iOS app available for iPad.

Once installed the software can also be used offline allowing you to study from any location with no internet connection.

ATPdigital also incorporates the same question bank as BGSonline, enabling you to carry out practice exams if you do not have access to the internet.

World-renowned ATPL theory tuition at the tips of your fingers. Study at your own pace using ATPdigital.

Free 18-month Subscription to BGS Webinar Library (worth over £290)

Access over 200 hours of pre-recorded subject-based classroom training sessions to watch and help you revise the whole course, with a free 18-month subscription to BGS Webinar Library (usually £290 for 12 months).

Presented by Bristol Groundschool’s team of instructors, our webinar library is regularly updated with new videos to help you get exam ready.

Revision Weeks – Helping to Get You Exam Ready

Bristol Groundschool in Clevedon, UK

Our expert instructors will help you consolidate your learning, with exam-specific tests and recaps of key concepts in the syllabus.

So, you can hit your exams with confidence (It’s no coincidence that most Bristol Groundschool students pass their exams first time).

Our revision weeks run both online and in person at our school in Clevedon, UK.

Students who are following our approved courses must attend a revision week either online or in-person for each module of training. ATPdigital lessons and tests must be completed for the module you are studying prior to revision course attendance.

Free 12-month Subscription to BGSonline (worth £166)

As a student studying with Bristol Groundschool, you will receive twelve months of access to BGSonline (normally £166) – a regularly updated database of more than 15,000 exam-specific questions.

With instant answers and detailed explanations, it’s the perfect resource for testing your knowledge and preparing for your exams.

Filter questions by topic or revisit questions you’ve got wrong in the past to make your learning targeted and effective.


All the Support you need for Success

Even when you are learning remotely, we’re there to support you. Throughout your studies, our world-renowned instructors will be on hand to answer your questions and provide insight on your learning.

Printed Training Manuals – Available as an Optional Extra 

As well as our online learning materials and computer software, we can provide you with a complete set of printed manuals for all modules in your course.

Visit our online shop for more information. If you are purchasing your manuals at the same time as a course you will receive them for a discounted price.

Studying with Bristol Groundschool

Study Part or Full-time

Study part or full-time around other commitments. The course can be studied at your own pace, you choose when to work through the lessons on ATPdigital and watch classroom sessions on BGS Webinar Library.

No Travel or Visa Requirements

There are no travel costs associated with our online ATPL revision classes and the entire ATPL theory course can be completed from the comfort of your own home, from anywhere in the world.

Industry-Leading ATPL Instructors

All our courses are EASA/UK CAA approved and are taught by our experienced team of instructors to prepare graduates for an exciting, challenging and rewarding future in the ever-changing aviation industry.

Studying with us in person

You can, if you wish, study with us in person for the revision weeks. At the end of each module, you’ll be required to book one of our revision weeks before taking your exams. These can be attended either online or with us in person at our school in Clevedon, UK, and count towards your required classroom hours. Please note, module 3 is only available online. If you choose to study with us in person, note that our course fees do not include accommodation, travel, or food. However, we can provide you with a comprehensive directory of local accommodation and are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Sit Your ATPL Theory Exams in any EASA Member State

Our course allows you to sit UK CAA or EASA exams, if you wish to achieve both licences you can sit both sets. Simply register with your chosen EASA state and the UK CAA when you are ready to book the examinations.


How to Purchase a Bristol Groundschool Course

You have the option to pay for your entire ATPL modular course upfront or module by module. It’s easy to pay online or over the phone with your credit or debit card. We can also arrange to take payment via bank transfer or cheque, though these payments must be made in GBP. If you have purchased learning materials that require shipping to your location, this will be done as soon as your order has been processed.

The exam fees are not included in the cost of the course. The UK CAA exams can be booked via the CAA website. The Austro Control exams if sat at Bristol Groundschool can be booked directly through us.

UK CAA Exam Info          Austro Control Exam Info

Additional Revision Weeks can be booked through our website.

If you choose to study with us in person, you will need to budget for travel, food and accommodation for the duration of the revision course. There is a comprehensive directory or local accommodation on the student dashboard section of this website.


ATPL Student Testimonials

We’re proud of our excellent reputation and high-quality tuition, but don’t just take our word for it. Click to read what our students have to say about studying their ATPL(A) with us.

Read more Student Testimonials


ATPL (A) Course Overview

Maths and Physics Refresher

As you might expect, ATPL regulations specify that students must have a solid understanding of maths and physics. So, before you start your ATPL studies, we provide a refresher module to give you a solid platform from which to learn.

The Maths and Physics module is conducted in the CBT only and there are no EASA or UK CAA exams associated with it.

Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSA)

Also, at the start of your studies is the ‘Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes’ (KSA) module. It’s a short module designed to help you thrive with your ATPL studies and beyond, addressing key career skills such as communication, workload management, leadership, and situational awareness.

How is teaching delivered?

The training is divided into 3 modules, which must be studied in numerical sequence; an exception is ATPL(H) where Module 3 can be taken before Module 2. The courseware for each module must be completed before sitting exams; bookings can be made prior to completion with BGS agreement but the courseware must be completed before the exam is taken.  Bespoke courses are not possible.

Introducing the three modules

We divide the 13 ATPL theory subjects into three modules.

ATPL(A) Module 1:

  • 022 – Instrumentation
  • 061 – General Navigation
  • 050 – Meteorology
  • 040 – Human Performance and Limitations

ATPL(A) Module 2:

  • 062 – Radio Navigation
  • 021 – Aircraft General Knowledge: Airframe and Systems, Electrics, Power Plant and Emergency Equipment
  • 010 – Air Law
  • 033 – Flight Planning and Flight Monitoring
  • 090 – Communications

ATPL(A) Module 3:

  • 070 – Operational Procedures
  • 081 – Principles of Flight (Aeroplane)
  • 032 – Performance (Aeroplane)
  • 031 – Mass and Balance

How long does the ATPL(A) course take to complete?

Your ATPL theory course with Bristol Groundschool will take around six to eighteen months to complete depending on how much time you can dedicate towards your studies. During which time you can build up your flying experience and includes a combination of distance learning and classroom work. There are thirteen exams to be passed for the EASA and UK CAA ATPL, some more difficult than others.

All the lessons in ATPdigital must be completed before you can attend the revision course or take the examinations.

Progress is recorded through a series of short quizzes for each lesson (which require 100% to pass), as well as larger progress tests to conclude each significant section. ATPdigital automatically sends us the results and our instructors are available throughout the process to provide all the support you will need.

Taking your ATPL theory exams

At the end of each module, you can sit the exams associated with the module you are studying. There are a total of thirteen exams, and you will have a maximum of six sittings to pass all of them, with no more than four attempts at any one subject.

You can sit your exams with us here in North Somerset. We are an approved examination centre for both UK CAA and Austro Control (EASA) exams. Alternatively, you can sit EASA exams in any EU member state and UK CAA exams at any UK CAA exam centre.

Bristol Groundschool students are given priority when booking Austro Control exams at our school. The booking system is released to non BGS students closer to each exam sitting date.

If you are not sure whether to select a UK CAA or EASA course, have a look at our web page about the UK leaving EASA.


When you have completed each module you may attempt the examinations with either Austro Control or any other EASA examination authority.

Bristol Groundschool students are given priority when booking Austro Control exams at our school. The booking system is released to non BGS students near to the actual exam sitting date.

If you are taking your exams with them, you must register with Austro Control and, unless you are exempt from doing an approved course (for example if you are a military pilot or converting an ICAO licence), you must get us to sign-off the fact that you have completed an approved course before your exam bookings are accepted.  This applies to other exam authorities too.

Austro Control Exam Info


You must register with either the UK CAA and, unless you are exempt from doing an approved course (for example if you are a military pilot or converting an ICAO licence), you must get us to sign-off the fact that you have completed an approved course before your exam bookings are accepted.

UK CAA Exam Info      UK CAA Exam Learning Objectives


ATPL Theory Course Requirements

Private Pilot’s Licence

Before you start your ATPL theory course, you must have a PPL(A) issued to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. This is a mandatory requirement, and you will be asked for your licence number when you register.

You will finish your PPL with 45 to 65 flying hours. The next flying course after your PPL is the CPL. It requires you to have logged 150 hours of flying time before you start. So you will need to build up your hours alongside studying for your ATPL theory if you intend to start your practical training soon after you have passed the ATPL exams.

Class 1 Medical and Eyesight Information

Before starting your commercial flight training, we recommend getting a class 1 medical. This is to help make sure you won’t be barred from obtaining a CPL on medical grounds.

Your medical certification must be issued by the body governing your licence: i.e. the UK CAA or your EASA state’s equivalent. If you have a prescription from the opticians we also recommend you complete the UK CAA visual system form or your EASA state’s equivalent.

Visa requirements

Bristol Groundschool courses do not qualify for a student visa. Make sure you can enter the UK before applying for your course and exams. For further information on visas, visit the UK Border Agency website.  (You don’t need a visa if you are studying with us remotely.)

However, remember you may complete all your theory training online, without the need to visit us in person.

ATPL Contact Hours

You need to complete a total of 650 hours of learning for your ATPL theory course. 10% (65 hours) of this must be live tuition. This can be completed by attending our revision weeks which are available to attend in person at our school in Clevedon, UK or online (excluding module 3, which is currently offered online only). Please note our recorded classroom sessions do not count towards your live tuition requirement. The revision weeks are a mandatory part of our approved courses.


Why Study my ATPL theory with Bristol Groundschool?



Ready to take your next step?

Select one of the ATPL(A) course options below or contact us to discuss how we can bring your aviation ambitions to life.

Download our Free Ebook: The Essential ATPL Student Guide to Studying and Passing your Exams

Starting your ATPL theory soon?

Check out our new ebook on how to study and pass your ATPL exams. Discover what you’ll need to know about ATPL theory including:

  • What each ATPL exam includes
  • What to expect from each ATPL subject
  • Choosing the right ground school for you
  • How to study your ATPL theory
  • Note-taking techniques
  • Tips leading up to exam day


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