With the uncertainty of Brexit we are frequently being asked by students which exams they should sit. The problems are caused by the EASA rule which says you must sit all your theory exams with the same Authority; the potential for the UK to leave EASA when it leaves the EU; and the EASA statement that UK CAA EASA exam passes will not be recognised in the event that the UK leaves EASA. The final decision is yours, but here are our thoughts:
- If you have started with the UK CAA and can complete by 29th March (or a later date if Brexit is delayed) then we advise you to stick with the UK CAA as your exam authority.
- If you have started examinations with the UK CAA and are unable to complete in time, you are faced with either abandoning your current passes and switching to another authority, or continuing with the UK CAA in the hope of a delay enabling you to complete, or the UK remaining within EASA after Brexit.
- If you have yet to start your examinations, we recommend that you consider doing them with Austro Control (or another EASA member state). This is because they will be unaffected by Brexit, cost quite a lot less than the UK CAA exams, can be sat in the UK with Bristol Groundschool and will enable you to gain an EASA licence whatever the Brexit outcome.
Note, the UK CAA have said that they will recognise EASA licences and allow them to be converted to UK CAA licences for at least 2 years, whereas EASA have said thy will not recognise UK CAA licences nor allow an easy conversion route, instead applying standard rules for converting ICAO licences. The UK CAA have also said that they wikll allow EASA theory exams passes to be used to gain a UK CAA licnece.
Austro Control Exams
Now the UK CAA have confirmed that they have no objection to the arrangement we are pleased to confirm the Austro Control EASA exam sitting dates at the BGS premises in Clevedon up to December 2019. They are:
- March 18th, 19th & 20th
- April 15th, 16th & 17th
- May 20th, 21st & 22nd
- June 17th, 18th & 19th
- July 22nd, 23rd & 24th
- Aug 19th, 20th & 21st
- Sept 23rd, 24th & 25th
- Oct 21st, 22nd & 23rd
- Nov 18th, 19th & 20th
- Dec 16th, 17th & 18th
How do I book my exams with Austro Control?
- Download either BGS-Application for the issue of a Commercial Pilot License CPL(A)
or BGS-Application for the issue of a Commercial Pilot Licence CPL(H).
- Complete only Part 1 and 2 of the form electronically (not by hand) and then print and sign Part 2. (N.b. if you have not studied with Bristol Groundschool, you will also need your ATO to complete and sign Part 3).
- Scan and email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will then send you a link and logon details to the electronic booking system: there you will be able to book your Austro Control exams to be sat at Bristol Groundschool in Clevedon, UK.
How much do the exams cost?
The fees will be £45 per exam. For simplicity we will go for the same terms and conditions as the UK CAA in the short term – 7 working days for cancellations etc. – although we should be able to offer a better service once it‘s up and running.
• Exams are taken on iPads provided at the exam centre
• Questions are drawn from the whole of ECQB 5*
• The new Jepp is in use, PBN is included.
• There are no ‘quadrant’ style questions
• Annexes are viewable on screen and printed if the question requires it.
• Results are available instantly.
• Most appeals can be resolved on the spot (within reason).
• There is no charge for appeals.
The Austro Control exams will be offered at BGS at least once a month. This will continue for the foreseeable future, whatever happens with Brexit.
* ECQB 5 is the current EASA question bank. The way the UK CAA seem to operate is to pull out 200 ish questions per subject then use only them for a period, six months to a year. This has the advantage that we get to know the current questions fairly quickly, the students know this and pull the most recent 200 questions only from the question bank. The disadvantages are that (i) the UK CAA seem to always pick the newest questions written, which are not always well quality controlled and (ii) when they pick a ‘bad’ batch of 200 the consequent ‘bad’ exam is perpetuated for some time – witness the recent chaos where students were repeatedly failing Flight Planning, it took the CAA sometime to rectify this.
Austro Control take a batch of 200 ish per subject for each sitting, which means that if you take an exam in say, Instruments, the chap sitting next to you in that sitting will have a similar exam, but the people in the next sitting will have a different batch of questions. Hence we think the ‘last 200’ concept will be of less use in revision.
Frequently asked questions
Can I swap if I’ve already started with UK CAA?
Yes, but you will lose your UK CAA passes and will be starting again with Austro
If I have already started doing my exams with the UK CAA and wish to swap to Austro Control do I have to wait for my 18 months to run out before I start with Austro Control?
No, this is a UK specific ruling and so cannot be applied when starting in another state.
What are the benefits of sitting my exams with Austro Control?
Aside from the obvious cost and convenience. The benefit is that you are keeping your options open to the possibility of gaining an EASA licence, should the UK become a non-EASA state and there being no process of recognition/conversion of UK licenses to EASA licenses.
Are the exams with Austro Control going to continued to be offered at Bristol Groundschool post March 29th?
Yes, it will continue for the foreseeable future, whatever happens with Brexit
Is the process the same for conversion students?
The conversion students can use the same application form without the need to fill in point 3 on the form.
UK CAA Exams
UK CAA EASA e-Exam Booking Process
The CAA uses electronic-examinations (e-Exams) for the ATPL licensing examinations and a CAA-wide dedicated customer portal domain, as all CAA customers will in future register via the CAA website portal to use CAA regulatory and non-regulatory services.
How to Register for your UK CAA e-Exam
Bristol Groundschool students wishing to sit a UK CAA e-Exam will be required to register for the e-Exams service. To register, please go to https://sso.caa.co.uk/adfsweb/Register.aspx and register a portal account (setting username and password). Login to your portal account and complete the Identity Submission Request, and provide personal details including permanent address; full name, date of birth; gender, telephone number. Confirm your identity by providing high-resolution scanned/photographed images of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ evidence. The types of required evidence are described in the e-Exams registration process but will include examples such as Passport or Driving Licence. Please note that without satisfying this stage of the registration process the candidate will not be able to progress to the examination booking system. Successful completion of the registration will result in a system generated notification being emailed to the candidate advising that they are now eligible to access the CAA TASMAN e- Exams service. Then, login to your portal account and select the option to apply for the e-Exams service.
Please note that ATPL Aeroplane pilots should be booking ATPL A exams; ATPL Helicopter pilots should be booking ATPL H IR exams not ATPL H; and all candidates need to register with the CAA and list Bristol Groundschool as their training provider (this includes Military Qualified Service Pilots). However, candidates who are fully exempt approved training (ICAO licence conversion candidates) must not choose Bristol Groundschool as their training provider.
This flowchart describes the process pictorially.
What happens next?
CAA will process the e-Exams Service request and candidate registration within 5 clear working days for standard cases. However, the process may be extended for more complex cases and to allow for the data transfer of any prior exam sitting history. The CAA reserves the right to restrict or deny access to the e-Exams platform at its sole discretion at any time.
Information required by the CAA exam booking portal
You will be asked to specify the ATO you are training with (as the ATO will then be asked to accept the candidate). This process establishes a membership between you and the ATO, enabling the ATO to also have sight of your results. If you are exempt from the requirement of completing approved training with an ATO, the current process of declaration remains unchanged, refer to the CAA TASMAN system for further information.
Document to bring to each exam sitting
You will be asked to specify which personal identity document you will present at the e-exam venue (as this is recorded for checking by the examination invigilator each time a candidate undertakes an examination). You must present this specific identity document (must be current and the original) at the examination venue for each examination, failure to do so will result in you being unable to sit the examination.
Once you have provided the required identity information and specified the ATO, the ATO membership request will be initiated and the Examinations Administrator at the CAA will complete the final validation stage for service access to be enabled. You (and ATOs where applicable) will then be able to access the service. Please note you must commence your theory exams within 12 months of receiving your CAA approval.
Booking and Payment of Examinations
To book an exam sitting with the UK CAA you will need to register your personal details on the UK CAA portal as mentioned above. Please visit the CAA website exams dates to help you with your planning.
Examination bookings and amendments will be accepted up to 72 hours before the examination sitting after which examination sessions will be closed. Bookings can be amended without contacting the CAA Examinations Administration Team up to 72 hours before the examination sitting, after which amendments can only be made by the CAA Examinations Administration Team. On receipt of your examination booking you will receive an email notification containing your booking confirmation. An electronic copy will also be held in their e-Exams portal account which can be accessed at any time.
Please note that all venues will be closed for bookings and changes in the e-Exams system 72 hours prior to the first day of the examination sitting. A sitting shall be a period of examinations as determined by the CAA.
Examination fees are as published in the CAA Scheme of Charges, however, some international venues have different fees, and these are annotated against the examination service you are applying for.
Amendments to booked examinations, including transfers and cancellations, etc, are also self-service. You will be required to login to the CAA Customer Portal to access the e-Exams service in order to make these bookings or make amendments. Details of the payment methods can be found on the TASMAN e- Exams payment screen.
The CAA exam timetable is a guide to dates on which you may be able to sit your exam. Some dates may be subject to change. A list of confirmed dates for exams is available on the CAA online e-exam system. When you log in and book an exam you will be able to choose from one of these dates.
UK CAA Exam venues
Bristol Groundschool is an EASA examination centre. This e-Exams centre is open to any student, regardless of where you have studied. At Bristol Groundschool you will have the benefit of sitting your exams in a comfortable and friendly environment.
Other exam centres run by the UK CAA are at:
• Bristol Groundschool
• Ayrshire (Ayrshire College)
• Coventry (L3)
• Luton (CATS)
• Oxford (CAE)
• Southampton, Nursling
• Malaga (CATS)
• New Zealand, Hamilton (L3)
• Spain (FTE Jerez)
• Malaysia (Malaysian Aviation Academy)
• USA (MicroTec, in Florida)
You will be able to access information about opening times and seating availability via the CAA e- Exams system.
All examinations are conducted in a secure and invigilated environment. You will be greeted by the Lead Invigilator on the day of sitting, be requested to provide your previously nominated original identification to verify your eligibility to sit, and be required to sign an attendance register before being seated.
All examinations desks are equipped with a monitor, keyboard and a mouse ready for the e-Examinations to commence. A verbal briefing will be delivered to all candidates by the Invigilator and everyone will be asked to read and accept (by signing) the examinations conditions presented in an e- Examinations Candidate login form available on each candidate’s designated desk. Examinations will be invalidated if you fail to sign the login form. You will have received in your booking confirmation a list of permitted, prohibited and supplied materials for the specific examination subject being sat. Only permitted or supplied materials will be available for use, no other items.
You will be instructed by the Invigilator to commence your examinations by entering your login details and clicking the ‘start’ button when instructed. The examination will then continue until the duration is completed or you cease the examination early.
When you complete an examination early, you should raise your hand to attract the attention of the Invigilator who will then finalise the examination to permit you to leave.
Some examination venues will be installed with CAA controlled Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) which will monitor all examination events.
You are required to observe the terms and conditions of examinations conduct, including all Invigilator instructions, at all times. Failure to do so will result in sanctions being applied you for misconduct.
Results and Reporting
Results of examinations are available once the examination sitting is closed by the CAA Administration Team. A ‘sitting’ shall be a period of examinations as scheduled by the CAA to occur within a working week.
An e-mail notification will be sent to you (and ATO where a membership relationship exists) to advise once the results are available in your e-Exams TASMAN account. To obtain your result information you must log onto the examination system, via the CAA portal website, and download the result notification. You will receive a separate result notification for each examination you have completed. Each result notification will provide a statement of your knowledge deficiency, this report is generated by matching questions failed by you to the published learning objectives from the EASA Syllabus. If your score is less than 50% you will not receive a knowledge deficiency report.