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Do you want to know how to pass the Unmanned Aircraft General – small (UAG) test on a budget? In this 2024 study guide for, I share my experience of preparing for and successfully passing the FAA Part 107 exam with a 90% score on a budget. When I decided to get a commercial drone license, I researched ways to prepare for the exam. I quickly discovered that many people on the web were promoting pricey courses. A small minority were advising to use free resources.
I did not want to pay a lot of money for a course, but at the same time I wanted to have some sort of structure to my study along with a lot of practice. This is something that is difficult to get by when you are using free resources.
Fortunately, there is a middle ground. Specifically, I chose to use a study guide that cost me under $20. I will also discuss various strategies and additional resources I used to better learn the material. Finally, I will talk about things to know and what to expect on the day of exam.
How To Register For Part 107 Exam?
The following are the steps to register for the FAA part 107 testing:
- Get an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) through an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website.
- Make an appointment with a FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center by choosing “Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)” as your desired exam.
The cost of registration is $175 for 2024. There are over 800 knowledge testing centers that administer the test. You must be 16 years old and you must pass a background check by the Transportation Security Administration, which happens automatically as you apply for the license after successfully passing the exam.
Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) Test Prep Approaches
The commercial drone license exam consists of 60 questions and you must answer 70% of them (42 questions) correctly in 2 hours. Each question has 3 multiple choices. There are typically three ways you can get ready for the exam to get your FAA Certified Remote Pilot license with a Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Rating:
- free resources
- paid courses
- study guide textbooks
Each method has its pros and cons that I will discuss next.
1. Free FAA Part 107 Exam Online Resources
The first is to use free resources available from the Federal Aviation Administration and other websites. The three major resources available for free from the FAA are:
- Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide (FAA-G-8082-22)
- Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25B)
- Aeronautical information Manual
- Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide
- Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement (FAA-CT-8080-2H)
The Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement is the exact same book you will use during the exam at your testing center. If you prefer the hard copy of the supplement, you can purchase it off Amazon.
There are also many other study guides, free practice tests and YouTube tutorials. I will link the ones I used at the end of this post.
The major benefit of this preparation method is that you will be learning right from the source for free. There are several downsides to this though. First, there is a lot of material that you do not necessarily need to know, so you will have to come up with a clear plan of attack. Second and most importantly, there is no opportunity to test your knowledge as you learn this material on the go.
You can find and take free tests available online that will test you on everything, but otherwise you will have to search the internet to find relevant questions on specific topics that you just learned. Also, I saw many free study guides and practice questions online that contained outdated information. This approach is absolutely doable, but will require a little bit of planning and digging.
2. Paid Courses
The second approach for the Unmanned Aircraft General – small (UAG) exam prep is to take one of the paid online courses. The advantages are that it is very well structured with lots of reinforcing material, instructional videos, practice quizzes and numerous sample exams. It is time-efficient, since courses are prepared by experts who already know what you need for the test.
The major drawback is the cost. These courses can cost anywhere from $150 to $300. There are also in-person exams, where you go to the classroom and learn material through lectures. However, classroom courses tend to be much more expensive (around $500-$800) and you will need to adhere to a stringent in-class schedule.
While paid courses cost a little bit of money, they provide viable options for someone who likes to learn from instructional videos. If you are leaning towards taking a paid course, consider Pilot Institute’s “Part 107 Made Easy” course. It is competitively priced and taught by industry experts. If you do not pass the exam on your 1st try, Pilot Institute will even refund your money.
Very often, Pilot Institute provides substantial discounts to their “Part 107 Made Easy” course. In case they don’t, use our discount code “BFILMS” to get $100 off.
3. Study Guide Textbook
Finally, the third option that I personally chose is to use a study guide textbook. My personal goal was to balance dollar cost with time needed to effectively prepare for the exam and I felt like the study guide approach suited well my needs.
While there are many study guides out there, it is important to choose the one that is produced by a reputable company. After doing my independent research, I chose the paperback study guide updated for 2024 from Aviation Supplies and Academics (ASA). ASA is aviation publishing company that specializes in producing aviation training materials for over 80 years. As a disclaimer, I am not sponsored by this publishing company.
The benefits of using the ASA study guide are that it is regularly updated and contains the most up-to-date material. This study guide was relatively inexpensive, costing me under $20 and it came along with the paperback version of the Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement that you will use on your exam. This paperback supplement by itself costs around $12.
The material in this FAA part 107 study guide is very well organized and contains many questions at the end of each section. I thought that this was the best part of the study guide. Also, this study guide provides you with free access to 5 online tests with 60 questions each, which was very helpful. I would say that about 60%-70% of the questions I saw at my actual exam were either identical or very similar to the ones I answered through this study guide.
The drawback of this method is that you will have to actually read through it, as opposed to watching instructional videos through online paid courses. Also, sometimes you will have to research certain information that the book did not explain well, which happened on a few rare occasions. All this knowledge you gain during your study will be important later and will save you from a lot of trouble when you fly your drone.
The other good thing is that ASA periodically sends updates about new material and questions. They do that twice a year and you can subscribe to their questions update mailing list for free. They are very diligent about this and you will likely see these questions on your exam. I actually did see these new questions on my exam.
How I Prepped For Part 107 Exam With ASA Guide
The ASA FAA Part 107 study guide I used was broken down into five chapters and you can expect that many of your questions will likely come from the regulation topic.
Of all the topics, the airspace system is probably what took me the longest to master. Here you will be dealing with different airspace classes, airport operations and topography. You will be using maps from the Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement a lot and will have to figure out where you can or cannot fly and at what altitude.
Budget about 20 hours to complete the study guide. Taking practice tests took me about 5 hours. Reviewing material and questions took about 3-5 hours. In total, I spent about 25-30 hours on everything. If you can squeeze in 2-3 hours of study time each day, you would probably need about 2 weeks to get ready for the exam.
As I was going through the FAA part 107 study guide by ASA, I would note information that was the most challenging to understand. If necessary, I would Google information to reinforce my learning. I would focus more on understanding the logic behind the material, rather than memorizing it. Doing so will let you retain and remember material for much longer. Also, it will let you recognize trick questions faster.
Each section of the topic in the study guide contains numerous quiz questions. If I answered certain questions incorrectly, I was sure to fully understand why. I would also circle those questions with a pencil and come back and review them later to test myself again.
Also, I noticed that certain questions in the book tested material that was not well-covered by the preceding reading material. I Googled this information and made sure that I understood it well. This happened on a few occasions.
After I completed the guide, I took one of the five free exams included with the book every day. You will have to go to the prepware.com website, create an account and use a subscription code included with your purchased book to gain access to those five tests. The scores on these tests are indicative of your expected actual score with plus or minus 5% to 10% deviation. On average, I scored 93% on those five tests.
I also took other free tests available online. On average, I scored above 90% on them. I provided links to these free tests at the end of the article. Completing each of these tests took me about 20-40 minutes on average.
Then, a few days before the exam, I took another 3-5 hours to review the study guide focusing on challenging material. I also quickly reviewed all of the questions from the book and practice tests with an emphasis on the questions I previously got wrong.
What To Expect On Exam Day?
On the day of the exam, you have to report to your test center 15 minutes before your test time. At check-in, you need to show necessary documents to prove your identity and physical address. A driver’s license will work most of the time. In case your physical address differs from your driver’s license or you are using a U.S. passport, you can bring documents to prove your address (e.g. utility bills, bank statements, rental agreement, etc.)
After the check-in, the test center staff will take all of your belongings in a secure place. In my case, they put my belonging in a bag that they locked and even let me take it with me. They also provided me with the Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement (FAA-CT-8080-2H), scratch paper, pencil and a calculator. I did not need any of that, except for the supplement.
In case you wear bulky second layer clothes, such as sweaters, they may ask you to empty your pockets or even take those clothing items off. Also, you can take bathroom breaks despite all the warnings on the internet that you should avoid them. These breaks will count towards your test time though. Overall, the test center personnel were very friendly and helpful.
The computer I was assigned to was a bit slow, but everything was in working condition. Some people advise you to write down all the memorized numbers and facts on the provided scratch paper immediately, as you sit down. I did not do any of that and I am not sure it would help me in any way, except for creating more stress to recollect those facts.
I would say that about 30-40% of the questions on my exam were identical to the ones I saw in my study guide. Another 30%-40% of the questions were similar, but worded a bit differently. The other 20% of the questions tested material I knew. And then 10% of the questions asked me about something I have not seen or vaguely recollected, but was still able to logically think through it. It took me about 35 minutes to answer all questions, and 10-15 minutes to review everything.
After I submitted the answers, the test center staff told me my results immediately. They printed out my test report with the results and instructions on how to get the remote pilot license. Unfortunately, the testing center did not provide explanations for questions I answered incorrectly, since I received the passing grade.
However, they listed references to materials for the questions I got wrong. After I looked up the update from ASA issued after I took the exam, I discovered that about 4 questions I got wrong were from that update. No wonder I did not see those questions anywhere.
The staff also told me that if you do not pass the exam, the report will provide more details on why you failed with more detailed explanations on areas that you need improvement.
Getting Part 107 License Card
After I completed my exam on July 8, 2022, I applied for the commercial drone certificate license on the next day through the FAA IACRA website. You will need the exam score report the testing center gave you to complete the application.
There, I was issued a Temporary Airman Certificate in PDF form that you can print and use immediately to fly drones commercially. It took almost 6 weeks for me to receive the physical license card in the mail. Your time may vary depending on how busy the FAA is.
After you get your license, you are required to complete the FAA recurrent training course every 24 months to stay current on your knowledge of operating drones. This course is free and available online from the FAA website.
Recreational Drone License
Also, if you plan on flying drones for fun sometimes, you will need to pass the FAA Recreational Drone exam, also known as TRUST. The good news is that this exam is free, easy to pass in under 30 minutes and is taken online. I wrote made an FAA TRUST tutorial post, where I share my experience of taking and passing the TRUST exam.
If you have the part 107 license and you are flying a drone recreationally, it is not clear if the part 107 will work in this situation. I obtained the recreational drone license too, just in case I would need it. The time cost of passing the FAA drone TRUST test is negligible anyway.
That’s it for my exam experience and tips. I would recommend not waiting and taking the exam soon because the cost may go up further with time and the FAA may create more regulations for getting a license. In summary, you have many options to get ready for the exam. I personally preferred the ASA FAA Part 107 study guide for reasons mentioned above.
Free Part 107 Online Resources
Additional practice tests I took:
- Free part 107 Practice test 1: Self Assessment Exam at PSI Exam (after sign-up)
- Free part 107 practice test 2: The Drone Coach
- Free part 107 practice test 3: J. Rupprecht Law
- Free part 107 practice test 4: King School
- Free part 107 Practice test 5: Peltier Photo
Actual laws governing the operation of drones commercially in the U.S.:
There are many other tutorials on YouTube and online that you can watch. I can say that having the ASA study guide pretty much eliminated the need to watch them. However, if you feel like you still need to practice or gain better understanding of certain topics, I made videos, where I go over material and practice questions in more details that the ASA may have not explained very well. The topics I cover in those videos are airspace sectional charts, high density altitude, airport operations and markings. You can watch these FAA part 107 tutorial videos on our YouTube channel.