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A&P Mechanic Test Prep Resources: Find Answers to FAQs Here

June 12, 2019

SJVC-aviation-maintenance-technology-student-working-on-airplaneAre you preparing to take the A&P mechanic exam in pursuit of a career in aircraft maintenance? This resource center has everything you need to know about preparing for your written, oral and practical examinations administered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

SJVC Fresno Aviation Campus President Lionel Smith offers guidance on what you should know about the test, and how to best prepare for each examination. Find frequently asked questions; test prep tools and resources; and testing center information below.

A&P License Test FAQs

What does A&P mean?

The term A&P stands for Airframe rating and Powerplant rating, and refers to the two certifications that aircraft mechanics can obtain:

Mechanics that hold a certificate with an Airframe rating have demonstrated proficiency in maintaining and repairing the body of the aircraft, including the landing gear. Those that hold a certificate with a Powerplant rating are also qualified to maintain and repair the aircraft engine. Some mechanics only hold one of these licenses, while others are licensed in both areas¹.

Can I earn both certificates at the same time?

There are separate tests for Airframe and Powerplant mechanic certificates, in addition to a general test that covers both. To become an A&P mechanic, you must successfully pass the general written examination as well as separate Airframe and Powerplant oral, written and practical tests within a 24-month period².

What grade is considered passing for these tests?

Per the FAA, to pass a written test, you must answer at least 70% of the questions correctly³. To pass the oral examination, you must correctly answer three out of the four questions correctly to pass. Practical examinations are based on your demonstrated proficiency as observed by an FAA Designated Mechanic Examiner4. Get more information about practical test standards.

How long does the A&P exam take?

The written Airframe and Powerplant tests are 100 questions each, while the general written exam is 60 questions. Most test centers will allow two hours to complete these tests. The oral and practical exams cover 43 technical subjects, and usually take a full day (or about 8 hours) each to complete¹.

Who oversees the oral, practical and written tests?

According to Lionel Smith, a Designated Mechanic Examiner handles the oral and practical test, and a test proctor is on-site during your written tests. During the oral and practical test, you will be interacting directly with your examiner one-on-one. For written tests, you may be taking your test alongside others in a testing facility4.

What happens if I fail my oral, practical or written test?

If you fail any part of the test, you may apply for retesting 30 days after the date of your failed test. To apply to retake the test before the end of this 30-day period, you will need to provide a statement signed by a certified mechanic or repairman that shows you have received additional instruction in each of the subjects you failed¹.

How do I sign up to take the written exam?

Before you take your written exam, you will need to present your proof of experience or proof that you graduated from an FAA-approved aircraft mechanic school. This documentation must be presented to an FAA inspector at your local FAA office¹.

What do I need to bring to my oral and practical exams?

Make sure you bring along the following items to your oral and practical examinations, says Lionel Smith:

  • Your driver’s license or another form of identification
  • 2 copies of FAA Form 8610-2
  • Your graduation certificate (if you graduated from an Aviation Maintenance Technology program)
  • Written test results
  • Your Airframe or Powerplant certificate (if you are testing for an additional rating)
  • Payment (or proof of payment)  for your exam

Bonus: A&P Test Tips from Fresno Aviation Campus President Lionel Smith

Are you getting ready to take the oral, written or practical exam for your A&P license? Check out these test tips from SJVC’s Fresno Aviation Campus President Lionel Smith.

Complete each test when your knowledge is fresh.

“When students don’t take any of the tests along the way, they get to the point where they are preparing for the test and realize, ‘This is pretty overwhelming. I should have learned more as I went or should have tested as I went.’ And for some of them, it becomes very overwhelming. That’s why we encourage our students to take the general written [exam] right away while it’s still fresh in their mind.”

Continue taking practice tests until you’re consistently scoring at 90 or above.

“We want to see them consistently scoring in the nineties [before taking the written exam] because there’s usually at least a 10-point drop when they take the real test. By doing that, we have very few failures.”

Stay focused and involved throughout your training.

“We have a good sense for the ones that are prepared [for the test]. They’re the ones that are always jumping in there, getting their hands on everything, and asking lots of questions. When they work in groups, they’re obviously the leader of the group. They’re really motivated and focused. Those students usually do very well.”

Focus your studying efforts on the FAA 8083 textbook.

“All the questions come from a specific textbook, FAA 8083, and we use that textbook in our program. I advise [my students] to skim through some of the sections. and if they just come across something that they don’t remember anything about, I strongly suggest reading back through these sections and focusing their efforts in these areas.”

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered eligible for the A&P certification tests¹, you must be:

  • 18 years of age or older*
  • Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
  • Possess at least one of the following:
  1. 18 months of practical experience with either power plants or airframes
  2. 30 months of practical experience working on both at the same time
  3. Certificate of graduation from an FAA-Approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School

*Students may take the A&P written, oral and practical examinations prior to their 18th birthday. However, the certification itself will not be issued until after they turn 18 years of age.

A & P Test Prep Tools and Resources

Practical Test Resources

Written Test Resources

Other Test Resources

A&P Written Test Locations in Central California

You can complete your written exam for your A license, P license or combined A&P license at these computer testing locations in central California. See a full list of testing locations in the U.S. on the FAA website.

San Joaquin Valley College (Fresno – Aviation Campus)
4985 East Andersen Avenue
Fresno, CA 93727

California Aeronautical University
1450 Boughton Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93308

High Desert Testing
18368 Readiness Street
Victorville, CA 92394

Hummingbird Aviation LLC
700 Tioga Drive
Modesto, CA 95354

Reedley College
995 North Reed Avenue
Reedley CA, 93654

Aviation Maintenance Technology Program in California

The Aviation Maintenance Technology program at SJVC is approved by the FAA, and prepares students with the skills and technical knowledge they’ll need to take the A&P license exams. By working directly with skilled aircraft maintenance technicians, students at SJVC get a comprehensive introduction to aircraft maintenance and repair. Students in our Aviation Maintenance Technology program can earn a Certificate of Completion in as few as 17 months, or an Associate of Science degree in as few as 22 months.

Learn more about the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at SJVC. Ready to speak to an admissions representative? Request information or call 866-544-7898.

Important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended SJVC can be found here.





4 Several FAQ responses are sourced from an interview with SJVC Fresno Aviation campus president, Lionel Smith, conducted in May 2019.

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