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I had finally got through all the material for ATPL meteorology, which was a real struggle as some of the material was incredibly dry, and parts of it made no sense (Climatology). Sub Tropical Convergence Zone, Foehn winds. It is all words, and to be honest, I did not understand any of it.
I start on the Bristol ATPL question bank, and I’m getting most of the questions wrong which was quite demoralising.
How am I ever going to get through Met? At the bottom of each question, there is a brief explanation. I still don’t understand the explanation, but it gives me some words to Google and go on YouTube for.
That’s ATPL distance learning study life. In this post, I’ll be reviewing the BGS question bank that in a sense became my comfort blanket during ATPLexams.
One of the gaps I found during my ATPL exams was that nobody actually teaches you HOW to study – and I struggled initially as I had been out of education for a while. Check out my How To Study Effectively class – Skillshare is running an offer at the moment for 2 weeks FREE.
I share my study techniques – completing my ATPL exams in just 8 months whilst juggling a full-time engineering job (and hour building at the weekends)!
Bristol ATPL Question bank overall rating: 80/100
- Interface: 15/20
- Price: 10/20
- Explanations: 18/20
- Interactive/ live student-led exam feedback and comments: 17/20
- Support and customer service: 20/20
Pros: Good, capable primary question bank with explanations for every question. Excellent forum to share information and compare notes with other students.
Cons: No offline functionality but that is me being pedantic!
I actually started my BGS question bank experience on a bus on the way to a conference when I was in my old engineering job!
Part of the game of distance learning ATPL exams around your full-time job is to do what study you can whenever you can. No matter how small – the effort compounds over time. Back to BGS interface – it worked well on my iPhone. I was able to select my first 10 ATPL Met questions with ease using just my phone.
I also found the BGS Question bank to be tablet and desktop friendly. You are prompted to select your subject after the home screen and then taken to the exam menu screen. There are many options to customise your testing to suit your needs.
Those doing distance learning ATPL exams often study on their commute to work etc where internet signal is not always reliable and being able to access questions offline would be amazing.
The Bristol ground school question bank does not have an app, but you can save the URL on your Home Screen on your tablet to make it a ‘web-based’ app. After taking your ATPL exam at the given CAA test centre, most to the ATPL exam feedback is provided via learning objective.
Whilst Bristol does allow exam selection by topic, a great addition would be to have an exam question selection option by EASA ATPL learning objective.
BGS Question Bank Interface: 15/20
|Subscription||BGS Question Bank||Aviationexam Question Bank||ATPLGS Question Bank|
|Free trial||3 days free||Free trial not available but Free test available||Free test & 7 days free|
|30 days/ 1 month||£21||£22.70||Not available|
|90 days/ 3 months||£56||£52.02||£39|
|180 days/ 6months||£100||£99.88||£70|
As much as I love the BGS product, they price themselves at the upper end of the scale in comparison to other EASA ATPL question banks. They do offer ATPL questions free on a 3-day trial.
BGS Question bank price: 10/20
I won’t show any question explanations as not to infringe on copyright. The exam question explanations from BGS though are solid. Every question has an explanation with the length of which depending on the difficulty of the question.
You would not be able to learn purely from reading the exam question explanations. As a revision tool to jog your memory, the explanations are perfect when you get a question wrong.
Bristol Ground School Question Bank Explanations: 18/20
Interactive/ live student-led exam feedback and comments
BGS were the pioneers in terms of paving the way for student-led interactive live feedback. Although not directly linked to the specific question page, there is a forum that active members and students can share information and feedback.
Within each ATPL question, there is an option to ‘flag’ a given question. When I was doing my ATPL exams, through the forum you could see similar questions that had appeared in the ATPL exams by question ID and then search directly for that question.
Alternatively, you could do a keyword search. To help the student, it would be amazing to see a feedback mechanism added to each question i.e. possibility for students to leave comments on each question or flag it is having seen similar in the exam.
How interactive is BGS question bank for exam feedback and explanations? 17/20
Support and Customer Service
I never had any issues with BGS question bank except for the odd password reset request – which was completed easily enough. Other students said that BGS customer service was excellent and could not fault them.
BGS question bank support and customer service? 20/20
Bristol Ground School question bank overall?
Is this the best question bank then? The Bristol team have put together a great product that really helped me through my ATPL exams and can not thank them enough. They are experienced, have a lot of knowledge and have been doing this a long time.
Putting aside my “emotional love” for BGS questions bank: I think this would be a good primary question bank but would recommend augmenting it with one of the more real time feedback friendly question banks e,.g. ATPL GS for the TOP 200 question.
You can get this on the BGS forum but it is a slightly manual process to read through the various posts etc. Having access to the top 200/ last 200 definitely saved me during ATPL exams prep.
I completed my ATPL exams via distance learning in 8 months finishing all my modular pilot training in 12 months and landing a job 4 weeks later flying the B737. I did all my pilot training part-time around my engineering job.
To share what I learnt, I created a pilot training guide. Check it out on Amazon if you are thinking about progressing your flight training to CPL/MEIR and hoping one day to fly for an airline (post-COVID!)
If I have missed anything or you have questions on the BGS question bank/ ATPL exams/ ATPL theory, please leave a comment in the section below. I would love to hear from you!
Kudzi Chikohora is a B737 captain with over 3,000 hours of flying in Europe. He holds a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, is a chartered engineer, and is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Kudzi completed his pilot training via the self-funded modular pilot training route and created kcthepilot.com to share pilot training and aviation content.