Over the past week it's safe to say that my coursemates and I have been working flat out to ensure our knowledge is up to the standard required for the final six ground school exams. With quite positive mock results I set out to achieve similar scores in the real things and being so close to the end meant I was adamant I wouldn't fail. In fact, I would go as far as to say it was the hardest I've worked throughout the whole of ground school to the point where I'm absolutely exhausted!
The week of studying before the exams came and went in the blink of an eye and before I knew it I was back in that CAA exam room hoping the exams would be nice. Six exams were split over two days and luckily, the final exam was relatively straight forward as I had certainly began to notice a drop in my performance. Thankfully, you're given two hours for the topics of Meteorology and Aircraft General Knowledge so whilst the exam is by no means easy, you have plenty of time to think your own logic through before choosing an answer which certainly helped me on this occasion.
On finishing the exams the majority of our CP got together for a few drinks followed by going into town to celebrate and on waking I was nursing perhaps one of the worst headaches I'd had in some time. Although, my eventual exam results made it all the more worth it. I couldn't quite believe it and the even better news was that all of my house passed everything in module three too. I can't describe the feeling of completing ground school... you all of a sudden feel lost. I mean, what do I do with my life now? What even is spare time and how do you spend it if I'm not studying?
My final module three exam results were:
I was totally shocked with the result I received in Air Law having left the exam room certain I had failed it. In fact, I was so certain i'd failed it that my housemate was given permission to hit me if I had in fact passed as punishment for me moaning about it so much.
Averaging the above results with those from module one and module two I am pleased to say I'll be leaving ground school with an overall average of 86% and no fails. I'm so so relieved as despite the smaller hiccups in module one I quickly found a studying method that worked well for me and remained relatively consistent with my results throughout module two and three. With an average of 86% I now qualify for the recruitment hold pool at the end of my training.
UPDATE 02/03/2016: Holdpool Requirements
Since publishing this post I've been asked a number of questions about the requirements for the pool and thought I'd clarify it. When training at CTC Aviation, at least in the Groundschool stages, my CP were told to strive to achieve 85% with no more than 3 exam fails in order quality for placement hold pool at the end of training. If a cadet fails to meet this, they are not suddenly excluded from the pool. With each of CTC Aviation's airline partners having differing requirements, I believe that the aforementioned target of 85%, ideally with 0 fails, satisfies the majority of said airlines and thus increases a cadets likelihood of being placed.
As an example, the most recent Whitetail partner British Airways requires at least 85%, no more than 1 fail and certain academic criteria to be met. Other carriers, however, may only require a pass at 75% but look more closely at your flying ability. It's worth bearing in mind that Groundschool grades are not the only factor in the holdpool, for pilots must also aim to achieve flying scores to a similarly high standard. However, what i'm trying to say is the requirement isn't necessarily set in stone and depends on the airlines hiring at a given time. I am told that eligibility may, therefore, be looked at on a case by case basis and strong scores are therefore encouraged.
With our exam results in it was time for our second Airline Preparation Day. This time around it was all about CTC asking for feedback on our time in Ground School. They wanted to know the good, the bad and the ugly when it came to our experience in order that they could continue to improve the offering for future cadets. It's positive to know that recent comments about certain accomodation properties led to CTC partnering with a professional accomodation provider to offer smart studio apartments to cadets. From what i've heard, they're quite nice and the plan seems to be to transition over to them completely in the future.
After the feedback session the head of ab-initio training came to have a chat with us about expectations for the next stage of training. He started off with "Do you want the good news or the bad news" which initially made us expect the worst, but it wasn't that bad. When you join CTC you're told to expect your training program to change at notice for any operational reasons and this applied in our situation: we are now going to New Zealand to complete our flight training.
For those of you who wonder why this has happened it's to do with instructor availability in the United States. Rather interestingly, employment laws in the U.S. mean that unlike the U.K you don't need to give notice periods in order to leave a job and thus with U.S. legacy carriers employing, a few instructors have managed to secure jobs. This is of course great news for those individuals involved and I wish them the best of luck. However, it means that CTC is short of the instructors required to train us in Arizona. CTC's decision to move us was made to prevent any delays to our timeline whilst they onboard new instructors in Phoenix. CTC decided to tell us at the last minute such as to not throw us all off our focus for exams and I respect that decision.
So, what does this mean? Well, not a lot really. Same training, same end goal just delivered in another country. The only minor hiccup is the fact we now need to apply for New Zealand visas. Our departure date has slid from the 1st March to the 15th to allow for this extra process and now means we will leave at the same time as our easyJet MPL colleagues. Fingers crossed all of our visas come back with no issues. The application process was certainly much simpler than that for the United States.
Any minor inconveniences aside, I have to say that I'm actually buzzing about New Zealand. It's a part of the world I've never seen before and it also means that any sightseeing we do as a group will be new to me and my coursemates, having already seen much of the sights of Arizona / Western U.S.A during my time on the Camp America programme. I've also got a few friends in New Zealand which I met on the same Camp America program so it'll be great to catch up with them too!
At the time of writing I've now moved out of my house in Southampton and I'm back living with the parents for a bit. I've now got a month to simply do nothing and relax before our flight to the land of the Kiwis. I'll be back with another post soon, but for now it's time to let my hair down a bit and rediscover what spare time means.
All the best,