Getting the most from Ground School

by Craig Jardine on Oct 14 2019

I still remember the day I got accepted to L3Harris. The excitement of getting that email offering you a place and then getting your start date is unmatched. Before you know it, you’ll be starting your course, head down studying for your exams. There is little time for you to stop and breathe as it is a whirlwind which goes by so quickly. And then, before you know it, you’ve finished. It has now been 2 months since I left ground school, and it has given me time to reflect on my time there and what I wish I could have told myself before I started.

See your friends and family

Once you start ground school, your number one focus will be studying to pass your exams. You won’t always have time to see or message friends and family. So make sure you spend time with them before you start.

Make sure you’re in the right mind set

Ground school is hard, there is no other way of putting it. From day one it is good to be in the mindset that you are going to work hard. There is no “it can wait until tomorrow” at ground school, because if you do that, you will quickly fall behind. Stay on top of the work.

Know how you unwind

Sounds silly, but as mentioned in my previous blog, ‘Learn to relax, chillout and unwind’, having quality time off is vital. Don’t chain yourself to the desk. You need to let your mind relax, even if it is just for 30 minutes, as you will certainly feel the benefit for it.

Use your instructors

The instructors at L3Harris are incredible. They know their subjects like the back of their hand, so make sure that you use the most of them whilst you can. Whether you see them in person, or drop them an email at night, it is important that you use them to iron out any doubts or confusion you may experience.

Use your classmates

You’re all in the same boat, so work as a team. They, just like the instructors, may be able to explain things in a different way. So group study and group chats are a great way to give you a helping hand.

Ask questions

We’ve all been sat in a classroom at one point in our lives not wanting to ask a question because we think it is silly. Well don’t think that. The EASA ATPL subjects can be complex at times, so make sure you ask questions during classes. If you’re confused by it, then so will someone else be.

Time management

You don’t have to create a set timetable that you live by, I didn’t. But being conscious about time, how you plan things and how long you spend doing things will maximise the time you can spend studying.


This is a massive one. Do not go into class tired. You might think it’s good to squeeze an extra hour of study in before bed. But you’ll end up going into class the next day exhausted, and you will likely not be able to focus for the first few hours of classes. This is something I learned the hard way.

Don’t fear the exams

They might seem scary, but you know your stuff. If the knowledge is in your mind, and you’ve done all the practice questions, there is nothing to fear. Yes, I will admit, I was very nervous before my first ever sitting, and I was nervous before my last ever sitting. But nerves are fine, they are natural.

Go home

Taking time at the end of your exams to go home and see family and friends for a few days will do you the world of good. It’s amazing how just two or three days back home was enough to clear my mind and return with a fresh and clear head that was ready to learn.

These simple things individually might not seem like much. But together, will help you to get through ground school with the best results possible.

Read more about the Integrated ATPL course