#YouHaveControl | 2:30 am on the 28th of October. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one getting up at that time of the night, or as I like to call it, stupid o’clock.

You see, it was the night of the blood moon, when the moon was really close to earth; something to do with a lunar eclipse meant it shone an incredible red colour that night. As wonderful as it looked, I was far too nervous to be taking much notice of it.

I had to get myself to Luton for 9am, to commence the PPL ground school at CATS. This was going to be the week where myself and other classmates sat as many as the 9 PPL written exams as we possibly could.

Months of self-study, along with a very intensive week of classroom time were about to come to a conclusion.

I’ve got to be honest; I was absolutely terrified. I’d been studying relentlessly for weeks and been working myself up into a bit of a state, wondering if I’d be good enough to pass the exams. You need 75% in each subject to pass.

I had found the study pack from Pooleys, which was kindly donated to me; invaluable. I also bought a set of specific revision guides for each subject and I downloaded a couple of apps onto my smartphone, which let you take mock exams and tell you how you are progressing.

Along with that, CATS gave me access to their massive online learning program, which tracks your study with a little sliding bar at the bottom of the screen. Despite all this, I made my way up to Luton from Devon, with an enormous sense of dread.

I had to sit and pass as many of the following as possible:

• Aviation Law
• Meteorology
• Aircraft General Knowledge
• Navigation and radio aids
• Human Performance and Limitations
• Flight performance
• Communications
• Operational Procedures
• Principles of flight

I had managed to speak to Matt from CATS on the phone and explain to him that I was somewhat worried; he was wonderful and explained the process of the week and how the timetable would work.

So, I made my way to Luton, and arrived on the Monday morning. I was welcomed by loads of lovely people including lecturers and my fellow students. We had a cup of tea before we got started and then it was straight into Human Performance revision.

At lunch time, we went for a quick break and a bite to eat and when we returned, we were given the chance to sit a mock exam to gauge our level of knowledge. We marked these together in the classroom and then: This was it! The real exam that we HAD to pass was handed out. Here we go… I thought. As I made my way through the questions, I didn’t find it half as bad as I thought I would.

After what seemed like just a couple of minutes, we were told time was getting towards the end and after double and triple checking my answers, I handed over my paper to the examiner. We were told to leave the room and come back half an hour later when the papers would be marked and we would receive our grade.

As we sat downstairs having a coffee, that half an hour felt like the longest ever! Our examiner came down to collect us and we found out we had all passed! I even scored 100% WOW! I couldn’t believe it. I was so overjoyed. The lull was short lived though as we went straight back into the classroom to complete Air Law.

Once again, I managed to pass the exam and somehow, this trend continued throughout the week.

As a class, we only had enough time to attempt to sit 8 of the 9 exams. I only sat 7, because I felt I was still unprepared for Flight planning and performance.

However, I sat 7 of the 9 and passed 7 of the 9!!

I still have an absolutely unbroken smile across my face to think that all the studying was worthwhile.

The team at CATS were so wonderful, they made me feel at ease once I got there and didn’t make me feel stupid in the slightest. I have to return at some point in the near future to sit the remaining 2 exams, but I’m not worried about that now I know I am obviously able to study and pass. I can’t thank Matt and the lecturers at CATS enough and compared to how I was feeling last week, I’m actually looking forward to going back there and smashing the remainder of the ground school with such a bunch of awesome people!