The 'Practical Test Standards' (PTS) series guides student pilots, flight instructors, and FAA-designated examiners through checkrides, the final test in acquiring a pilot license. Each PTS guide details the skill and knowledge that must be successfully demonstrated before an examiner can issue a certificate or rating. The knowledge requirements detail which subjects will be covered -- which weather reports and forecasts candidates will be asked to analyse, which physiological conditions (such as dehydration, spatial disorientation, and hypoxia) candidates will need to discuss, and what kind of flight planning exercises will need to be demonstrated. The skill requirements include what kind of takeoff and landing must be performed, such as crosswind or short-field; how a steep turn should be executed, with specifics that include what bank angle and airspeed to use; and what areas will be tested on a continuous basis, such as the checklist usage, positive exchange of flight controls, and crew resource management. The tolerances are defined so the candidates know what altitude, airspeed, headings, and banks must be maintained to complete each manoeuvre successfully.
Each PTS guide lists the knowledge and experience prerequisites for a particular certificate or rating and provides background information and study and reference materials.