Applied Math immediately follows the Dials section and is more of a challenge. As with the other sections, it begins with directions and a few sample questions. Make sure to read the instructions carefully! Take the full amount of time given during the sample questions if you feel that you don't understand anything; it's the only part of the test where wrong answers won't count against you, so you're free to purposely answer wrong to see the computer's explanation if you'd like.

Once you get started, Applied Math is 25 questions. You're given 25 minutes to answer them. While I was able to finish with three minutes to spare, I've heard from others who ran out of time with a couple of questions unanswered. Because the questions are more difficult here, this is a section where you'll want to take advantage of skipping the difficult ones to come back to later. Just leave the question unanswered and hit Next, they'll pop up again at the end.

Equations here are all math that you're supposed to be able to do in your head. You're not allowed to use anything to write with, so if you find it easier to keep track of numbers on your hands, do it -- don't worry about others seeing, they're all busy with their own tests. Generally, answers will round off to numbers ending in 5's or 0's for simplicity's sake, but that's not the case in a few of the harder ones.

Questions generally will ask you to determine things like how far an aircraft has traveled after a certain time given a listed speed, what altitude it will be at given a certain descent rate after so long, and so on. No conversions are necessary; all problems are given in knots and nautical miles. Occasionally extra information will be given which you won't use: for example, a question asking you to determine the speed of descent of a plane will tell you how far it is has travelled, which is irrelevant to your answer.

The only equation you need to remember is D = S * T , that is, Distance equals Speed x Time. So, in practice, if the question asks how far a plane traveling 250 knots has gone in two and a half hours, you'll be multiplying 250 x 2.5 to get the answer, which is 625 miles.

Tips: The instructions will explain the difference between true airspeed (what the plane's airspeed indicator -- its speedometer -- reads) and ground airspeed (true airspeed along with the effect of a headwind or tailwind). For example, a plane with a true airspeed of 250 knots flying into a headwind of 50 knots will have a ground airspeed of 200 knots. If a question does not specify what type of speed is being used, ALWAYS use ground airspeed. The third example demonstrates this. Pay attention!

As mentioned earlier, skip the more difficult questions if you're spending very long on them. With 25 minutes, that's one minute per question -- if the easier ones are taking you more than 30 seconds, that may put you in a crunch with the harder ones, so don't spend too long double and triple-checking your answers.

Finally, if you're having a hard time with a question, especially one that isn't easy to divide or multiply in your head due to numbers that don't round well, take advantage of the process of elimination. For example, if an aircraft is traveling at 385 knots for 1 hour 15 minutes and you're asked to find how far it has traveled, try rounding up to 400. Any option given that is equal to or exceeds -that- distance (500 miles) is incorrect and can be eliminated. Elimination will help narrow down your choices.

Compared to the Green Book: Questions here were noticeably easier than those given in the book, which turned out to be good preparation for this part. If you're like me and haven't had to do much mental math lately, I would strongly suggest taking advantage of the book's sample questions (and possible even the CD - gasp) to freshen your mind up a little.