I’m in no way a professional at this, but I definitely have some tips that helped me pass the CPL and IR in less flights than required.
1. You need the right instructor. I had an absolute LEGEND. Strict on me when needed, always available for extra briefing, and someone I wasn’t afraid to say ‘I don’t get it’ to. He always helped me focus on the end result, and we didn’t waste a second of flying and sim time, and I loved every minute of it. If you’re not gelling with your instructor, or getting the absolute most out of your flights, don’t be afraid to speak up.
2. Organisation here is key. I found myself a spare kneeboard for my plates, and joined them with a keyring so I was never in danger of tossing a LEZL ILS plate in the back of the Diamond by mistake. If your plates are in plastic wallets, HIGHLIGHT everything you need to know. Maybe even mark in the margins the most important information. I had all sorts noted, such as when the gear is lowered in a high speed approach for example. This was an absolute lifesaver for me. When you’re trying to fly a steady VOR in a crosswind with an A320 a few miles behind you, it’s so much less stress to glance down and look for a little piece of information highlighted in pink then rack your already saturated brains.
3. Get used to wearing the hood/foggles early in your training. These are devices used during IFR flying to ensure you’re flying only on instruments, and not using the actual horizon, or what you may see outside. I actually even forgot to check I had a hood for my CPL and the poor examiner had to climb into the baggage netting at the back of the DA42 mid flight. Definitely got a ‘naughty naughty comandante’ for that one.
4. Your examiners – or at least mine, don’t watch every tiny move you make. They can’t hear your internal thought processes, and they don’t immediately see your speed deviations or the fact that you ever so slightly missed an altitude on that stupid CDFA. Act quickly and quietly to make small (discrete) corrections, and you will probably get away with it. A message from the girl who actually drove on the pavement during her driving test and passed first time with 4 minors.