The practical test standards (PTS) for the private pilot certificate and the instrument rating have been replaced by airman certification standards (ACS) by the Federal aviation administration.
The PTS used until now by the FAA or DPE (Designed pilot examiner) are an exam to determine if the applicants for pilots are suitable to be airmen and be given a Pilot certificate, by conducting a checkride. The new ACS supplement the PTS. They give more clear, detailed and modernized information about what the pilot must know.
The ACS have been developed by the FAA, collaborating with industry experts over the last five years. The purpose of their work is to provide the pilot applicants and their instructors with a full set of “clear, logical standards that tell them what they need to know, consider and do to qualify and pass both the knowledge and practical tests for airman certification and ratings” the agency said. It was a necessary change, making the preparation for the knowledge test not just memorization of correct answers, but acquiring useful knowledge. Outdated questions have been eliminated and new ones referring to modern equipment like GPS have been added. Another improvement is that the ACS include knowledge on aeronautics. They also focus more on risc management, evaluating the pilots ability to make decisions.
The PTS have been replaced with ACS for instrument rating and pilot certificate on June 15, and are expected to go in to effect for ACP, Flight Instructor and Commercial over the next 2 years.
The FAA website now has a page for the Airmen certificate standards, providing information about the standards and answers to frequently asked questions.