Taking the Tests
To take the test, read the rating material closely and connect to the network when the appropriate ATC is available. Locate your aircraft at the prescribed location, file a flight plan, if appropriate, and advise the controller ON FREQUENCY (not via private message) that you wish to take the V-xx or I-xx test. Registration on this site in advance is NOT required for initial participation in the program.
The controller will advise if he is certified to handle your flight (that is, if he controls the sky where the rating will take place, or if an adjacent controller is present), and whether he is able to accommodate your request. The controller may not be able to accommodate a test request if he feels that he will not be able to dedicate the required level of attention to conduct the test. If the controller is relatively busy, there can be significant delay in seeing your private message. That is why it is best to contact the controller over the frequency.
If the controller is able to accommodate your request, complete the flight as described. To be clear, once the controller advises you that he can conduct your test, you should complete the flight as you would any other, filing a flight plan if appropriate, and making any necessary radio calls. Calling up and saying, "ready for V1 test" on the radio will not result in the controller issuing a taxi instruction.
By and large, picture the controller and the test examiner being two different people, that usually goes a long way to understanding what we're trying to achieve (see next paragraph for one exception to this). Don't assume that just because you're on, say, the V-3 rating, that the controller knows you want to do 2 bravo transitions in a row. You need to make the same calls you would if you were conducting the flight outside of the test environment.
The above notwithstanding, if you are handed to a new controller once enroute, it is reasonable to check in with your altitude AND the fact that you're conducting the V-xx or I-xx test. Obviously this breaks from reality slightly, but since the testing system is not integrated into the controlling software, busy controllers have been known to not relay the message regarding the status of your rating as part of handing you to the next controller.
At the completion of the flight, the controller will advise you of the status of your certification. Bearing in mind that we're here to educate as much as possible, the controller may provide helpful hints (on a time permitting basis), usually via private message, to help you out with the flight, particularly during VFR flights and early IFR flights.
If you do NOT receive a confirmation from the LAST controller regarding the status of your test (either on frequency, or via private message), then query the controller to determine the status. From time to time (particularly if your rating involved a number of busy enroute controllers), ratings do get 'lost in the shuffle'. The last controller you speak with is the controller who is responsible for submitting your test result. If the controller does not let you know the pass/retry status of your test, it's likely that they're also not going to submit your result. NOW is the best time to fix the situation, while everyone is still online.
Upon successful completion of a rating, your name will be added/updated on the ZLA Certified Pilots Roster as soon as possible, usually within 24-48 hours. If you do not see the updated test result after that time, use the Feedback form or follow the instructions listed at the top of the roster page.