Of course, some standard operating procedures are always good. The practical test-mandated/real-world recommended method of holding pattern entry is to determine on what heading you will cross the holding fix, then use the 70-degree/180-degree diagram at right to decide whether to make a direct, parallel or teardrop entry into the hold.
Cross the holding fix and turn directly to the outbound course, which is the reciprocal of the inbound holding course. After flying outbound for a minute (or two to three miles), turn inbound just as if youve been flying around the holding pattern all day.
Cross the fix, then turn to the outbound course while parallel to the inbound courses ground track. In other words, fly outbound along the inbound course. After flying outbound for a minute (or two to three miles), turn around (toward the holding side of the pattern) and intercept the inbound course and ground track.
Cross the fix, then turn to a heading 30-to-45 degrees off the outbound course. After flying outbound for a minute-or two to three miles-turn inbound and intercept the inbound course and ground track.
After the checkride you dont have to do the math, unless you want. Somewhere along the way I learned to make the shortest turn to the outbound heading when entering a hold. Think in terms of the shortest turn to the outbound, and youll generally pick the applicable holding pattern from the 70/180 diagram.