A Guide to the Theory Test

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What You Need to Know

  1. If you are a learner driver, then you will be required to take – and pass – the driving theory test before you can take your practical test.
  2. Additionally, if you already have a licence but want to get qualified to drive another type of vehicle – for example if you are a biker who wants to drive a car – you will also need to take a theory test.
  3. The theory test is split into two parts, multiple choice and hazard perception. To pass the test, you need to pass both parts.
  4. To pass the multiple choice part of the test you must get at least 30 out of 35 questions correct in the 40 minutes time slot.
  5. As of 2012, the cost of a driving theory test is between £30 and £35, depending on the type of vehicle you want a licence for. Tests should be booked directly through your local driving test centre, so ask your driving instructor where this is.
  6. If you do not want to lose your fee you have to give a minimum of three days notice to the DSA to cancel your test. If you fail the test you will also need to give three full days notice before reapplication.
  7. On the day of the test, as well as being well-prepared, you will also need to have your passport or other ID and other official documentation with you.

What is the Driving Theory Test?

The theory test was introduced some years ago to compliment the practical driving test. It is split into two parts, comprising multiple choice examination questions and a hazardous perception skills test. To obtain your theory test certificate and get closer to obtaining a full DVLA driving license you will need to pass both of these parts of the examination in the same sitting.

Will I Need to Take the Test?

If you are a learner driver, then you will be required to take – and pass – the driving theory test before you can take your practical test. More specifically, you will need to take a theory test if;

  • You are a complete learner and possess no kind of driving license. Again, you need to pass your theory test before you can take your practical examination, so it’s a good idea to consider booking your theory as soon as you begin taking driving lessons.
  • You already have a license for one vehicle category but want a license for another category. For example if you already have a car license but want to learn to ride a motorcycle, then you will need to take a new theory test. If, however, you want to upgrade within a category, for example upgrade to a more-powerful bike or go from a driving an automatic to a manual car, you will not need to take a new theory test.
  • You hold a driving licence that was issued outside of the EEA zone. It may be possible to exchange your licence for the British equivalent, though it may not. To learn if you can swap your licence or if you need to take a fresh test, contact the DVLA.

What Does the Test Involve?

The driving theory test is made up of two sections. You need to pass both of these parts in order to pass the overall theory test; if you pass one and fail the other, you’ll need to take both again. The two separate sections are;

Multiple Choice: A wide range of driving issues are covered in this 35 question test. Select the correct answer from the choices associated to each question. Just touch the computer screen when you know which one you want. In order to pass this part of the test you must get at least 30 out of 35 questions correct in the 40 minutes time slot. That is an 86% pass rate. There is the option to have a practice tutorial so that you can familiarise yourself with the test screens on the computer.

Hazard Perception: This part of the test was introduced to try and prevent the high numbers of road traffic accidents that kill people on Britain’s roads. As new drivers tend to have slower reactions than more experienced drivers, this test was designed by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to encourage hazard perception early on. While the questions asked in the Multiple Choice section may vary according to what type of vehicle you want a licence for, those in this section are the same regardless of whether you want to drive a car, a bike or a van.

This part of the test comprises of a tutorial video to familiarise you with the forthcoming test. The test itself consists of 14 video clips, each one a minute long. They depict many types of hazard, which you need to respond to as soon as they materialise. This is done with a click of the computer mouse, higher scoring is dependent on how quickly you respond to these hazards. There are up to 5 points per hazard and the pass mark for this test is 44 out of 75 for car drivers and motorcyclists.

How Do I apply?

To book the theory test you need to obtain an application form from your driving instructor, driving / theory test centre. Forms must be sent with a cheque, postal order or with your credit / debit card details. You can also book by telephone. To do so, call the theory test enquiry line on 0870 0101 372 for the UK, 0845 600 6700 in Northern Ireland or 0870 0100 372 for Welsh speaking candidates. Lines are open between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday and bookings can be made directly.

You will need to have a car provisional driving licence because the driver number will be required to book the test, as is debit or credit card details to make the payment. When you have done this a booking number will be assigned to you and an appointment card will be sent out to you in the post within four days.

As of 2012, the cost of a driving theory test is between £30 and £35, depending on the type of vehicle you want a licence for. This includes all administrative and booking costs, though note that you will also be required to pay a fee for your practical test.

Cancellations and Re-Booking

If you do not want to lose your fee you have to give a minimum of three days notice to the DSA to cancel your test. If you fail the test you will also need to give three full days notice before reapplication.

Preparing for the Theory Test

Before sitting any examination it is a good idea to get as much preparation done as possible, and this is no exception. The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) recommends thorough knowledge of the ‘Highway Code’. As well as the official theory test books and CD-Roms containing the multiple-choice questions. The CD-Roms are particularly useful when it comes to hazard perception. Additional resources are available from the DSA include a DVD and a video and booklet package called RoadSense, which is the official guide to hazard perception for all drivers and riders.

Candidates should also make sure that they liaise well with their driving instructor to make sure that they cover all the other aspects of the new driver syllabus.

On the Day of the Test

The Theory test is carried out at designated centres within your local community. Exact information is available at the time of booking the test. Before you can sit the test however, you need to bring the following items with you;

  • Your signed driving licence with some photo identification.

OR

  • A photo card licence (if you have one).
  • Your appointment card with your booking number.

Acceptable photo identification includes:

  • A photo card driving licence.
  • Your passport.
  • Work pass with your photograph and signature.
  • School bus pass with your photograph and signature.
  • A photograph of you signed by an official person (doctor, lawyer, teacher)

It is also essential to be early for your test for a full document check. Any late arrivals will not be able to sit the test and will lose their fee.

Special Requirements

There are a variety of special needs that may need to be catered for.;

  • Foreign languages: The test can also be taken in several other languages. They include: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Farsi, Gujarati, Hindi, Kurdish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu and Welsh. These languages are listened to through a headset.
  • Dyslexia: Candidates are able to listen to a headset which has an English language narrative. In addition to this extra time is given.

  • If you cannot read or write in any of the languages provided, you are allowed to bring a translator with you. However, it must be a DSA approved translator.

Further Reading

 
1 comments
nesim nesim
25/01/2014

I WOULD LIKE TO BOOK A THEORY TEST IN ALBANIAN LANGUAGE WHERE CAN I BUY THE CD. THANKS

 

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