Theory Test

What you need to know

In short, there are no shortcuts to knowing what you need to know for you theory test, but there are one or two ways that might make the process of learning a little bit less daunting to those of us who aren’t completely comfortable with written exams.

No matter how well your practical lessons are progressing, you will have to pass your theory test before you can apply for your practical driving test. The theory test came into force on the 1st of July 1996 and now forms a large part of the obstacle that learner drivers face when learning to drive.

The test itself is constantly changing with new rules and regulations imposed by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), so its important to keep up to date with your learning. If it’s less than two years since you passed your theory test and as yet you haven’t passed your practical test, then it is still valid, but the chances are quite a few things will have been modified or changed in line with the DSAs current rules.

You need to be 17 years of age and have received your provisional driving licence. Remember, you have to apply for it. Your licence will not come to you automatically.


The Basics

Make sure when attending your theory test at the centre, you must bring both parts of your driving licence (the paper licence and plastic card part). If you don’t take both parts, the DSA will accept no other form of identification and ultimately you will have to resit the test and will forfeit your test fee. If you have an old paper licence, you must provide a valid passport to accompany it.

Test conditions

Remember that it is an exam and as such you will be under test conditions. You will have to store your belongings in lockers provided before entering the test rooms. Once in, talking to or distracting anyone is prohibited. You will have 57 minutes for the multiple choice part and the hazard perception part combined. Your computer will keep you updated on how much time you have left.

Multiple Choice Test contents

The test is made up of 50 questions divided into 12 topics. Traffic signs, driver attitude and the effects of fatigue and alcohol on your driving ability are just two of those tops. Remember to read each question properly and reread. Revise your answers if time allows it.

Your pass mark for this part is 43 out of a possible 50.

Hazard Perception Test (HPT) contents

You will be shown 14 video clips for the HPT to evaluate your ability to assess and deal with hazards you may come up against. Out of a possible 75, you will need to reach a pass mark of 44.

Test resources

It would be nice if we could just turn up and pass without any work, but in reality, this isn’t going to happen unless you put the work in. To make this a bit easier there are some really helpful resources to make digesting the information a bit more palatable.

Aside from the Highway Code mentioned earlier, you could try Revision Cards. A tried and tested way of effectively taking in the required information. Copy all the information you’re having trouble with onto revision ‘flash’ cards. Lots of people find this a great alternative to just trawling through pages of words.

Whatever way you get there, you will get there. We hope this does in some small way help you achieve your goal.

Important advice for those with learning difficulties, special needs and if English isn’t your first language

Learning, reading and hearing difficulties

If you have evidence from your School or College that you had extra time in your exams because of a learning difficulty then you can also get extra time in your theory test. If you are still in full time education and don’t have a statement of needs, don’t panic there is still time to get assessed before you book your theory test.

Have a look at the government website for more in depth information regarding anything mentioned in this paragraph and to find out more