Everything you need know about the theory test

Approximately 3 minutes reading time

You will need to have a valid provisional driving licence issued by the DVSA before you can make a booking to sit the theory test. You will not be able to complete the practical test until you have both a provisional driving licence and a pass certificate for your theory test.

Bookings for the theory test can be made by telephone, however by far the most bookings are made online. It is recommended to only use the telephone if you have special needs or specific enquiries that relate to the theory test.

What you’ll need

You will need your driver licence number, your email address and a valid debit card to pay online

If you do not have an email address, you will only be able to book by phone.

Remember there are certain circumstances under which you will not have to do a theory test, so to save yourself the stress please check.

  • If you already have a driver’s licence for an automatic vehicle and are upgrading your licence to drive a manual vehicle, you will not need to repeat the theory test.
  • If you are upgrading a motorcycle licence that you have had at least for two years e.g. an A1 licence to an A2 licence you will not to do the test.
  • If you already have a class C licence but are upgrading from a medium category licence to a heavy vehicle licence you are exempt from the theory test.
  • You will not require a theory test to complete a tractor licence or a taxi licence either.

A car theory test costs £23 and can be paid for both when you book online or over the phone.


Where to book

It is recommended to book using the official GOV UK site. It is possible to book using secondary sites, however there may be a delay in confirming the appointment and it is also possible that the booking doesn’t take place at all. You can use the same site to cancel your test, change the date or check for cancellations to bring the test date forward. There are services that will offer to do for you.

Some drivers have special needs. In the event this may the case for you remember to contact the test centre ahead of time to enable them to make provision for you. You may need help if you are deaf, have reading difficulties or other special needs relating to disability. You may also need to complete the test in a different language. All of these can be provided for as long as you notify the test centre ahead of time. The centre will not be able to cater for your needs if you have not notified them well ahead of time.


What happens next

Once you arrive for test you will have the opportunity to try out the process with a 15 minute practice session, to get you head around how it all works. This is a really good idea, especially if the testing environment makes you nervous.

Your test is made up of two separate parts. The multiple choice test and the hazard perception test. For the multiple choice test, you will have 57 minutes to complete the test and will need to answer at least 43 out of the 50 questions correctly.

Some questions will require more than one answer and you’ll be warned before moving on if you haven’t selected enough answers. There are also “case scenario” questions that you will need to answer five questions about. If you have used a practice test, you will already have experienced these questions.

The hazard perception test follows the multiple choice test and is prefaced by a short explainer video. This test takes the form of a video test. You can take a short three minute break before you must start this test. This test requires that you click the mouse when you spot a hazard that will require the driver to take action in one form or another. The quicker you are to spot the hazard, the more points you will receive. You will have to score 44 points out of 75. Each hazard has up to 5 points so there are plenty of opportunities to score.

Your results will be issued shortly after you have completed the theory test and if you have passed you will be given a letter with a certificate number certifying your pass. This theory test is valid for two years. You will need to retake the theory test if you don’t pass the practical test within two years of passing.

Your driving instructor will be able to advise you about which materials are best for preparation. There are several online sites where you can undergo mock tests to prepare you for the test and your instructor should be able to guide you in the right direction.

Don’t forget to book your theory test before you are ready for practical test. You could find that you have to wait even longer to obtain your full licence because you had to wait for the theory exam.

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