Lifestyle: Taking the Driving Theory Test: FAQ

Unbeknown to some, the driving theory test is a very important part of learning how to drive. You can’t take the practical test without having passed your theory test.  

Together with Pass ‘N’ Go, providers of driving lessons in Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Durham and Sunderland, you’re sure to reach your final destination and pass your test with this handy FAQ guide.

Booking the test

How much does it cost?

When learning how to drive, the test costs £23. The price doesn’t change, irregardless of whether it is a bank holiday or weekend. Those who are Safe Road User Award holders can sit an abridged theory test. The cost of this test is £18 irregardless of when the test is taken.  

Can I book multiple theory tests?

You can’t book any more than one test, and you’ll need to rebook your theory test if you fail the first time. Any re-sit booking must be three days away from the original booking date.

Although you can’t book more than one test, you can change the date of your solitary theory test appointment. Based on the following conditions, alterations can be made when:

  • You want to move the date to an earlier available appointment.
  • You want to move it to a later date.
  • You wish to change the theory test centre where you’re taking the test.

Can the test be done online?

A theory test can’t be done online and can only be done at a theory test centre.

If you would like to practice, you can take a free mock test based on the multiple-choice portion of the theory test at GOV.UK. The practice paper has the same amount of questions as the real test.

The Official DVSA Guide to Hazard Perception DVD-ROM will also give you practice as a learner, as it contains all the possible combinations of questions that can be asked on the test.

Is the test free?

No, only the mock test provided by the government is free.

What test do I need to take?

You don’t have to sit a driving theory test if:

  • You’re booking a driving test to upgrade a car licence.
  • You’re booking a driving test to upgrade a motorcycle licence that you’ve held for a minimum of two years.
  • You’re booking a driving test to upgrade a lorry or bus licence.
  • You’re booking a taxi driving test.
  • You’re booking a tractor driving test.

How old do I need to be to take the test?

You can take the test when you’re 17.

You can take the test when you’re 16 if you receive PIP payments (personal independent payments).

How long will I need to wait after booking my test?

This report by Book Theory Test Today suggests that the DVSA books 95% of initial appointments by no later than 2 weeks after the candidate’s preferred booking date.

Theory test centres

Where can I locate a theory test centre?

Theory test centres can be located across the UK. The easiest way to find your nearest centre is by using GOV.UK’s simple postcode search service.

The test

Do the theory test questions change?

The questions do change from test to test, but they are all based on the following three books:

  1. The Highway Code by the Department for Transport
  2. Know Your Traffic Signs by the Department for Transport
  3. The Official DVSA Guide to Driving — The Essential Skills by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

How is the test structured?

The test consists of the following components:

  • There are 50 questions that are multiple-choice, and there are some in the form of a case study:
  • Five questions will be based on a short story.
  • A real-life situation that you could come across while driving will be detailed.
  • A hazard perception test consisting of 14 separate video clips.

For the multiple-choice questions, you should score 43 out of 50,  and 44 out of a possible 75 points for the hazard perception test; don’t forget that both parts of the test need to be passed in order to pass the test overall.

How long does the test take?

To get through 50 multiple-choice questions you have 57 minutes. You may be allowed extra time if you have reading difficulties or any other disability. However, proof must be sent to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency in the form of an email or a letter supplied from:

  1. A doctor or medical professional.
  2. An independent party who is aware of your reading difficulty — your employer, for example.
  3. A teacher or other educational professional.

This proof should be sent to one of the following two locations:

  1. DVSA theory test enquiries, via the email address customercare@pearson.com.
  2. By post using the address: DVSA Theory Test Enquiries, PO Box 1286, Warrington, WA1 9GN.

Between the multiple choice and hazard perception parts of the test, you’re able to take a three minute break. However, there is no time limit for the hazard perception test, as it depends on the time taken to show all 14 videos clips.

Even though there is no change to the hazard perception part of the test, if you take the ‘abridged theory test’, then you will answer 35 questions with the intention of scoring 30 out of 35 in order to pass.

To book an ‘abridged theory test’, contact the DVSA theory test booking support team via the phone number 0300 200 11 22 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday. You must have the following to hand if you wish to book the test:

  • A credit or debit card.
  • Your provisional UK driving licence number.
  • Your Safe Road User Award certificate number.

Does my theory test include the hazard perception test?

In order to pass the overall theory test, then you’ll need to pass both the hazard perception test and the 50 multiple-choice questions.

Does the test include the highway code?

Yes, it does, because it is based on the following three books:

  1. The Highway Code by the Department for Transport
  2. Know Your Traffic Signs by the Department for Transport
  3. The Official DVSA Guide to Driving — The Essential Skills by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

Are theory test questions multiple choice?

Yes, they are; every question will come with a series of answers, and you’ll need to choose one from the options available.

What is involved in the hazard perception part of the test

What are hazard perception tests?

Through a series of 14 video clips, you will be tested on your ability to test hazards as they appear on a screen.

The videos will consist of the following:

  • Everyday road scenes that occur may occur in real life situations.
  • You will also be asked to spot a developing hazard that will cause a driver to change direction or speed up/slow down. There will be one clip with two developing hazards.

You will also be allocated points depending on whether you can spot hazards as they appear.

How many points will you have to score to pass the hazard perception?

You’ll need to score 44 out of a possible 75 if you want to pass this part of the test.

How does the hazard perception score work?

You will be awarded more points depending upon the speed at which you spot the hazard on screen.  

You can’t ever lose any points during this part of the test; however, if you are seen to be cheating by continually clicking during the test, you won’t receive any more points.  

How long does this part of the test take?

This part of the test isn’t timed.

What do I do once I’ve passed?

Do the tests expire?

The test does expire after two years, and once you’ve passed you’ll be given an individual pass certificate number. If you don’t produce this number within the two-year deadline when booking your practical driving test, then you’ll need to take the theory test again.

Where can I find my pass certificate number?

You’ll be given this number in a letter when you pass your theory test.

What is Theory Test Pro?

Theory Test Pro allows you to take questions based on every question devised by the DVSA and allows you to practice your hazard perception skills. Those who took this test were twice as likely to pass compared to the national average. If you’d like to learn more about this helpful tool, then click here.

Sources:

https://www.gov.uk/theory-test

https://www.gov.uk/book-theory-test

https://www.gov.uk/driving-test-cost

https://www.gov.uk/find-theory-test-centre

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