Theory test guide
Five top tips to help you pass
The practical driving test seems to get all the limelight, but before you can take it, you need to pass your theory test.
Following these tips will help put you in the best possible position to ace it:
1. Get it booked
The first step is simply to get a date booked for your test. It might sound obvious, but it’s easy to put it off, so getting it in the diary will give you a solid deadline to aim for with your revision.
All you need is your provisional licence and the £23 fee. How long you’ll have to wait depends on how busy your local test centre is - in more rural locations you might be able to book just a couple of days beforehand, while in busy urban areas you may need to wait a few weeks.
Did you know?
According to the latest statistics, the pass rate for the driving theory test is 51%, so revise carefully.
2. Buy the handbook
During the test, you’ll be asked 50 multiple choice questions, drawn from a list of over 1,000. To pass, you need to get more than 43 correct answers - that’s 86% - in the 57 minutes available.
One of the best ways to get to grips with this section is to practice by answering sample questions. These are available in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Theory Test for Car Drivers, a handbook available online and in bookshops, priced at around £10.50.
This has lots of advice and information on taking your theory test, as well as a large number of example questions and mock theory tests you can use to swot up. Be sure to get the latest edition to make sure you have the most current questions and information.
3. Nail your hazard spotting
The next part of the test is hazard perception. In this section, you’ll be shown 15 video clips on a computer screen, each lasting around a minute. These will contain either one or two developing hazards. These are anything that would require you to change speed or direction of driving - the earlier you spot the hazard, the higher you will score, up to a maximum of five points.
You need to get 44 out of a possible 75 points to pass this section of the test.
Practice hazard perception tests are available online, and as downloadable apps for some smartphones. Official sample tests are available online for a small fee too.
An official theory test app for Apple and Android is available, published by the DVSA. This contains sample multiple choice questions, as well as practice hazard perception tests. The app is £4.99 on the Apple App Store and £2.48 on Android, but it will let you keep revising while you’re out and about, and may be well worth it.
4. On the day, don't forget your provisional driving license
You won’t be able to sit the theory test without it. You will lose your fee and have to wait for the next available time slot, so check before you leave home.
5. Arrive in plenty of time
You need to be at the test centre at least 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled test. Don’t cut it fine - make sure you know how you’ll be getting there.
Before your test starts, you’ll be given 15 minutes to get used to the touchscreen and the layout of the questions. If something doesn’t seem to be working properly, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
So you’ve passed your theory test? Congratulations! Now it’s time to book in for your practical test.
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