Before you can take your practical driving test, you need to pass your theory test. It’s a really important part of learning to drive: when you get to your practical test, you’ll need to show that you can use what you learn for this test when you’re driving on the road.
The car theory test costs £23 Visit GOV.UK to find out more about the theory test.
It’s vital to prepare for your theory test: there’s a lot to learn about the rules of the road. The better prepared you are, the more likely you are to pass first time, which will save you the time and money that retaking the test will cost.
There are 2 parts to the test
- the multiple choice part
- the hazard perception part.
Preparing for the multiple choice test
The questions in the multiple choice test are taken from 3 books
- The Official Highway Code
- The Official DVSA Guide to Driving – the essential skills
- Know Your Traffic Signs.
You’ll need to use all of these when you’re preparing. There are lots of products available that contain practice questions, but it's really important you do not just learn the answers without understanding fully why it's correct because the questions on the actual test are not exactly the same as the practice ones.
Using official publications will help you get the most out of your preparation. You can find these in the Safe Driving for Life shop.
How the test works
The multiple choice test consists of 47 multiple choice questions taken from the topics listed below. There is also a video clip that has three muliple choice questions that relate to the clip. The video can be replayed if necessary. Try our practice video clips test here.
- safety and your vehicle
- safety margins
- hazard awareness
- vulnerable road users
- other types of vehicle
- road conditions and vehicle handling
- motorway driving
- rules of the road
- road and traffic signs
- essential documents
- incidents, accidents and emergencies
- vehicle loading.
Tips to help you learn
There are various methods you can use to help you learn what you’ll need to know for your test. Here are a few ideas
- Link what you’re learning to your own experiences: for example, think about where you’ve seen an example of a road sign and use this to help you remember what the sign means.
- Use mnemonics: these are sayings or stories that help you remember something – for example, ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’ reminds you of the colours of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).
- Practice the question formats: as well as knowing all the information, you’ll also need to know how the questions are asked in the test. Use the practice test and the self-assessment questions in The Official DVSA Theory Test for Car Drivers.
- Plan your study: set yourself some timelines and targets. This will help you to see your progress and make sure you have not missed anything. Plan to do your studying somewhere you will not be disturbed and at a time when you’re fully awake.
- Get help: use friends, family, your driving instructor or your colleagues from work to ask questions and share driving experiences.
Preparing for the hazard perception test
This part of the test checks you can recognise and respond to hazards that could happen while you’re driving. Being out on the road with your instructor will help you prepare for this part. There’s also The Official DVSA Guide to Hazard Perception, available as a driver theory test eLearning subscription.
In the test, you’ll see 19 film clips, each shown from a driver’s point of view. You’ll need to spot the developing hazard in each film: this is something that might need you, as the driver, to take some action such as changing speed or direction. For example, a car pulling in to the side of the road ahead of you is a developing hazard because you’ll need to slow down and manoeuvre around it.