Theory test preparation

When you’ve completed compulsory basic training and before you can take your practical riding test, you need to pass your theory test. It’s a really important part of learning to ride a motorbike: when you do your practical tests, you’ll need to show that you can use what you learn for this test when you’re riding on the road. This test is specifically for motorcyclists, so you’ll have to pass it even if you’ve already passed your car theory test.

The motorcycle theory test costs £23. Visit GOV.UK to find out more about the theory test.

Read more about booking your theory test here.

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.

The theory test has 2 parts

  • 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

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 the reason they're 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.

To help you get used to how the multiple choice test looks on screen, you can practise doing the test online.

The multiple choice test covers the following topics

  • alertness
  • attitude
  • safety and your motorbike
  • safety margins
  • hazard awareness
  • vulnerable road users
  • other types of vehicle
  • road conditions and motorbike handling
  • motorway riding
  • rules of the road
  • road and traffic signs
  • essential documents
  • incidents, accidents and emergencies
  • motorbike 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).
  • Practise 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 (see above) and the self-assessment questions in The Official DVSA Theory Test for Motorcyclists.
  • 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 trainer or your colleagues from work to ask questions and share riding 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 an eLearning subscription.

In the test, you’ll see 14 film clips, each shown from a motorcyclist’s point of view. You’ll need to spot the developing hazard in each film: this is something that might need you, as the rider, to take some action such as changing speed or direction.

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