Succeeding in the UK theory test is by no means guaranteed, and the DVLA have certainly made things harder for learner drivers in recent years. Here’s everything you need to know about the requirements every entrant needs to meet to pass the exam.
Everything you need to know about the 2017 UK theory test pass mark
The multiple-choice section: 43/50 (86%)
As the test is completed digitally, you will get an opportunity to practise on a few sample questions before the exam begins. You have 57 minutes to answer all the questions. This means you have an average of 68.4 seconds per mark. It is possible you will be asked several questions which are based on one scenario. However, it isn’t an “all or nothing” affair -- if you answer four out of five right, those marks will count.
Likewise, as long as you get at least 43 marks, you won’t be failed if all of the questions you got wrong are on the same topic.
There are no trick questions in the multiple-choice section. The DVLA has hundreds of official questions which are chosen at random, so no two entrants will receive an identical exam.
The hazard perception section
This is the second part of the theory test, and it is taken almost immediately after the multiple-choice questions.
There are 14 questions in the hazard perception test. You need to get 44 marks out of the 75 available to pass. If you pass one part of the theory test but fail the other, you will need to retake the entire exam.
Here is how the scoring for the hazard perception test works.
In 13 of the questions, there is one developing hazard you need to spot by looking at the video provided. You need to click the mouse as soon as you see a danger ahead. Another question -- which can appear in any order -- will have two developing hazards.
Each question carries a maximum of five marks dependent on how quickly you click the mouse. It then goes down on a sliding scale to zero points.
If you click too early, you will get no marks for that question. You only receive one attempt to get it right. This is to deter people from clicking repeatedly.
Finding out your theory test pass mark
Because the theory test is completed digitally, you will be told about your mark -- and whether you have passed -- on the day of the exam.
If you have failed, you will be given a letter which explains the areas where you went wrong. Unfortunately, there needs to be a 72-hour gap before you retake the examination -- giving you time to revise and figure out what went wrong. As many test centres are busy, you may have no choice but to wait a little longer than this.
You can only move on to the next stage, a practical test, once you have passed your theory examination. The test centre gives you a pass number which needs to be provided when booking the driving test.
The UK pass rates for theory tests
According to the latest Government statistics, the pass rate for theory tests nationwide was 48.2% in 2016/17. This is compared to 65.4% in 2007/08.
Girls are more likely than boys to pass their theory test. Whereas boys had a pass rate of 46.3% in the most recent set of figures, girls had a pass rate of 50.3%. That’s based on the 1,495,952 theory tests conducted.
How to boost your theory test pass mark
-- Carefully read the questions. As we mentioned, there are no trick questions. However, it is possible that you can misunderstand what is being asked and provide the wrong answer because of it.
-- Not sure about a question? Come back to it at the end. Given the fact that there is a bit of time pressure associated with the multiple-choice section, it is worthwhile making the most of a feature which allows you to skip a question and answer it once you have completed everything else. This helps prevent you from becoming stressed, it’s a good form of time management, and answering other questions may help to jog your memory.
-- Check over your answers. In the multiple-choice section only, you can go back and amend your answers if you need to. It’s worth trying to allocate a little time towards the end to check for any silly mistakes which could end up being the deciding factor between a pass and a fail.
-- Always take the three-minute break. You are allowed to have a little breather in between the multiple-choice questions and the hazard perception. This allows you to clear your head and prepare for the next challenge.
-- Read the materials the tests are based on. If you read and study the Highway Code, Know Your Traffic Signs and Driving -- The Essential Skills, you will be equipped with all the knowledge you could be tested on in the exam.
-- Take mock theory tests. TopTests.co.uk has a series of tests where you can see what type of pass mark you’ll receive if you went into an exam room at this exact moment. This allows you to detect your weaknesses and make improvements without having the upset of failing the test, or the expense of booking another one. You are told exactly where you have gone wrong if you answer a question incorrectly. Use a stopwatch to ensure you can get through 50 questions in the time allotted.