Driving Theory Test Guide

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Study for Your 2020 DVSA Theory Test Today

Did you know that on average 50.5% of people FAIL the driving theory knowledge test on their first try? That means your chances are no better than a coin toss as to whether you will pass on your first try. And it makes sense. There are 50 difficult questions on the test and you need to correctly answer at LEAST 43 questions to pass the test. On top of that there are over 700 possible questions in the test bank making it nearly impossible to effectively practice for the test on your own.

If you’re serious about getting your driver’s license and don’t want to waste your time, money, and effort on multiple failed tests then you need to take a different approach. Luckily, there is a proven method to help increase your chances of passing the driving theory test on the first try. TopTests has developed comprehensive driver training materials for you to study and help pass the test on the first try.

What is a Driving Theory Test?

The Driving Theory Test is the first step of becoming a licence holding driver in the UK. The test is administered by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). There are two parts to the test: a multiple choice test and a hazard perception test. The two parts of the test are taken at the same time. If you pass one part but fail the other you will not pass the test and will need to take both parts of the test again.

Drivers with a current licence that wish to obtain a licence for a different type of vehicle such as a motorcycle licence will need to retake the test for the type of vehicle they would like to drive.

After passing the Driving Theory Test, you can then book your practical driving test.

Test One: Multiple Choice

Prior to taking the test you will be given instruction on how the test will be administered. You will also be given the option to take a few multiple choice practice questions to get comfortable with the test format. After the practice question session, the real test will begin.

The questions on the test will be displayed in a question and answer format on a computer. After deciding on the correct answer you will select the answer by touching the computer screen. Some of the questions have multiple answers. There are also case study questions where you will be shown a short “story”. After watching the story you will be presented with 5 questions that relate the story you just watched. You also have the ability to “flag” questions so you can go back and review them later.

There are a total of 50 questions and you will need to answer 43 of the questions correctly to pass the test. The total time allotted for the test is 57 minutes.

Take free mock theory tests

Test Two: Hazard Perception

The hazard perception test is meant to judge your ability to respond to a potential hazard in a timely manner. Hazards are situations where something might cause you to change direction, change speed, or come to a complete stop. The test is taken on a computer and each of the 14 questions consist of one minute video clips that present a single hazard. One of the videos will contain a second hazard that you must also appropriately identify.

On the hazard perception test you will be using the computer mouse to identify the developing hazard. You will gain additional points the faster you identify the hazard. Keep in mind that if you click the mouse an excessive number of times the computer will alert you with a warning message and you will receive zero points for that question. There are 75 possible points and the passing grade is 44 out of 75.

Free Hazard Perception Test

How to Book Your Driving Theory Test

The easiest way to book your driving theory test is to use the online booking service offered on the official DVSA website. In general it should take you around 10 minutes to complete the online booking. You will receive a confirmation email after completing the booking. If you don’t have an email and you booked your test of the phone, the DVSA will still send you a confirmation via post.

If for some reason you run into a issue or would like to request additional information you can reach the DVSA for assistance:

DVSA Theory Test Booking Support

[email protected]

Telephone: 0300 200 1122

Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm

What are the Requirements to Book?

To book your driving theory test you will need the following:

  1. Your valid provisional driving licence.
  2. An email address -- you will need to book by phone if you do not have one.
  3. A credit or debit card to pay for the test.

Another requirement is that you must have been living in England, Wales or Scotland for at least the last 185 days in the past 12 months.

If you wish to look for an earlier appointment you can use the Gov.uk website to see if there are additional time slots available. These are what are referred to as ‘cancellation appointments’. You can also use this site to change your driving test to a later date or change the testing centre you plan to take your test at. You will need to provide at least 3 working days notice or you will have to pay for the test again. You can change your appointment up to six times before you will need to cancel and rebook it.

How Much Does the Theory Test Cost?

The cost to book your driving theory test for cars is £23 and the driving test is £62. There are differences in pricing for the driving test depending on whether you plan on taking the test on a weekday or during gate evening weekend or on a banking holiday. Driving tests taken after 4:30 pm will count as evening tests and will have a different rate than weekdays. Keep in mind that you will need to pay the full amount again if you don’t pass the test and need to rebook.

Use the chart below to find out what the costs are for your particular circumstance:

Test TypeWeekdaysEvenings, weekend and bank holidays
Theory test£23£23
Driving Test£62£75
Extended driving test for disqualified drivers£124£150

Do You Need to Take a Theory Test?

Generally you will need to have passed your driving theory test before booking a driving test. There are, however, certain circumstances where you will not need to take a theory test before booking a driving test. These circumstances include upgrading an existing licence, certain types of motor vehicles and hauling a trailer. Below you will find the different types of tests that you can book without passing the driving theory test first:

  • Upgrade from automatic to manual
  • Progress through the motorcycle categories (progressive access)
  • Tractor
  • Car and trailer
  • Lorry and trailer
  • Bus and trailer
  • Large lorry test, when you already have a medium lorry licence
  • Large bus test, when you already have a medium bus licence
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