The key to passing your driving theory test is all in the preparation. The DSA (Driving Standards Agency) recommends spending 20 hours revising for your theory test, but it’s important to make sure you’re spending your time in the most effective way possible.
Below you’ll find out why the theory test is important, what you can expect from it, how to book your test and some of the best ways to practice.
Why do I need a theory test?
The theory test is a really important part of learning to drive; without it you would not be able to take your practical test, and more importantly, wouldn’t be equipped to drive safely on UK roads.
It’s an important part of establishing whether you know the Highway Code and the meaning of different road signs, as well as being able to spot developing hazards and react appropriately in the event of an accident.
What’s in the test?
The theory test is made up of two parts: the hazard perception test and a multiple choice test.
The multiple choice section of the theory test covers everything from road signs and rules of the road, to incidents, accidents and emergencies. There is a total of 50 questions, which you will have 57 minutes to complete. You will need to answer at least 43 questions correctly to pass this section of the test.
The hazard perception part of the test measures how well you can spot the potential dangers on the road and respond to them accordingly. A developing hazard is anything that would cause you to change direction, change speed, or stop.
The test will consist of 14 video clips filmed from the driver’s perspective. 13 of the clips will contain one hazard and one of the clips will contain two hazards. When you spot a developing hazard, you must click the mouse to show you’re aware of what you should be looking out for. Each video has a maximum score of five, and the sooner you identify the hazard, the better you will score. To pass the hazard perception part of the test you’ll need to score at least 44 of a possible 75.
Booking your theory test
There are over 160 test centers across the UK and you can find your nearest one by entering your postcode here. You’ll need your provisional license to hand when you’re booking, along with your credit or debit card. The test costs £23 for car drivers but can cost more for bus, lorry or taxi drivers. Waiting times will vary across different test centers, but the average wait time is around two weeks, so it’s a good idea to get your test booked at the start of the revision process.
There are plenty ways you can practice for your theory test. For the multiple choice section of the test, reading material is one of the best ways to learn the ropes. The DSA has a theory test handbook which is full of useful information and example questions.
You can test your reaction to developing hazards when you’re out on the road practicing with your instructor. Once your test has been booked, ask your instructor to test how well you can spot developing hazards as you drive around. If you have learner driver insurance and you’ve been practicing with a parent or friend, you can use this time to practice spotting hazards too. This is likely to be trickier than the real test, because you’ll have to focus on driving safely at the same time as calling out any hazards.
Both parts of the driving theory test can be practiced online too, with some sites offering mock examinations or apps to help you revise on the go. Take a look at sites like Safe Driving for Life to practice the multiple choice part of the test and explore Drive iQ software for a virtual experience to help with your hazard perception.
On the day
Here are some top tips to bear in mind on the day of your test:
- Don’t forget to bring your provisional licence and the card with your test details with you to the test centre.
- Make sure you leave the house early to allow yourself plenty of time to get to the test centre. It’s important that, as well as avoiding being late, you avoid any unnecessary stress that comes with being pushed for time.
- You’ll get 15 minutes to practice ahead of the test, so use this time to familiarise yourself with the software.
- If you come across a multiple choice questions you’re not sure of, you can simply flag them and return to them later in the test.
- Before the second part of your test, you’ll be offered a three minute break. Use this time to have a drink of water and gather your thoughts so that you’re ready for the hazard perception part of the test.
- Remember to try and stay relaxed. Nerves are often the biggest problem in both the theory test and the practical, so try and think of it as an opportunity to show how much you know.
Don’t forget to check out our tips on Passing Your Practical when you’ve mastered your theory, as well as the rest of our learner driver guides.
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