To effectively learn to drive, you need to have a good understanding of the rules of the road and it is important to have a firm grasp of how to behave in different traffic situations. Whether you are driving on the motorway or navigating a large roundabout, there are specific laws governing every traffic situation and you need a good understanding of each to ensure you to drive safely without endangering other road users. The Highway Code details all the specific rules of the road and before you are able to take a driving test, all learner drivers must read the handbook and answer a number of questions from it.
In order to ensure that all learner drivers are aware of the rules and regulations governing the road, each individual is required to take and pass the driving theory test, before being allowed to take their practical driving test. The theory test is made up of questions from the Highway Code and a hazard perception clip used to test your response to potential hazards you could encounter while driving. The examination tests your theoretical knowledge of the road and it is designed to help you remain safe throughout the duration of your time behind the wheel.
Once you have your provisional driving license you are permitted to book your theory test. Many learner drivers assume you need to take driving lessons before being able to take your theory however this is incorrect. You can can take a mock theory test at any point and as long as you have your provisional driver’s license, you can go ahead and book a date to take your theory.
You will need to book another theory test if you intend on adding an additional class of vehicle to your driver’s license. If for example you have already passed the car practical driving test, but would like to gain a motorcycle driver’s license, you will need to take and pass the motorcycle theory test before proceeding. If you are adding a different class of vehicle you will need to take the relevant theory test, while if you are adding another vehicle type within the same category, for example moving from a manual to an automatic car, you do not need to take another theory test.
It’s relatively easy to book your driving theory test. The government has a dedicated web portal to help you book your test and before you make your booking, ensure you have your driver license number to hand, email address and a valid credit or debit card. To get started click here. For information on how to book your test, read our guide to booking your theory test.
There are a few things you are required to bring with you on the day of your test and these include;
A valid signed GB or Northern Ireland driving license with photocard
Your old style valid signed GB (or Northern Ireland) paper driving licence and valid passport;
If you fail to bring any of the above, or you arrive late for your appointment, you run the risk of missing out on taking the test and losing your test fee altogether.
It is recommended you arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of your test to allow you enough time to get settled in before you begin. Once you arrive at the test centre you will be given a set of instructions to read informing you of what you can and can not do during the duration of the test. After reading the instructions, you will be give a key to a locker where you will be able to place your belongings. The following items are not allowed in the examination room;
Once you have placed your belongings in a secure locker, you will be called over to the examination room where you will need to show photo I.D and then you will be assigned a computer for you to take the test
At your assigned cubicle you will find a desktop PC and a set of headphones. Before your actual test begins you have the option of taking a set of practice questions to help you get used to the format and it is advisable for you to go through the practice questions even if you have taken a test in the past.
The test is made up of two sections. The first section is made up of 50 multiple choice questions, of which you need to answer 43 correctly to pass. The second section is a hazard perception test, it’s made up of 14 clips, there is at least one hazard per clip, while one clip has two hazards. You can score up to 5 marks per clip, there are a total of 75 marks available and to pass this section of the test, you need to score at least 44 points. You need to pass both sections to pass your theory test and if you pass one but fail the other, you will have to take the entire test again.
You have 57 minutes to answer the 50 questions in the multiple choice section. You should aim to answer a question per minute, as this will give you time to review your answers and go back to any questions you may have flagged during the course of the test.
Once you have completed both parts of the examination, quietly leave the test area, collect your belongings from the locker and approach the front desk. Once there present your photo ID to the attendant and they will print your results off for you. At this point you will be given a results slip where you will find out whether you passed or failed. This slip contains a breakdown of your performance, detailing how many questions you answered correctly and which individual sections you either passed or failed.
If you answer enough questions correctly to pass your theory test, you will be given a certificate which you will need when booking your driving test and if you are unsuccessful, you have the option of rebooking another test, however you will need to wait three working days before doing so. If you fail your test, it’s important to spend time revising the particular areas you struggled with before booking another test, to ensure you give yourself the best chance of passing.
Your theory test lasts for up to two years after the point at which you initially passed. During this period you will need to book, take and pass your driving test, or your theory will expire, forcing you to retake the test taking a practical driving test.