The DVSA Theory Test Explained
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Before you can take your driving test, you need to pass your theory test. It’s a really important part as when you get to your practical test, you’ll need to show that you can use what you learn for this test when you’re driving on the road. The car theory test costs £23.00 and it’s vital to prepare for your theory test as there’s a lot to learn. The better prepared you are, the more likely you are to pass, which will save you the time and money. There are 2 parts to the test part 1 = the multiple choice part 2 = the hazard perception. The multiple choice test covers the following topics alertness, attitude, safety and your vehicle, safety margins, hazard awareness, vulnerable road users, other types of vehicle, road conditions and vehicle handling, motorway driving, rules of the road, road and traffic signs, essential documents, incidents, accidents and emergencies. Preparing for the hazard perception test checks you can recognise and respond to hazards that could happen while you’re driving. In the test you’ll see 19 film clips, each shown from a driver’s point of view. You’ll need to spot the developing hazard in each clip this is something that might need you, as the driver, to take some action such as changing speed.
When you’re ready to take your theory test, book your test at a local test centre using the guide below. Remember, you must pass your theory test before you can take your practical test. It’s best to book your theory test using the official site, GOV.UK. If you use an unofficial site, you might pay more than you need to or you may not get a booking at all. If you’ve used an unofficial booking website, you might have seven working days to cancel your order and get all your money back but this will depend on the terms and conditions of the website you used. If you have special needs, such as hearing or reading difficulties, or if you need the test translated into another language, you might be able to get extra help. Before you start to book your theory test you need your: UK driving licence number, email address – you have to book by phone if you don’t have one and credit or debit card. You must have lived in England, Wales or Scotland for at least 185 days in the last 12 months before the day you take your theory or driving test. If you need any help you can Contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to get help booking your theory test. There’s a different service to book your theory test in Northern Ireland.
In the multiple choice test there are 50 questions: you’ll need to get at least 43 correct to pass. You’ll have 57 minutes for this part of the test. The multiple choice questions appear on-screen and you’ll use the mouse to choose the correct answer. For some questions you’ll need to select more than one answer there’ll be a message if you don’t choose enough answers. There are also case study questions: these will show you a short, silent, video clip and answer 3 multiple-choice questions about it. If you aren’t sure about any of the questions, you can ‘flag’ them and come back to them later. When you’ve finished the multiple choice part, you can go straight on to the hazard perception part or take a three-minute break. You can watch a short video before you start the test, showing you how the test works. You’ll need to click the mouse when you see a developing hazard: the sooner you spot the hazard, the more points you’ll score. You can score up to five points for each hazard. You’ll need to score at least 44 out of 75 points. Each film shows one hazard apart from one film, which has two. If you click the mouse too much or in a pattern, you’ll be given a warning message and you’ll score no points for that clip.
You’ll be given your results shortly after you’ve finished the theory test. If you pass, you’ll be given a letter with your pass certificate number on it. Make sure you keep this safe because you’ll need the number when you book your driving test. Your theory test certificate is valid for two years. If you don’t pass your driving test in that time, you’ll have to take the theory test again before you can take the driving test. If you lose the letter, you can find a lost pass certificate number on GOV.UK. If you don’t pass the theory test, you’ll need to wait at least three working days before you can retake it.
You must take your UK photo-card driving licence to your test.
If you have a licence from Northern Ireland, bring the photo-card and paper counterpart licence.
Your test will be cancelled and you won’t get your money back if you don’t take the right things with you.
You can’t take personal items into the test room with you.
This includes things like:
You have to store any personal items in a locker. The centre staff will check if you have anything with you that could be used to cheat. Your test won’t go ahead if you don’t let them check. It’s illegal to cheat at the test. You can be sent to prison and banned from driving.
You can use books and software to revise for the theory test and take practice tests.
The multiple-choice questions in the theory test are based on 3 books:
Study these to learn the rules and skills you’ll be tested on.
You can buy them from most high street and online book shops.
You have 57 minutes to answer 50 multiple-choice questions.
Before the test starts you’ll get:
Instructions on how the test works
The chance to do some practice questions to get used to the screens
How the test works
A question and several possible answers appear on a screen. You have to select the right answer.
Some questions are given as a case study. The case study will:
Watch a short, silent, video clip and answer 3 multiple-choice questions about it.
Be about a real life situation you could come across when driving once you pass your test.
Leaving a question
You can ‘flag’ questions that you want to come back to later.
Changing your answers
You can go back to any question to review and change your answer at any point.
When you’ve finished
You can finish the multiple-choice questions part when you’ve answered all of the questions.
You don’t have to use the full 57 minutes.
You can have a break of up to 3 minutes before the hazard perception test starts.
Take a practice test
Take a practice theory test to check how much you’ve learnt.
The questions aren’t used in the real test, but they are based on the same topics as the test
To prepare for this test you can use the official guide to hazard perception.
You can buy the guide in these formats:
You can also buy it as an interactive DVD from most high street and online book shops.
Before you start the hazard perception test, you’ll be shown a video about how it works.
You’ll then watch 14 video clips. The clips:
Feature everyday road scenes
Contain at least one ‘developing hazard’ – but one of the clips features 2 developing hazards
You get points for spotting the developing hazards as soon as they start to happen.
What a ‘developing hazard’ is
A developing hazard is something that would cause you to take action, like changing speed or direction.
A car is parked at the side of the road and isn’t doing anything. It wouldn’t cause you to take action, so it’s not a developing hazard.
When you get closer, the car’s right-hand indicator starts to flash and it starts to move away. You’d need to slow down, so it’s now a developing hazard.
How the scoring works
You can score up to 5 points for each developing hazard.
To get a high score, click the mouse as soon as you see the hazard starting to develop.
You don’t lose points if you click and get it wrong. However, you won’t score anything if you click continuously or in a pattern.
You only get one attempt at each clip. You can’t review or change your responses.
The theory test is changing to use video clips instead of written case studies
Currently, you have to read a case study and then answer 5 questions about it.
This tests your knowledge and understanding of road rules.
You’ll watch one video clip instead of reading a case study, and answer 3 questions about it.
How using a video clip will work
You’ll watch a short, silent, video clip and answer 3 multiple-choice questions about it.
You can watch the video clip as many times as you like during the multiple-choice part of the theory test.
Example you can watch the video, answer a question, and then watch the video again before you answer the next question.
What the video clip will look like
The video clip will show a situation, such as driving through a town centre, or driving on a country road.
The type of questions you’ll answer about the video clip
You’ll answer questions like these:
Why are motorcyclists considered vulnerable road users?
Why should the driver, on the side road, look out for motorcyclists at junctions?
In this clip, who can cross the chevrons to overtake other vehicles, when it’s safe to do so?
For each of the 3 questions, you’ll have to choose the correct answer from 4 possible answers.
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