So, you’ve decided to take the first step in getting behind the wheel and do your driver theory test! It may seem quite daunting and something you keep putting on the long finger. But once you’ve passed the driver theory test you can finally begin your driving journey. Trust us, it’s worth it!
We’ve put together a handy guide to help you prepare for your upcoming driver theory test.
Studying for the driver theory test
The driver theory test examines your knowledge of road safety and motoring legislation. All of the questions asked in the test are taken from the Rules of the Road.
You can read the Rules of the Road online or buy the book or borrow it from your local library.
One of the best ways to study for your driver theory test is to buy, or borrow, the Official Driver Theory Test book. You can also get a Theory Test book with a CD which comes with practice tests. These simulate the real exam experience and give you a better idea of what to expect on the day of the test. There’s also an online learning portal as well as an official learning app available for Android and iOS devices.
It is important that you study the official revision material and the most up to date version. For more information, visit the Theory Test Revision Material website.
You can of course sit the driver theory test without studying, but as there is a fee to take the test, it is probably a good idea to look over them. If you fail, you have to pay the fee in full again to do a retest. Ouch!
Booking the driver theory test
Feeling confident in your study skills and knowledge? Then, it is time to book the driver theory test.
If you want to book a test at a test centre, you can do so online, on the phone or by post using the contact details on the Theory Test website.
The online booking system is easy to use. You choose your test category (car, bike, etc.), your preferred test centre and test time and date. There are 40 test centres around the country, so you can pick the one that is most convenient for you or pick the one that has the next available test date.
Whilst waiting for the test day, keep revising the official study materials.
On the day of the test, you have to show your ID and then you will be shown to your workstation. The test is taken on a computer and an official will explain the procedures and how the test works. Don’t worry if you are a little nervous, you can do a practice session to familiarise yourself with how the test and the computer works.
The number of questions and how long your test lasts depends on the Driver Theory Test category e.g. motorbike, car, etc.
You find out your test results a few minutes after you finish your test. These tell you if you have passed or failed.
The driver theory test is now available for online testing, which allows you to take the test from the comfort of your own home. This is in pilot phase at the moment so there is limited availability. Extra capacity will be added as it is rolled out to allow more customers to sit their theory test online.
If you decide you do want to take your driver theory test online, there is of course a security process you will have to go through before you start the test to ensure you are not at an unfair advantage to others.
Before the online test begins, you are required to:
- Show your ID as listed in the form at the bottom of this page.
- Show your eligibility as listed on the booking page if applicable (eg B licence for Category C Theory Test takers).
- Show your workstation and surrounding area.
- Raise your trouser legs above your ankles, empty and turn all pockets inside-out and raise shirt sleeves above your wrists prior to every entry into the online test. If you are wearing eyeglasses you will be required to remove them for visual inspection to ensure they don’t contain a recording device.
- Remove large jewellery items from your person prior to and throughout the duration of the exam.
- Pull your hair back to ensure nothing is attached to your ear that could provide an unfair advantage – i.e. a Bluetooth earpiece.
You can only book for the online driver theory test on their website here. Make sure to book in as soon as possible as it’s on a first come, first served basis!
What happens if you fail the driver theory test?
If you fail the driver theory test (you won't, think positive), you can re-sit it once three working days have passed. There is no limit to how many times you can sit the theory test.
What happens when you pass the driver theory test?
Firstly, well done! You did great. When you pass, you receive your Theory Test Certificate. This is valid for two years from the date of your test.
You must apply for your Learner Permit before the two years are up. If you miss this deadline, you will have to pay for and sit the theory test again, and you really don't want to redo all of that!
Once your learner permit arrives you are ready (in theory at least) to take the next steps to get your driver's licence.
This guidance is for general information purposes only.