FAQ: Driving Theory Test

Everyone who has passed their practical driving test knows how important the theory test is, but this may not be the case if you’re new to the test. For one, you can’t take the practical test if you haven’t passed your theory – so, it’s important that you get it right and pass as soon as you can.

Put together by the instructor agency Pass ‘N’ Go, this FAQ will give you all of the information you need to pass the theory test. With this helping hand, as well as providing practical driving lessons in Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Durham and Sunderland, there’s no doubt that you’ll pass faster than you think.

When it comes to booking the theory test

What is the cost?

Whether you want to book your theory test on a weekday, weekend or bank holiday, your theory test will cost £23 if you want to learn how to drive a car. However, certified Safe Road User certificate holders can take the abridged theory test. This test only costs £18.

Could I book more than one theory test?

You can’t. If you fail the first time, then you’ll have to rebook your theory test. If you’re booking a re-sit, then this should always be booked for at least three days after the last test that you failed.

Rather than cancel the test, you can also change the date of your theory test appointment. This can be done if:

  • You want to take your test at an earlier date.
  • You’d like to move the test to a later date.
  • You want to change the location where you’ll take the test.

Can I take the test online?

No, it has to be at a theory test centre.

If you need to practice, you can take a free mock test on the multiple choice portion of the test at GOV.UK. This consists of 50 questions, which is the same amount as the actual test.

Use The Official DVSA Guide to Hazard Perception DVD-ROM if you’d like extra help with the test, which is available for PC and Mac.

Is it free?

The only test that is free is the test on the government’s website.

What theory test will I take?

Typically, most drivers will take the standard test priced at £23; however, you may also be able to take the abridged test priced at £18 depending on whether you hold a Safe Road User certificate.

In these circumstances, you’ll not need to take the theory test:

  • You’re upgrading your driving license and taking another practical test.
  • You’re booking a practical motorcycle driving test to upgrade a license you’ve held for 2 years or more.
  • You’re upgrading a bus or lorry license.
  • Booking a taxi driving test.
  • Looking to book a tractor driving test.

How old do I need to be to take the test?

You have to be 17 or over to take the test.

You can take the test at the age of 16 if you receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Is the waiting list long?

This report by Book Theory Test Today suggests that the DVSA provides candidates with a confirmed booking date within the first two weeks after applying for the test.

Theory test centres

How can I find my nearest test centre?

Check the GOV.UK’s simple postcode search service to find your nearest test centre.

Are the centres open on bank holidays and weekends?

If you book your test on these days, you’ll be told in advance whether they’re open.  

Sitting a theory test

Do the questions on the theory test ever change?

All questions are based on the following three books; however, questions will change from test to test:

  1. The Highway Code by the Department for Transport
  2. Know Your Traffic Signs by the Department for Transport
  3. The Official DVSA Guide to Driving — The Essential Skills by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

So how does the test work?

The test consists of two aspects:

  • 50 multiple-choice questions; some of these questions will be presented in a case study whereby:
  • A short story is shown and five questions will be given based on this.
  • A real-life situation that you could come across while driving will be detailed.
  • A hazard perception test consisting of 14 separate video clips.

In order to pass the whole test, both parts need to be passed; on the multiple choice you need to score 44 out of 50, and 44 out of 75 on the hazard perception test.

How long does the test take?

To answer 50 multiple-choice questions, you’ll have 57 minutes. If you have reading or learning difficulties, you can apply for extra time. However, this information needs to be validated by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency in the form of either:

  • A doctor or medical professional.
  • An independent party who is aware of your reading difficulty — your employer, for example.
  • A teacher or other educational professional.

This proof should be sent to one of the following two locations:

  1. DVSA theory test enquiries, via the email address [email protected].
  2. By post using the address: DVSA Theory Test Enquiries, PO Box 1286, Warrington, WA1 9GN.

If you would like to, you can take a three-minute break between the multiple-choice and hazard perception parts of the test. However, there is no time limit on the hazard perception part of the test.

If you’re taking the abridged version of the test, then you’ll only need to answer 35 of the 50 questions on the multiple-choice paper.

To book an ‘abridged theory test’, contact the DVSA theory test booking support team via the phone number 0300 200 11 22 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday. Make sure that you’ll be able to provide the following information:

  • A credit or debit card.
  • Your provisional UK driving licence number.
  • Your Safe Road User Award certificate number.

Does the test include aspects of the Highway Code?

Yes, as it is based on the following three books:

  1. The Highway Code by the Department for Transport
  2. Know Your Traffic Signs by the Department for Transport
  3. The Official DVSA Guide to Driving — The Essential Skills by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

Are the test questions multiple-choice?

Yes, and you’ll need to select your own answer from a series of options.

The hazard perception part of the theory test

What is a hazard perception test?

This part of the test examines your ability to spot potential hazards on the road through a series of 14 clips.

The videos consist of the following:

  • Everyday road scenes.
  • A ‘developing hazard’. This is something that would cause the driver to react, such as changing their speed or direction, with one clip featuring two developing hazards.

You’ll receive points if you’re able to spot hazards on the road as soon as they appear.

What is the hazard perception pass score?

44 out of 75.

How does the scoring system work for this part of the test?

For every developing hazard you see on the screen, you’ll be awarded five points.

You’ll never be deducted points on this part of the test. You may, however, be penalized if you are considered to be cheating; this will occur if you try to preempt a hazard by continually clicking the mouse.

How long does this part of the test take?

You are not required to complete the hazard perception in a set amount of time.

How much does this part of the test cost?

There is no additional cost during this part of the test.

After you’ve passed the theory test

Does my certificate expire?

Your certificate number will expire after two years. If you’re unable to produce this number within two years, then you’ll need to take the theory test again.

Where am I able to find my pass certificate number?

This will be on the letter you receive after passing the test.

What is Theory Test Pro?

This is an online simulation based on the real test that you’ll take; all questions are licensed by the DVSA, and this includes a reliable version of the hazard perception part of the test. It is estimated that learners who took this mock test, rather than those who didn’t, were more likely to pass the real thing first time. In order to find out more and get onto this system for free, click here.


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