Before you take your practical driving test, you have to pass the theory test.
And the knowledge you build through your theory study must be applied and demonstrated during your practical test – and maintained throughout your driving life.
How the theory test works
There are two parts to the theory test:
- Part one – a series of multiple choice questions.
- Part two – a hazard perception test.
Part one – multiple-choice questions
The 50 multiple-choice questions test your knowledge of the official Highway Code and official DVSA guidance on driving skills.
To pass, you need to answer at least 43 of those questions correctly, within 57 minutes.
You can skip questions and come back to them later. You can also review and change your answers at any point within the allotted time.
Part two – hazard perception test
The second part of the theory test is a 20-minute section that checks your ability to scan the road in real-time and respond accordingly.
Before you begin, you'll be shown a short explanatory video. You'll then watch 14 video clips of everyday road scenes.
Each video scene has at least one 'developing hazard' – something that would cause you to take action, like changing speed or direction. One video clip will contain two hazards.
You score points for spotting hazards as soon as they develop. For each hazard, you can score up to 5 points. The sooner you spot the hazard, the higher your score.
Be careful though. You automatically score zero if you continuously click the screen in attempt to blindly 'find' the hazard. Also, unlike part one of the test, you only get one attempt at each clip – and you can't go back to review and change your responses.
The pass mark for this section is 44 (out of 75) points.
Top test tips
- Don't take it before you're ready – ask your instructor when you should apply.
- Don't just rely on your lessons to pick up knowledge – put aside time to study relevant resources (covered below).
- Leave time at the end of the part one test to check your answers – you may have hit the wrong choice by accident.
- Bring the right documentation on the day – else it's a common reason for failing.
What happens if you pass
You'll get your pass certificate, which lasts two years – meaning you have a two-year period in which to take and pass your practical test. If you don't do it in this time you'll have to take the theory and hazard tests again.
And don't worry if you fail – it's not the end of the world. Study some more, then take the test again.