How To Pass The Theory Driving Test

Last Updated: 10/05/2022

Most people hate exams and that includes tests and exams that are connected with learning to drive.

As well as being very expensive, the length of time it takes to finally get that full driving licence in your hand can seem like a lifetime.

With this in mind, passing the theory test first for the first time will be your main aim.

The theory test was introduced in the UK in 1996 as a written exam and was later digitised in 2000.

In 2002, the hazard perception element was added.

So, in order to pass the first time you need to spend the required time revising.

If you follow the advice below, you will not have to re-sit your theory test.

So what is the driving theory test?

The theory test checks your understanding of the rules of the road and what you must do to be a safe driver.

The test is made up of two parts.

The first part is multiple choice questions whilst the second part is an interactive test to assess your perception of hazards.

Both of these parts are completed on a computer which the test station provides.

You must pass the theory test if you are a learner driver or if you are upgrading your existing licence to drive another type of vehicle, for example a motorbike.

You will need a provisional licence to take the test.

What You Will Learn

To help get you prepared for this test, we’ve put together this in-depth ‘how to’ guide.

By presenting the information in this format, we hope to give you all of the information and advice required to get you through your theory test at the first time of asking.

  • Step-By-Step Guide
  • Video Demonstration
  • Hints & Tips
  • Useful Information
  • Final Thoughts
  • Further Resources

Step-By-Step Guide

Multiple Choice Questions:

The first stage of the test is the multiple questions stage.

You have 57 minutes to answer the 50 multiple choice questions on the computer.

You will need to correctly answer 43 or more questions to pass this part of the examination.

Take your time in this part of the test as you are given just over a minute to answer each question.

You’re likely to feel a little nervous and rushed, so remember that time.

Take your time to read the question carefully and correctly and if you’re not sure, move on.

You can come back to any you’ve left later on and try to answer them again.

You will be asked to tick more than one box for some questions so think carefully about the answers you select before answering the next question.

Road markings, signs and rules are all in the Highway Code so learn them off by heart.

It is not something you’re instantly going to know or memorise, so it’s really important that you put the extra hours in to revise properly.

Read each question twice before you select an answer and pay attention to what the question is actually asking.

A short break will follow and then you will start the hazard perception test.

Hazard Perception Test:

For this second part of the test, you will watch 14 video clips which show typical road scenes.

At least one of these will develop a hazard.

You must watch carefully for the possibility of two developing hazards which might develop in one of the clips.

When you see a hazard developing in the video clips, you will need to click the mouse.

This means anything that would cause you to change direction, change speed or stop.

Each hazard is given a maximum score of five and if you spot hazards earlier you will gain more points.

You are required to pass 44 of a possible 75 to pass this element of the test.

Video Demonstration

Hints & Tips

Familiarise yourself with the highway code as it is from this publication that the theory test questions are taken.

It’s freely available online and can be purchased in hard, printed format.

It’s always useful to have a copy anyway.

You can also go online and have a look at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) which takes you through the test and provides you with sample questions that will help you to prepare for the test.

The DVSA also offers an online practice test for free which gives you an idea of the conditions you will be working in when you take the actual test.

Practising on the road is a great way to weigh up possible hazards to help you with your theory test.

While you are out with your instructor keep looking for potential hazards so you will recognise them on the hazard perception video clips.

Anticipation of potential hazards is also important for safe driving.

You can gain this ability by sitting alongside friends or family members when they are driving so that you can develop your ability to see what’s on the horizon so that you can take the necessary action.

It is also sensible to get a good night’s sleep the night before you take the test so that you feel relaxed and energised.

Remember to take your provisional licence and the test centre appointment details with you.

Useful Information

Don’t wait too long after passing your driving theory test to book your practical exam.

Your theory test pass certificate is only good for two years and after that time has expired you will have to re-apply if you have not yet passed your practical exam.

This could be very expensive overall.

Final Thoughts

Nerves are the learner driver’s biggest problem so whether it is the driving theory test or the driving practical test, learning how to relax is a must.

Take some deep breaths before each test and think positively.

Remember, you have more than one go at the driving theory test and the driving practical test so if you don’t manage to pass the first time, you can take the tests again!

Further Resources