How to pass the theory test

Car theory test – top tips to help you pass

Essential reading and other resources

Top tips

Make sure you flag any difficult theory questions and revisit them at the end.

Carefully read each Theory Test question and answer choices, and then read the question again to ensure you answer correctly! You get 57 minutes to complete the multiple choice section so you can afford to take your time.

After your first few practices, try to complete these mocks in test conditions: that means no peeking at the test resources and a time limit – 15 minutes for the hazard perception test and 57 minutes for the multiple choice section.

Practice theory while you’re driving.

Try not to think of the two sections of the theory tests as separate from the act of driving itself: they’ve been designed to be a part of your journey from novice learner to proficient driver. It’s often a good idea to have a quick glance at a section or two of your theory test practice materials before each driving lesson so they’re fresh in your head. You should also ask your instructor to talk through any areas you’re having difficulty with.

Have a routine - set aside 30-45 minutes every day to practice.

Do a presentation

If you spend a lot of time reading in preparation for your test your brain can become tired, causing you to forget things you’ve learned. We generally remember 10% of what we read, but an impressive 70% of what we say.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to write out questions and answers and present them to a friend or family member. Present them as if you were in a meeting and you’re the expert on the rules of the road. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to remember the facts. It doesn't need to be boring notes either, have some fun - make a power point! The more you enjoy it, the more you'll remember.

Ask a friend to test you

Much the same as doing a presentation to showcase how well you know the rules of the road, asking a friend or family member to ask you questions is another good method of learning and will help to keep your mind fresh. It doesn't have to be a 'sit down and quiz me' thing either. Getting a random theory test question thrown your way every now and then will keep your brain active and help you learn.

Not sure?

If there are seemingly two right answers and it’s not clear which to plump for consider which would be the safest option to choose. More often than not that will be the right one.

How to remember overall stopping distances

Many people are caught out in their test by thinking that braking distance is the same as overall stopping distance. It’s a good idea to have this clear in your mind before taking the theory test.

The thinking distance is the distance travelled in between the driver realising that he or she needs to brake and actually braking. During this time the car carries on moving.

The braking distance is the distance taken to stop once the brakes are applied.

Starting from 20mph you simply multiply the speed by intervals of 0.5, beginning with 2, for example, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 etc., as follows:

  • 20 mph x 2 = 40 feet ((12 meters) or 3 car lengths)
  • 30 mph x 2.5 = 75 feet ((23 meters) or 6 car lengths)
  • 40 mph x 3 = 120 feet ((36.5 meters) or 9 car lengths)
  • 50 mph x 3.5 = 175 feet ((53 meters) or 13 car lengths)
  • 60 mph x 4 = 240 feet ((73 meters) or 18 car lengths)
  • 70 mph x 4.5 = 315 feet ((96 meters) or 24 car lengths)