The theory test is, in effect, part one of your driving test. You can’t take the second part (the practical driving test) without passing your theory test first.
Given the importance of the theory test, it’s surprising how many people do very little practice before they take it. And how surprised they are when they find out they’ve failed!
But the theory test is like any other test. First, you have to understand what’s is required of you and then you have to prepare.
How to book your theory test
Don’t get scammed! Only book your theory test through the official .gov.uk website:
What the theory test involves
There are two parts to the current Theory Test:
1. Fifty multiple-choice questions and you need 43 correct answers to pass.
2. 14 x 1-minute CGI generated videos that contain developing hazards. You need to score 44 points out of a possible 75 to pass.
How to prepare for your theory test
Many people practice by using a app they get for free or almost free. Some of the these are ok but you’ve got to remember that with these apps (as with just about everything else in life) you get what you pay for! Did you know there are over a thousand different questions that the 50 you answer on the day of your test are pulled from? A free (or cheap) app is not going to have all of these. And you may not know that the questions change occasionally. Again, free or cheap apps won’t be updated as regularly as the best ones.
1. Which is the best theory test app?
In my opinion, the best designed and most up to date theory test app on the market is Theory Test Pro. I offer the full version to all my pupils free of charge and I’m happy to say most of them pass their theory test first time. You can get the free app for your phone then, if you like it, pay for the full version. Or you could learn to drive with me and get it for nothing!
2. How to practice
a) The questions
You could spend some time going through the fourteen categories of questions (they range from accidents to vulnerable road users) or do what I did and dive straight in and do sets of fifty random questions. But however you do it, it’s no good just getting a question wrong and skipping straight to the next one. If you don’t want to make the same mistake again, WRITE DOWN the question you got wrong and the answer. Do that every time you get a question wrong and it won’t be long before you aren’t writing down anything. You’ll be getting all the questions right!
b) Hazard Perception
To pass this part of the test you have to identify developing hazards in fourteen CGI clips as quickly as possible. If you click your mouse as soon as the hazard becomes visible you get five points. A millisecond late and you’ll only get four points. If you only click when it becomes a real hazard you get one or zero. To pass you’ll need to score an average of four points per clip so you have to be quick! But first you need to know what to look for – what they define as a developing hazard. This is from the DVSA website:
A developing hazard is something that would cause you to take action, like changing speed or direction.
Example. A car is parked at the side of the road and isn’t doing anything. It wouldn’t cause you to take action, so it’s not a developing hazard.
When you get closer, the car’s right-hand indicator starts to flash and it starts to move away. You’d need to slow down, so it’s now a developing hazard.
Consider how often you should click when you see the hazard developing. A single click may not be enough – you might have clicked too soon and score zero. So clicking twice in quick succession might be a safer option. But be careful not to click in a repeated pattern. If you do, you run the risk of being disqualified for that clip and score zero. Take a practice test and see for yourself. And remember – one clip has two hazards so concentrate right to the end of each one minute clip.
What to take to your theory test
You must take your UK photocard driving licence to your test. If you only have a paper driving licence you must take a valid passport too. If you don’t have a passport you must take a photocard licence.
Warning! Your test will be cancelled and you won’t get your money back if you don’t take the right things with you.
What happens at the test centre
You can’t take personal items into the test room with you. This includes things like:
- mobile phones
You have to store any personal items in a locker.
The test centre staff will check if you have anything with you that could be used to cheat. Your test won’t go ahead if you don’t let them check.
Don’t be tempted to try to cheat. It’s illegal. You can be sent to prison and banned from driving if you do.
If you have a disability or learning difficulty
When you book your theory test you should say if you have a:
- reading difficulty;
- health condition.
If you have reading difficulties
You can ask to hear the test through headphones when you book your test. You can hear it in English or Welsh.
You can listen to the questions and possible answers as many times as you need to.
Other types of support
You can get other support during your theory test if you send proof that you have reading difficulties.
This can be an email, letter or report from:
- a teacher or other educational professional
- a doctor or medical professional
You can get:
- extra time to take the test
- someone to read what’s on the screen and record your answers
- someone to reword the questions for you
Tips – hazard perception
- Remember that a developing hazard is something that may result in you having to take some action, such as changing speed or direction.
- To get a high score in the hazard perception section you need to respond to the developing hazard as soon as you see it starting.
- When you see a hazard you can click more than once (especially if the video is in a town) but If you click continuously (or in a pattern) during a clip a message will appear at the end. It will tell you that you have scored zero for that particular clip.
- Theory Test Pro – take a free theory test and practice for the real thing!
- The Official DVSA Highway Code
- Know your traffic signs (Driving Skills)
- The official DVSA guide to driving: the essential skills
- How to book your theory test
- How to change the date of your theory test after you’ve booked it.
- How to check your appointment details
- How to rebook your theory test if you fail the first time.