Theory Test FAQs
Frequently asked questions for the 2014 Theory Test
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Do I need to take a Theory Test?
Who sets the Theory Test?
Where do I sit my Theory Test?
What documents do I need to take with me on my Theory Test?
I only have an old-style driving licence, what should I do?
Will the DSA send me a letter to confirm my Theory Test booking?
What happens if I arrive late at the Theory Test centre?
How much does the Theory Test for Car Drivers cost?
How is the Theory Test structured?
How many questions are in the Theory Test?
What is the pass mark in the multiple choice part of the Theory Test?
How long does the multiple choice part of the Theory Test take?
What sort of questions will I be asked?
How difficult is the Theory Test?
Why do people fail their Theory Test?
Where can I take a mock Theory Test?
How long is the Theory Test certificate valid for?
I have failed my Theory Test when can I re-book?
I’ve lost part of my provisional driving licence (photo card or paper) – what should I do?
Can I get Driving Test Success in another language other than English?
I’ve lost my Theory Test certificate, what should I do?
I haven’t received a letter confirming my Theory Test booking?
You can’t take your Practical Driving Test until you’ve passed your Theory Test.
You will also need to take a Theory Test if you want a licence for a new category of vehicle. For example, if you have a car licence and you want a motorcycle licence then you will need to take a Theory Test.
The Theory Test is set by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), a government body responsible for driver education. You shouldn’t confuse this with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which is responsible for the issuing of drivers’ licences and your Provisional Driving Licence.
You will sit your test in a designated DSA Theory Test Centre. To find your local test centre, click here.
You’ll need to show both parts of your valid Provisional Driving Licence (the photocard and the paper counterpart).
You’ll be expected to show both parts of your valid driving licence at the test centre. If you have an old-style licence without a photo you must also bring a valid passport. If you don’t show the required documents you won’t be allowed to test and you’ll lose your fee.
An old-style licence consists of one paper document which does not display your photograph. If you have an old-style paper licence you must also bring a valid passport with you – no other form of photographic identification will be accepted.
If you have booked your Theory Test online you will be responsible for printing your own receipt, but you will receive a confirmation email too. If you booked your Theory Test over the phone or by post you should receive a letter of confirmation in the mail.
Before your test, you are given a 15 minute window of time to arrive at the test centre. So long as you arrive during this allocated time period you will be allowed to take the test.
If you do arrive late you WILL NOT be allowed into the exam room as this will distract the other candidates and you will lose your fee.
It’ll cost you £31, so it’s definitely worth taking seriously and making sure you pass first time.
There are two parts. You’ll sit both parts on the same day.
First up is the multiple choice test. This is made up of questions based on the rules of the road, as set by the DSA. Each question will have one or more possible answers for you to select using a computer touch-screen.
Some car multiple choice questions will be displayed as a case study. The case study will show a scenario that five questions will be based on. The subject of the scenario focuses on real life examples and experiences that drivers could come across when driving.
You can navigate between questions and “flag” questions that you want to come back to later in the test. After the multiple choice part you can choose to have a break of up to three minutes before the hazard perception part starts.
The second part of the Theory Test is called the Hazard Perception Test, which is covered in more detail below. Basically it’s an interactive video test where you have to scan different road settings from a driver’s view point and identify hazards as soon as they develop.
You will have to answer 50 questions in the multiple choice part of the Theory Test for Car Drivers.
To pass, you’ll need to answer 43 questions or more correctly. Or put another way, that’s 86%.
You will be given 57 minutes to answer all the questions. That averages out to 68.4 seconds per question, in case you’re wondering!
You’ll be asked questions taken from the 15 official question categories set by the DSA. These are; Accidents, Alertness, Attitude, Documents, Hazard Awareness, Motorway Rules, Other Types of Vehicle, Road and Traffic Signs, Rules of the Road, Safety and Your Vehicle, Safety Margins, Vehicle Handling, Vehicle Loading and Vulnerable Road Users.
In total there are more than 900 Theory Test questions for car drivers that you could be asked, so it’s wise to get in as much practise as you possibly can.
This is a tricky question to answer, as it depends on how much you practise beforehand, but on average around one in three people will fail their Theory Test.
It also depends on the quality of your learning materials, especially when it comes to the Hazard Perception part of the test. Forming the second part of the Theory Test, the Hazard Perception Test is considered by many to be more difficult than the multiple choice because there is no way of previewing the video clips before your test. Find out more information about the Hazard Perception Test.
Many people put their failure down to “bad luck”, but in reality it’s down to poor preparation. If you don’t practise every Theory Test question thoroughly, or you fail to grasp the concept of the Hazard Perception Test, then failure is a very real risk.
Take a look at Driving Test Success Online and make sure that you achieve a first time pass.
To prepare for both parts of the theory test the DSA recommends that all candidates, regardless of driving experience, should use learning materials.
If you’re serious about passing your Theory Test and don’t want to throw away your test fee, it’s essential that you complete as many mock tests until you reach a high enough standard to pass. Driving Test Success Online contains ALL the official DSA questions and answers so you can practise as many mock tests as you want. You will also find a detailed progress monitor that will keep a track of your score so you can be sure you’re ready for the big day.
Remember, failure to study all the questions and answers could lead to failure of the test – so it’s vital that you get enough practice.
Your Theory Test certificate is valid for 2 years from the date of issue.
You will need to wait at least three clear working days before you are able to re-book your Theory Test. Re-book online now
If you have lost either part of your provisional driving licence you will need to replace this BEFORE you can apply for or sit your Theory or Practical Driving Test. You can apply online for a replacement through the DVLA’s secure online booking service.
Alternately, you can contact the DVLA direct on 0300 790 6801 if you need to replace one or both parts of your provisional driving licence, so long as none of your details have changed. You won’t be able to apply by phone if you are a paper licence holder or if your photo is due to expire or has expired.
In both cases there will be a fee of £20.00 which can be paid using a credit or debit card.
Apply by post
If you’d prefer to apply for a replacement licence through the post you will need to:
• fill in the D1 ‘application for a driving licence’, available from the DVLA form ordering service or Post Office® branches
• include the part of your licence you have if only one part is missing
• send your application and fee to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AB
You’ll also need to provide original documents to confirm your new name if it’s changed since your last licence was issued.
At present we only produce our Driving Test Success products in the English language, but watch this space for future developments!
You will need to contact the DSA if you have lost your Theory Test certificate. They will not be able to issue a replacement certificate but they will send you a letter containing your certificate number.
You can contact the DSA on 0300 200 1122. Make sure you have your name and driving licence number handy as you’ll need these when calling.
In December 2011, the DSA changed the way candidates receive confirmation of their Theory Test booking. Confirmation letters are no longer sent out via the post, but you should receive a confirmation by email instead. By making the change the DSA have increased their efficiency in the booking process, meaning that you should get your confirmation more quickly.
If you book over the phone and don’t have email you will still receive a letter through the post as confirmation. You will not need to take your email or letter with you on the day of your test, just your licence.