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Taking Your Theory Test

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 17 Feb 2015 | comments*Discuss
Theory Test Driving Highway Code

The driving theory test is your first step towards gaining your full UK driving licence. The test itself is not complicated but you need to make sure that you have studied the Highway Code carefully, and that you know what to expect from the test itself on the day. This article will provide you with everything you need to know to get your Driving Theory Pass Certificate.

What You Need to Know

In order to prepare for your theory test the Driving Standards Agency suggests that you study the contents of the Highway Code. You should also visit their website to check their recommendations for knowing your traffic signs and also driving skills for the hazard perception test. Most people who take the time to study the Highway Code find that the theory test is not difficult. Overconfidence, lack of revision or simply failing to understand the questions correctly are the most common reasons for failing the theory test.

The Structure of the Theory Test

The driving theory test is made up of two distinct parts; the multiple choice questions and the hazard perception test. In order to pass your theory test you’ll need to be successful in both.

The questions you will be expected to answer during the multiple choice test will depend on the category of vehicle you are planning on obtaining a full licence for. For example, the questions you answer to obtain a motorcycle licence will be different to those you can expect to be asked when applying for a car licence. The hazard perception test, however, is the same for all applicants.

The Multiple Choice Test

The multiple choice theory test is designed to be as straightforward as possible for candidates. The questions are delivered on a touch screen computer and you are allowed to take a practice session before you start the test proper. Once the practice session is over you will be told that the real test has begun.

The test has a time limit of 57 minutes and you will be given an onscreen question as well as a selection of possible answers. You should be aware that some questions may well require more than one answer, but you will be told of this with each relevant question.

You do not have to answer all questions in order and you are able to move between questions freely. You can also ‘flag’ the questions that you are unsure of and come back to them later in the test. With a multiple choice test you should always ensure every question. Even if you don’t know the answer you can make a guess that could turn out to be correct.

After you have completed the multiple choice test you are entitled to a three minute break before the beginning of the hazard perception test.

The Hazard Perception Test

After the break you will begin the hazard perception test by watching a short video, explaining how the test works. The hazard perception test differs from the multiple choice test because instead of touching the screen your answers are gathered by clicking the mouse.

The test itself consists of a number of video clips of every day road scenarios. In each clip you watch there will be at least one potential hazard, and frequently more than one. In order to achieve the highest possible test score you will be expected to respond to the potential hazards as early as you can, up to a maximum score of five for each clip.

Unlike the multiple choice test you will not be able to go back to previous clips or flag ones you found difficult. Your first reaction will be the only one scored.

At the End of the Test

Once you have reached the end of the hazard perception test your theory test will be complete, although before you get your results you will be asked to answer a number of test participant survey questions. These are confidential and do not count in any way towards your theory result. It is therefore well worth answering the questions if you felt there was something you found confusing or misleading during the test itself.

Once you have left the room you will be given your test result by the test centre staff, and if you have passed, you will be given your theory test past certificate. Congratulations!

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