Ask Zephyr: Why Do I Keep Failing The Theory Test?

Ask Zephyr cat microscope

January is a month often dedicated to setting new goals and striving for some form of self-improvement. We figured it was the perfect time, then, to introduce the first article in 2020 of our Ask Zephyr series!

You may be wondering what Zephyr’s New Years resolutions are—and you’re not alone! Frustratingly, he’s a kitty that likes to keep his cards quite close to his fuzzy little chest. If we had it our way, mind you, his resolutions would be to stop using the office couch as a scratching post and to stick to his own water bowl. You can’t always get what you want, though! Unless you ask Zephyr for advice, that is, in which case he’s all (curly) ears.

This week in the spotlight: a reader who has more than one failed theory test behind them and just can’t seem to get it right. Let’s see what pearls of wisdom Zephyr has to offer up on the subject…

*Note: Zephyr’s opinions are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of PassMeFast. His advice is bang on, though.

Dear Zephyr,
I’m desperate to start driving and earn my licence, but I’m still stuck at the theory stage! I’ve failed two tests already and just can’t seem to get the hang of it. Is it normal to find it this hard? How can I make sure my next test is a success?
— Too-thick-for-the-theory, Portsmouth.


First of all, please don’t refer to yourself as thick. Since working at PassMeFast [Editor’s note: Zephyr is NOT on the payroll and has no input in designing or booking courses for our students], one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that the theory test is a lot harder than many people think. So, quit with the negative self-talk—it’s bad for your confidence and won’t get you any closer to passing that test. Sure, I spend a big part of my day staring at people with judgement-filled eyes, but I’d never go as far as to call someone stupid! To sum up: yes, plenty of people find the theory test quite hard.

Zephyr the cat sitting in drawer
Now where did I leave those revision notes…?

The good news is that it really doesn’t have to be. All the theory test requires is a bit of patience and hard work. Some questions are fairly straightforward, while others require a detailed knowledge of the Highway Code. On test day you’ll get a mix of both, so make sure you’ve studied all the relevant material. Of course, along with the multiple choice questions, there’s the hazard perception test to contend with. This can take a bit of getting used to, so I really recommend that you do quite a few practice runs before heading to your test. You can find free practice tests online.

The best advice I can give is to treat the theory test like any other exam. You can’t just swan in without any prep and assume it’s going to go well. That’s just a waste of your time and money. The more work you put in beforehand, the less chance there is that you’ll have to take the test multiple times. Please note that if you have any health conditions or learning difficulties that could impact your performance on the theory test, the DVSA can offer additional help.

To really boost your chances of passing, I’d go for a two-pronged approach of investing in some theory test revision aids and calming any test day nerves. Aside from that, believe in your abilities and try to go into the test centre confident that you can come out with a pass! I wish you the best of luck!

Zephyr’s top tips: Passing the theory test

traffic lights on top of books

  • Take the time to understand the format of the theory test and what is expected of you.
  • Revise, revise, revise!
  • Keep taking mock tests until you can get a pass mark every time.
  • If you’ve failed the test before, revise the areas you lost points on and take comfort from the fact that you know exactly what to expect on test day.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before your test and make sure you show up to the test centre on time with everything you need.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go to plan. Dust yourself off, give it another go and believe in yourself!

And there you have it! Approach the theory test just like any other exam and you should be able to earn that pass mark. If you’d like to read more advice from our resident cat-shaped agony aunt, check out his opinions on driving around cyclists and being the designated driver. You can also catch some snaps of him in his natural habitat over on Insta @ZephyrCurl (though he hasn’t had the energy to update it since he quit the catnip…).

Until next time, good luck and happy driving!

Got a driving-related query that requires some whiskered wisdom? Leave it in the comment section below and Zephyr may answer it in a future post!

By Zephyr the cat

Zephyr is the PassMeFast office cat—cute as a button and wise beyond his years. Curiosity certainly didn’t harm this feline, it just made him a fountain of driving knowledge! When not dishing out sterling automobile advice, you’ll find him taking a well-earned nap or chasing balls of tin foil.

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