Breaking News: Changes to the Theory Test

Breaking news from the DVSA! The theory test will soon be undergoing a much-needed makeover. The standard written case study at the end of the multiple-choice section will be dropped in favour of a video clip scenario. Don’t start panicking just yet—the rest of the theory test will remain very much the same.

Let’s take a closer look at these theory test changes, shall we?

What will be different?

In the current theory test, learner drivers are asked to read a case study towards the end of the multiple-choice section. They are then required to answer 5 multiple-choice questions about the scenario. The intention of this is to get learners to apply their knowledge of road rules and safety to real-life situations.

From September 28th, however, learners will instead have to watch one video clip and answer 3 questions about it. The video won’t last long and it will be silent. You’ll be allowed to watch the video clip as many times as you need.

What will it look like?

The video clip will be similar to the clips shown in the hazard perception test, albeit shorter. Each clip shows you a driver’s point of view in a scenario such as, for example, driving through a city centre or on rural roads. You can get a better look at what this entails in the video below.

Here are the example questions the DVSA have provided for the example video clip above:

  1. Why are motorcyclists considered vulnerable road users?
  2. Why should the driver, on the side road, look out for motorcyclists at junctions?
  3. In this clip, who can cross the chevrons to overtake other vehicles when it’s safe to do so?

As with the other questions in the multiple-choice section, you’ll have to choose your correct answer from 4 possible answers. Here’s what it will look like on your screen:

DVSA example of new video clip in theory test
© Crown copyright (Open Government Licence)
The changes detailed above were originally due to come into force in April 2020. However, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, they were delayed to September 2020.

Why is this being implemented?

The DVSA are always looking for ways to improve the theory and practical tests for learner drivers. In this case, the introduction of a video clip will hopefully make the theory test more realistic, not to mention more accessible for learners—particularly those with a reading difficulty, learning disability or developmental condition.

Will anything else change?

Nope! Everything else in the theory test will remain exactly the same. This means if you’ve previously taken your theory and failed, or your theory certificate has expired, you won’t have to update your revision materials at all. Learners will still need to:

  • Answer 50 multiple-choice questions—scoring 43 out of 50 to pass
  • Complete the hazard perception section—scoring 44 out of 75 to pass

The changes are only being introduced to car theory tests. If you’re taking one of the following types of theory tests, the structure will remain exactly the same:

  • Motorcycle
  • Lorry
  • Bus or coach
  • Approved driving instructor (ADI) part 1

If you’re looking to hit the books and ace the theory test, head on over to our ultimate theory test revision resources. You might also want to have a gander at our guide to how many hours of revision you’ll need to pass.

By Bethany Hall

Whether you’re a learner or a pro driver, Bethany is here to help. From defensive driving to the Highway Code, she’ll tell you everything you need know about driving. If she’s not on the road, you’ll probably find Bethany with her head in a book or binge-watching the latest TV show.

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