Before you even take your practical driving test, you first have to pass your theory test. For some, it can be an easy enough step—it’s just like sitting any other exam. For others, however, it can be a daunting experience that only lengthens your journey towards getting on the road. So, how exactly can you pass?
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time taking your theory test or your fourth, there are plenty of steps to take to ensure you pass with flying colours. We’ve put together a guide filled with summaries of what to expect, top tips and revision materials so you can fly through your theory test!
What does a theory test involve?
Your theory test will be broken down into two separate sections:
- 50 multiple-choice questions
- Hazard perception test
The multiple-choice section involves topics like road and traffic signs, hazard awareness, alertness and much more. You need to score at least 43 marks to pass this section. In the hazard perception section, you’ll be played 14 clips showing a car driving as if you are the driver. You have to click the mouse each time you see a developing hazard. You need at least 44 marks out of 75 to pass.
Please note: if you don’t pass one section then you will fail the entire test. So, don’t depend on your strength in one section to make up for a weakness in the other—you have to do well in both sections.
Now, we’re going to look at exactly what each section will involve. We’ll also discuss how to prepare and provide some revision materials to help you fly through your theory test. If you’re looking to ace your test first time, feast your eyes on our ultimate theory test revision resources.
Before you even start buying materials or revising for your theory test, you need to make sure you have a good grasp of the Highway Code. This book contains all the rules and information you need to know—from road signs to vehicle markings to general road safety. While the history of the Highway Code and its rules have varied over the years, it has kept to its main aim: to help drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and other road users stay safe. Wondering if the theory test has actually helped drivers in recent years? Check out our discussion on whether the theory test has made drivers safer.
What can I expect?
There are 50 questions overall and you will have 57 minutes to answer them. The test will begin with instructions and example questions to help you get used to the format. Then you will proceed to start the test. Take your time and read each question carefully. You can easily go back and change your answers at any time until the test ends. There’s also an option to flag a question, so you know which ones you need to return to at the end of the test.
The questions will involve facts, figures and photos of road signs or situations. You’ll also be presented with case studies involving a short story and potential real life situations. You can expect the questions to cover topics including (but not limited to): alertness, attitude, documents, incidents, rules of the road and vehicle loading.
Example questions include:
What can a loose filler cap on your diesel fuel tank cause?
- It can make the roads slippery for other road users
- The engine can become difficult to start
- It can improve your vehicle’s fuel consumption
- The level of exhaust emissions can increase
When may you overtake another vehicle on the left?
- When the vehicle in front is signalling to turn left
- When you’re in a one-way street
- Approaching a motorway slip road where you’ll be turning off
- When a slower vehicle is travelling in the right-hand lane of a duel carriageway
You see street lights but no speed-limit signs. What will the speed limit usually be?
- 30 mph
- 40 mph
- 50 mph
- 60 mph
How to tackle the multiple-choice section
Hypothetically speaking, there are hundreds of possible questions that could come up on your multiple-choice test. It’s for this reason that you should make sure you’re fully prepared. We recommend reading through the Highway Code and getting to grips with road signs to start off. Once you’ve done so, we advise investing in either of the following resources:
- The Official DVSA Handbook: it contains multiple-choice questions with answers and explanations. It also covers all the topics you need to know for your test.
- AA Driving Test Theory & Highway Code: this guide features 961 official theory test questions with answers and explanations for car drivers. It also includes the latest edition of the Highway Code.
Either book will prepare you for your test—allowing you to build up your driving knowledge. Once you feel comfortable enough with the Highway Code, general topics and the books, you can move onto revision.
Not sure how many hours of lessons you need? Check out the 5 best reasons to take a course assessment now!
Theory test bundle
The Theory Test Bundle app is absolutely ideal for anyone taking their theory test. It contains revision materials for road signs, multiple-choice, the Highway Code and the hazard perception test (which we’ll discuss further in the next section). With it, you can take your revision with you on the go.
You can download it now on iOS or Android for £4.99. This is a real bargain when you consider all of the materials you have at your fingertips. Your theory test will undoubtedly feature questions that you see in this app, which is why it’s such a great way to prepare. You can take practice questions and mock tests—you can even compile a test with the questions previously answered incorrectly. This forces you to face your weakest areas.
People who have downloaded this app found that many of the questions showed up on their actual test (including yours truly)!
People revise for tests differently—some prefer to read and copy information, and others prefer something more visual. We think a mix of the two can often work in our favour, which is why we recommend using one of the guides and the app—an unbeatable combo. If you think you’ve gotten the hang of it, why not try out our quiz—could you pass your theory test today? If you’ve tried the app and you’re not convinced, check out our Theory Test Pro review to see if that’s worth looking into.
The best way to prepare for the multiple-choice section is by taking a wide variety of mock tests. Be aware, however, that you shouldn’t jump head first into a mock test until you know you’re fully ready—otherwise it can be disheartening if you fail.
The guides we cited above will contain questions that you can practice. Additionally, as we’ve mentioned, the app contains an endless supply of mock tests. You can find more tests here:
And now we’ll move onto the hazard perception test…
What can I expect?
The hazard perception test involves 14 one-minute clips which will contain developing hazards—be aware that one will contain two developing hazards. There is, however, a difference between a hazard and a developing hazard.
A developing hazard is something that forces you to take action, for example, a pedestrian crossing suddenly or a cyclist swerving. You have to take a corresponding action to avoid a developing hazard—this could be a change in speed or a change in position on the road. A hazard, by comparison, is something you need to consider and keep an eye on, but isn’t something you’ll need to take immediate action over.
When you see a developing hazard, you have to click using your mouse. Each hazard is worth 5 points—the sooner you spot them, the more points you earn. While you won’t get marked down for clicking at the wrong times, you will fail a clip if the software thinks you’re clicking in a pattern. You’ll get a 10-second countdown between the clips to prepare.
Examples of developing hazards you might encounter:
- Playing children: kids are the most vulnerable road users and there’s a good chance they might step into the road unexpectedly.
- Cyclists: you need to give bike users extra room on the road—they can often emerge unexpectedly. It’s especially difficult when they don’t indicate their intentions.
- Roadworks: surfaces might be uneven and you might encounter worked on the road ahead of you. There might also be temporary speed limits.
- Sudden braking: you never know when a vehicle might suddenly brake. In this case you have to change your speed to avoid collision.
- Emergency vehicles: if a police car, ambulance or fire engine approaches you with flashing lights, you’ll have to move accordingly.
- Parked vehicles: you have to keep an eye out for pedestrians or children suddenly emerging from in between parked vehicles in an attempt to cross the road.
- Poor visibility: bad weather can affect driving conditions—causing wet and icy surfaces. This can reduce the distance you can see ahead of you.
How to tackle the hazard perception test
Firstly, you have to fully understand the test. There’s no point trying to wing it because you need to be familiar with hazards and the format of the test to ensure you pass. Bear in mind that you have to pass both sections of the test—you can’t rely on your strength in one section to pull you through. The video below highlights the main things you can expect:
Once you know what to expect, the only way to prepare is by trying out hazard perception clips. The app bundle we previously mentioned comes with a wide variety of hazard perception clips—from rural roads to busy urban areas—so it’s sure to give you a wide mix of situations. Bear in mind that it involves touching your phone screen or tablet screen. The actual test will involve a mouse, so you might want to try it out on your computer too. You can find additional clips and mock tests from the following sites:
Is that all?
There’s no point buying these resources and reading through guides if you’re not going to set aside time to actually revise. After all, while there are plenty of theory test myths that suggest you can skate by on common sense, this is far from the case. You can’t expect to pass first time if you only dedicate a couple of hours to skimming through guides. Passing requires serious effort and preparation. We suggest creating a schedule. Figure out how many days you have until your test and set aside an achievable timetable. Not sure how long you might need? Take a look at how many hours of revision are needed to pass the theory test.
It doesn’t matter if you’re squeezing in some revision on your commute to school or work, or setting aside a couple of hours each night—every little bit helps. The more you revise, the more naturally the information comes to you.
If you have any learning difficulties that impact your performance on the test, like dyslexia, make sure you are aware of the help that is available to you.
On the day
It’s important that you check you’ve got the right date, time and location for your theory test. The last thing you need is to miss your test date—you’d lose the test fee and you’d have to re-book. Don’t forget to bring your provisional licence with you, otherwise you won’t be able to take your theory test.
You can’t take personal items into the test room with you. This includes mobile phones, earphones, watches and bags. If you do bring any of these items to the centre, you’ll be able to place them in a locker until your test ends.
Timing is key when it comes to tests. You’ll have 15 minutes at the beginning of your test to practice and get used to the layout. Before the hazard perception test, you’ll watch a clip explaining how it all works. In addition, you’ll get a 3-minute break in between sections to give you a bit of time to relax.
Flag and review
As we’ve mentioned, you can easily flag questions you’re certain on at any point during the multiple-choice section. Flagging questions makes them easier to find when you review your answers at the end. Don’t just click “end” when you’re finished—review all of your answers carefully. Re-read the questions to ensure you’ve understood them completely. For all you know, you might have clicked on the wrong answer or misunderstood something.
Take it easy
You have an entire 57 minutes to complete the multiple-choice section. You don’t necessarily have to use up all of this time, but it does give you extra time to review your answers. You can’t, of course, review the hazard perception section—you can’t rewind hazards on the road after all! As long as you’ve practised using the app and mock tests, you should be perfectly fine.
Hopefully our guide will have helped you to get test-ready. Still unsure? Check out our top 5 last minute theory test tips. Once you pass your theory test, you’ll be looking to take driving lessons and your practical test. There are many more things to think about when considering the practical test—for instance, can you do the test in your own car, and what model of sat nav will be used on the test?
Still, it’s important to note that your theory certificate only lasts 2 years, so be sure you get a test lined up—you don’t want to have to retake your theory test because you waited too long!
Taking a course with PassMeFast
PassMeFast offers driving courses across large parts of the UK—check out the areas we cover to see if our courses are available near you. We’ve ignored the slow pace of other driving lessons in favour of flexible, intensive and semi-intensive courses ranging from our 5-hour refresher course to our 20 hour driving course to our beginner 48-hour course. Our instructors will pick you up and drop you off at home or work—so you can fit everything around your schedule. Take a look at our course prices for more information.
If you’re not too sure which of our courses is suited to you, you could go for our course assessment. One of our grade A or B driving instructors will assess your driving ability over an hour and recommend you a suitable course.
Get in contact with us on 0333 123 4949 or book a course online with us today. The road to driving doesn’t have to be long with PassMeFast!