Everything you need to know about the Theory Test!
What actually is the theory test?
The theory test is a two-part examination carried out on a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) test centre computer, at a DVSA test center. In the UK, there are currently 180 theory test centres - so there should be one within a reasonable distance to you. If you’d like to see where your local theory test centre is, head to the GOV website. From the 6th September, the number of test centres will increase to 202 test centres, which will allow learner drivers to pass their theory test quicker as there will be more test dates available.
What does the theory test involve?
The first part of the theory test is a multiple choice section, followed by the second part, which is called the hazard perception test. The multiple choice section involves 50 different questions selected from over 1,000 possible questions. To pass this part, you need to answer 43 or more questions correctly. You’ll only have 57 minutes to answer these questions, so make sure when revising you work on reducing the time it takes you to answer all 50 questions. It is recommended that once you have answered all 50 questions, you go back through them to make sure you didn’t make any silly mistakes.
Here at National Intensive, we offer online zoom theory workshops, which are 2.5 hours long with one of our fully qualified instructors where they will go through the toughest topics and questions, with a Q&A session at the end. Hundreds of our pupils have found this an extremely useful tool to aid them in passing first time.
The second part of the theory test is the hazard perception - this part is to test your ability to spot driving hazards on the road. If you’re lucky enough to be able to drive on your provisional license with family/friends, practice scanning for any hazards (your driving instructor would be able to explain to you how to do this) - such as vehicles emerging from side roads, cyclists that could become a hazard, and pedestrians making an impromptu crossing. These are the types of things you will need to be aware of for the hazard perception test. Out of 75 questions, you’ll need to answer 44 correctly to pass.
You have to pass both the multiple choice section and the hazard perception in order to pass the theory test.
How do I revise for the theory test?
If you book a theory training course/test with us, we offer the Theory Test Pro app which you can download on your smartphone. This will help you to revise the topics and questions that might occur in the multiple choice section of the test. The government's Safe Driving for Life is also a useful tool to give yourself a practice run through the questions. What is really helpful to some pupils is the fact that this website has two views - ‘default view’ which follows the design of the website, and then ‘test view’, which looks like the screens you’ll see at the theory test centre. We would recommend using ‘test view’; this allows learner drivers to know what to expect when they get to the theory test centre. This website also allows you to review your answers at the end too, to see where you went wrong so that you can be aware of what areas you need to improve on.
We would recommend beginning to revise for your theory test a few months before you know you’re going to take your test. It is much better to do little and often, rather than trying to cram in all the information at the last minute. Many people think the theory test is easy before they sit it, but according to the DfT, figures in 2017-2018 were at the lowest proportion since 2007-08, at only 48.7% of people passing.
What happens on Test Day?
On arrival at the theory test centre, the receptionist will check your details and ask you to sign in. You will then be given a locker key which is where you will put your belongings, including your powered-off mobile phone. It is likely the receptionist will check that your phone has been switched off.
You will then head towards the testing room where you will be asked to read a rules document. This is where the examiner will check your provisional photocard licence. You will then be assigned a computer on the system, and you will be told which computer you need to sit at. The computers in the room are often placed at different angles, or have screen dividers to ensure that no one is breaking the rules.
After you’ve sat down at the computer, take a few minutes to have a breather. You can use this time to familiarise yourself with the functionality before you begin. You can also use this time to calm yourself down, as it is likely you are really feeling the pressure now.
After switching on your computer, you will be logged in and the first screen will have some generic information on it about the theory test, such as the amount of time you have to complete each section. Before starting, you will have the option of doing 5 practice questions for the multiple choice section - you can skip this section if you wish. Once you have began the multiple choice section, the countdown timer will begin to count down. It is recommended that if you come across a question that you’re not sure how to answer, that you flag the question. This means they will come up at the end, and allow you to re-read them.
Once you have completed the multiple choice section, the computer screen will then have some generic information about the Hazard Perception test. Like the multiple choice section, you will be given the option to do some practice clips. Again, you can either do the practice questions or skip them and go straight into the second and final section of the theory test. The hazard perception section involves 14 clips that are all around 1 minute long.
TOP TIPS! - Be sure to remember your provisional licence photocard on the day, as you can’t take a test without it and will still face the fee. You’ll have a 15-minute period of grace to get accustomed to the touchscreen/computer mouse, and the way questions are laid out. Make sure you use this time wisely and familiarise yourself with the functionality before you begin. You can also use this time to calm yourself down, as it is likely you are really feeling the pressure now. Work through your questions one by one and skip any difficult ones until the end to avoid losing momentum by hitting the handy flag button. Make sure you check out our ‘Tips for Theory Test Day’ to make sure you know exactly how to prepare for the big day.
Follow these key points in your theory test and fast track yourself towards a successful result and you could soon be driving your first car in no time at all.