Driving theory test

Before you can take your practical driving test you’ll need to have passed your theory test. Here’s what you need to know.

stop sign

Yes, stop really does mean stop the car

What is the theory test?

The theory test is a test to show you’re clued up about all the things you need to look out for as a driver. It’s split two parts: a multiple choice questions and a hazardous perception section.

Multiple choice There are 50 multiple choice questions that focus on driving situations, technical rules and other regulations. These are delivered and answered using a touch-screen computer. To pass you must answer at least 43 questions correctly.

Hazard perception The hazard perception part of the test assesses your forward planning and ability to spot possible dangers or threats. The computer will show 14 video clips that each contain one or two developing hazards. Your responses to these are recorded using the computer mouse. For a high score you must spot hazards early.

You must pass both parts to pass the whole theory test. The theory test certificate is valid for two years from the date you passed. If it runs out before you pass the practical you’ll need to take it again. It’s sometimes better to pass your theory test even before starting your driving lessons. This will give you a better impression of what driving on road will actually be like.

How can I prepare for the theory test?

For the multiple choice part of the test, books and CD-ROMs are a good way to practise and can be bought from any large book shop. The Highway Code is a good place to start and will familiarise you with road signs and general issues surrounding road safety.

The theory test questions and answers are also widely available in book and CD-ROM format. Many of the CD-ROMs offer mock tests and a hazard perception test and studying these will give you the best possible chance of passing. The hazard perception test are also available in interactive DVD formats.

Booking the theory test

You can book online or by calling 0845 4024 000. You can also book by post, but will need to fill out an application form (you can also get this online or by calling the number above), and send a cheque or postal order.

Picture of stop sign by Shutterstock

Next Steps

By Sarah Willoughby

Updated on 29-Sep-2015