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FAQ on the Theory Test in the UK

how long does the theory test certificate last

The Theory Test was introduced on 1st July 1996.

That means

The 30 most FAQ on the theory test is shown below.

When did the Theory Test Start?

The new written theory test for learner drivers started on 1st July 1996

Can I take the Theory Test before I apply for a provisional licence?

You cannot take your theory test until you have your provisional licence. An application form ( D.1.) can be obtained from a post office.

£28.00 + £12.00 for the Hazard Test

Potential driving instructor theory test


The same fee will be charged regardless of the time or day the test takes place.

Prices correct as from 1st October 2014

The same fee will be charged regardless of the time or day the test takes place.

I have trouble reading and writing. Can I have help?

Candidates with special needs, arrangements are in place for candidates with reading difficulties, including extra time allowance and/or aural versions of the questions. Please give details when you apply for the test.

Is the test only available in English?

Since 7th April 2014 you can only take the theory test in English or Welsh.

Before April 2014 you was able to take it in 20 languages other than English

These included: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Dari, Farsi, Gujerati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Kurdish, Mirpuri, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Pushto, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish and Urdu.

LGV and PCV candidates can listen to the test being read out in Welsh.

Will I still be asked theory questions at the practical test?

Since 1st September 2003 the examiner has asked candidates 2 "show me/tell me" questions at the start of the test. Should the candidate fail to answer either one or both questions correctly, this would be assessed as 1 driving fault and would not therefore constitute a reason for failing the test in its own right.


Can I take my Practical Test before the Theory Test?

NO because since 1st January 1997, it became necessary to pass the Theory test before you can book for a practical test.

When should I apply for a Theory test appointment?

If an Approved Driving Instructor (i.e. through a driving school) is training you, take your instructor's advice on when you are ready to take the test. Make sure you are well prepared before you attempt the test. Good preparation will save you time and money.

I've failed the Theory test. When can I apply to take the test again?

You will have to wait a minimum of 3 clear working days before you can take the theory test again. Although you can apply the day after you failed your test. If you fail you've shown that you aren't fully prepared. Good preparation will save you time and money.

Where will I have to go to sit this test?

A The DVSA have developed a national network of test centres in all main centres of population and will run frequent test sessions to suit candidates needs

There are over 150 test centres throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. You can find a list of test centres from your Driving Instructor or visit the DVSA website.

Nationally In 1998/99 about 1.2 million tests for car drivers, over 62,000 tests for lorry and bus drivers and over 95,000 motorcycle rider tests were carried out. 1.1 million theory tests were carried out at over 150 centres.

What times can I sit the Test?

Tests will commence Mondays to Fridays, from 9am to 5pm and from 6pm to 9pm;

Some test centres are open on a Saturday

Theory Test PC Download Packshot

What checks will be done to stop cheating?

Driving test candidates must present their driving licence and a photo of themselves when taking a theory or practical test. This will help to ensure that only candidates that should be taking a particular type of test will do so, and deter candidate impersonation.

After registration, candidates will be shown into the examination room. Bags, coats, etc. will have to be left at the back of the room, along with any written materials.

Will I use a Computer for the Theory test?

From 4th January 2000, all driving theory tests will be conducted using a computer screen. No more paper, all you have to do is select the answers by simply touching a computer screen.

The 'touchscreen' system has been carefully designed to make sure it is easy to use.

You will have a practise session lasting up to 15 minutes to get used to the system before starting the actual theory test. Staff will be on hand to help you if you have any difficulties in using the new system. The screens are easy to read. Only one question will appear on the screen at a time and you will be able to move backwards and forwards through the questions. You will also be able to go back to any questions which you want to look at again, and you should be able to change any answers.

Who will set the questions?

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is the Government organisation responsible for all car, motorcycle, bus, and lorry Practical Driving tests. DVSA will also be responsible for the development and updating of the Theory Test questions and for related publications.

What questions will I be asked?

You will have to answer 50 (100 for the large vehicle test) multiple-choice questions based on the Highway Code and road safety matters. They will last about 57 minutes and will cover up to 12 topics including driver attitude, traffic signs, the effects of alcohol, drugs and fatigue and environmental aspects of vehicles.

Most questions will require one option to be selected from a choice of four,

some will ask for two, three or four correct options to be selected from a range of up to six possibilities. The selected answer(s) are to be indicated by touching the box (es) alongside on a computer screen

The pass mark for the new theory test, will be 43 correct answers out of 50. This pass mark will be kept under review to ensure that those who are well prepared and have a good knowledge of the subject will pass, and those who have not will fail.

Try our Mock Questions

How many Questions will I be asked?

Since 3rd September 2007 the questions for the car and motorcycle theory test were increased from 35 to 50. The pass mark is 43 or more.

For the large vehicle test you currently have to answer 100 questions and get 85 or more correct to pass the test.

I've got 57 minutes to complete the test, but how will I know how long I have left during the test?

The computer will show the time in the right hand corner of the screen. This shows how much time you have remaining and will flash when you have 5 minutes left.

Will I be taking the test in a room on my own?

No. The theory test will be conducted under examination conditions, with a person supervising up to 30 candidates taking the test at a time.

Candidates will be at least 1.25 metres apart. Candidates sitting at adjacent desks are likely to have different test papers.

It is possible that every candidate will have different questions on a computer screen.

If I'm late for the Test, can I still take it?

Late admission into the theory test exam room would be distracting for other candidates, and cannot be allowed.

Appointments are given as 15 minutes before the start of examination conditions. Candidates arriving after the appointment time, but within the 15 minutes administration period, are allowed in to take their test. No Admission is allowed once the exam has started and will result in the loss of the test fee.

What is the current pass rates for the Theory Test?

Theory test pass rates are as follows:-

Cars 62.9 per cent

Motorcycle 55.9 per cent

LGV 88.4 per cent

PCV 87.8 per cent

Is there a time limit on passing the practical test after the theory test? Or once the theory test is passed is that it?

You must pass the practical test within 2 years of passing the theory test, otherwise you have to sit the theory test again.

Can I get my Theory Test results on the same day?

Yes, you will receive the test results before you leave the test centre.

How can I get help with the type of questions that will be used?

Why not Visit our

Software page.

and download fully-functioning trial versions and we show you other software available to help you on your way.

Can I get help if I'm deaf or have other hearing difficulties?

A video of the test in British Sign Language is available on the computer screen for candidates who are deaf or have other hearing difficulties.

Do Theory Test Centres have wheelchair access?

Most Theory Test Centres have wheelchair access. In the event that your closest test centre does not, you may be asked to take your exam at another centre. In special circumstances the test may be taken at home. If you have any special needs these can be catered for.

For more information on this please contact the Driving Standards Agency on 0300 200 1122

What do I need to take to the theory test?

Before leaving home, make sure that you have all the necessary documents you will need to bring with you for your test appointment. You will need your signed driving licence and suitable photographic ID, or both parts of your signed photocard licence, and your booking number.

If you don't bring the correct documents with you on the day, you won't be able to take your test and you'll lose your fee. If you have any queries about what photographic evidence is acceptable, contact the enquiry line on 0300 200 1122 or 01232 681 831 in Northern Ireland.

Arrive in plenty of time so that you aren't rushed.

O.K. I'm ready to take the test, so how do I book an appointment?

There are many ways of booking the theory test

Have a look at our page

How 2 Book the Theory Test

How do I cancel my theory test appointment?

If you wish to cancel your theory test appointment, you must give at least three whole working days notice, or you will forfeit your theory test fee. For example if you want to cancel your test and it is on a Tuesday, you will need to ring the booking office by the previous Wednesday afternoon at the latest.

In the UK telephone 0300 200 1122 or alter your booking on-line.

Is it possible to get a replacement theory test certificate if the original has been lost? Can I book a practical test without the certificate?

You can now get a copy of your certificate number online

More details

You can find your theory test pass certificate number if you have lost your original letter. You'll need this when you book your practical test, and might need it if you check, change or cancel your practical test.

Is there any web sites that I could sit a mock theory test so that it could give me an idea of what it is like and what I can expect?

Why not try our mock theory test.

Click here to go there!

Category: Insurance

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