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Driving Theory Test Frequently Asked Questions!All you need to know...

I've lost my Theory Test Certificate?

If you ring the customer service team at the DSA responsible for the theory test on: 0300 200 1188. They will be able to give you your Certificate number or they will send you a letter confirming that you passed

What happens if I'm late to my test?

Candidates are advised to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start time of the test in order to have time for the preparation process. If you are late for your test, it will be marked as a "No Show" and you will have to book and pay for another test.

Do I have to pass my theory test before I start my driving lessons?

No you don't. You can start your driving lessons as soon as you have a provisional licence. Your theory test will help you with your knowledge of the road and any driving you do will help with your theory test.How soon after the Theory Test do I have to take the practical?
Your Theory Test Certificate is valid for 2 years.

What happens at the Theory Test Centre?

You should arrive at the test centre in plenty of time. Once you have registered at reception you will go through to the test room. You may not take anything into the room with you; all personal items must be stored in the lockers provided. 

Once you are in the test room you may not talk to or distract other candidates. The computer screen will display your name and the category of test you are taking.

If you have any problems during the theory test, you should raise your hand to attract the attention of the test invigilator.

What do I need to take to the Theory Test Centre?

You must bring the following items with you. If you do not, we may refuse to carry out the test and you may lose your fee.
- Both parts of your valid signed GB or NI (Northern Ireland) driving licence.
- If you have an old-style paper licence you must bring both your paper licence and a valid passport.
- Your appointment letter.

Please Note: If you misplace your licence, you must apply for a replacement from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which could take up to15 days. If this happens, you may have to re-arrange your test.


Can I contact the test centre?

Theory test centres are maintaned by Pearson Professional, and they do not make contact numbers for individual centres publicly available. If you need to change or cancel your booking, please email us via our contact page on the website or email us direcly at [email protected]. For any other enquiries, please contact the DVSA on 0300 200 1188 or email [email protected].

The theory test explained.

The theory test is made up of a multiple choice part and a hazard perception part. You need to pass both parts to pass it. Once you have passed the theory test you can then apply to take your practical driving test.

Taking your theory test
The multiple choice part is delivered using a touch screen computer and the hazard perception part records your responses through the use of a computer mouse button.

If you pass one part and fail the other you'll fail the whole test, and you'll need to take both parts again.
The questions in each multiple choice test vary according to the category of vehicle you're hoping to obtain a licence for eg a motorcycle theory test will contain specific questions that don't appear in any other test.
For the hazard perception test there are no separate versions for different vehicles, the items are drawn from the same pool, and each vehicle category takes the same test.  However the pass mark is different for different categories of tests.
Lorry and bus multiple choice and hazard perception tests are booked and taken separately.

Part One - Multiple Choice
Before the test starts you'll be given instructions on how the test works.
You can also choose to go through a practice session of the multiple choice questions to get used to the layout of the test. At the end of the practice session the real test will begin.
A question and several answer options will appear onscreen and you have to select the correct answer to the question by touching the screen. Some questions may require more than one answer.
Some car and motorcycle multiple choice questions will be given as a case study. The case study will show a scenario that five questions will be based on. The subject of the scenario focuses on real life examples and experiences that drivers could come across when driving.

You can navigate between questions and 'flag' questions that you want to come back to later in the test. After the multiple choice part you can choose to have a break of up to three minutes before the hazard perception part starts.
Category Time Allowed Passmark
Car & Motorcycle 57 minutes 43 out of 50
Lorry & Bus 115 minutes 85 out of 100

Part Two - Hazard Perception
After the break you'll then be shown a short tutorial video clip about how the hazard perception part works.
The hazard perception part is also delivered on a computer but you respond by clicking a button on the mouse. You'll be presented with a series of video clips which feature every day road scenes. In each clip there'll be at least one developing hazard, but one of the car/motorcycle clips will feature two developing hazards.
To achieve a high score you'll need to respond to the developing hazard during the early part of its development. The maximum you can score on each hazard is five.
You won't be able to review your answers to the hazard perception test; as on the road, you'll only have one chance to respond to the developing hazard.

Category Time Allowed Developing Hazards Passmark
Car & Motorcycle 14 clips 15 44 out of 75
Lorry & Bus 19 clips 19 67 out of 100

At the end of the test
At the end of the hazard perception part of the theory test you'll be invited to answer a number of customer survey questions.
You don't have to answer the questions if you don't want to, and any information given is anonymous and confidential. The survey questions don't affect the result of the test.
When you have finished the test you may leave the examination room. Once you have left the room, you'll not be allowed to enter it again. You'll then be given your result by the test centre staff. For lorry and bus candidates once you have passed both tests you will also receive a pass certificate letter by post.

The hazard perception test (HPT) explained.

New drivers are disproportionately involved in accidents, especially in the first months after passing a driving test. It has been proven that drivers who have taken hazard perception training have much better hazard perception skills.

Why the hazard perception element was introduced
The government is committed to reducing the numbers killed and seriously injured on Britain's roads by 40 per cent by 2010. The hazard perception element was introduced into the driving test in November 2002 as one of the measures that should help achieve this target by encouraging appropriate training in scanning the road, recognising at the first opportunity from the clues that a potentially dangerous situation might arise and adopting a driving plan to reduce the risk.
During the development of this test, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) worked closely with colleagues from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and the road safety division of the Department for Transport, both of whom thought this test suitable for testing the hazard awareness skills of all drivers.

How the test works
The hazard perception part is delivered on a computer and you respond by clicking a button on the mouse. You will be presented with a series of video clips which feature every day road scenes. In each clip there will be at least one developing hazard, but one of the clips will feature two developing hazards.
To achieve a high score you will need to respond to the developing hazard during the early part of its development. The maximum you can score on each hazard is five.
Recognition of available clues and perception of danger are skills that are necessary in all drivers and riders, irrespective of the vehicle used. For this reason, the same version of the hazard perception test is used for all categories of test.

An example of when to respond
As an example, of how to identify and respond to a developing hazard, consider a parked vehicle on the side of the road. When you first see it, it is not doing anything; it is just a parked vehicle. If you were to respond to the vehicle at this point, you would not score any marks, but you would not lose any marks.
However, when you get closer to the vehicle, you notice that the car's right hand indicator starts to flash. The indicator would lead you to believe that the driver of the vehicle has an intention of moving away, therefore the hazard is now developing and a response at this point would score marks. The indicator coming on is a sign that the parked vehicle has changed its status from a potential hazard into a developing hazard.
When you get closer to the vehicle, you will probably see the vehicle start to move away from the side of the road; another response should be made at this point. Different clips in the test will have various signs to indicate that the hazard is changing its status and is now starting to develop.

How the test is scored
The maximum you can score for each developing hazard is five points. You should respond by pressing the mouse button as soon as you see a hazard developing that may result in you, the driver, having to take some action, such as changing speed or direction.  The earlier you notice a developing hazard and make a response, the higer your score.
You will not be able to review your answers to the hazard perception test; as on the road, you will only have one chance to respond to the developing hazard, so you will need to concentrate throughout each clip.
If you react inappropriately during the video clip by clicking continuously or in a pattern of responses you will score zero for that clip. At the end of the clip a pop-up box will appear informing you that you have scored zero for that particular clip.

How to pass your car theory test.

Many learner drivers have difficulty overcoming the first obstacle of the driving test called "The Car Theory Test". Many people fail taking it whereas most giften learner drivers are already familiar and reasonably knowledgeable about the skills and rules needed to be complied when driving that will enable them to become safe drivers. Here are a few steps or guidelines that will enable learner drivers to be confident enough in passing the theory test first time

Step 1:
Theory Test Kit but most importantly take the mock theory test several times as the multiple choice area will be the most important part of the theory test and passing this sector is your main priority. In light of the many unexpected questions that might appear on the real test, it is important to continue retaking the mock theory test on the DSA test kit rather than continuously revising each topic in order to obtain a reasonable amount of knowledge on each area. Take the mock theory test

Step 2:
After taking an overview of the test review, make a note of weak topics you are not strong on and retake the mock theory test until the answers store in your mind. Make constant reference to the Highway Code

Step 3:
Continue to retake the mock theory test until you more than 10 topics brought up on the mock theory test are green or above 90%. By this point you should be familiar with most of the questions and answers that will appear on the real theory test.

Step 4:
Do this every few days or so for an hour or two before your scheduled theory test date.

Step 5:
When you are confident enough you will pass the multiple-choice area, you can now undertake revision of the Hazard Perception. Considering the nature of this area and the specific importance it holds when referring to the aspect of safe driving, it is an area that is most commonly ignored in terms of the car theory test itself, so a fair amount of learner drivers tend to fail under par with the minimum score of 45. The main idea of the Hazard Perception is to basically to click simultaneously with the clues shown to you.

Step 6:
There is always one or two main hazards in a clip but rather than waiting for each one to appear and risk clicking too late for each one completely and getting a 1 or even less, the idea is to click for each of the clues whether it is a traffic sign or pedestrian walking in the distance.

Step 7:
It is always helpful to click a few times at the start of each clip to be safe in case of being mislead into missing a hazard especially in clips where you are shown driving at night when hazards are the hardest to spot even signs.

How to prepare for your theory test.

To prepare for the theory test the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) recommend that all candidates study the Highway Code, Know Your Traffic Signs and the relevant book from DSA's Driving Skills series. Regardless of driving experience, candidates should make full use of the available study material to prepare for the multiple choice and hazard perception elements of the theory test.

Preparing for the theory test
The driving theory test has two parts, part one is a multiple choice test and part two is a hazard perception test.
To prepare for both parts of the theory test we recommend that all candidates, regardless of driving experience, use the resource material available. The resource material is available from most high street book shops and from the DSA official online bookstore - the link below will take you to the DSA bookstore website.
With your first theory test booking confirmation letter, DSA send you a DVD called "Are you ready?" which you should watch as this explains the process of taking the theory test.

If you need to cancel or reschedule
If you need to cancel or reschedule this test you must provide at least three clear working days notice, otherwise you will lose your test fee.
Remember to turn up at the centre 15 minutes before your appointment is due.

If your driving licence does not have your photograph on it, you will also need to bring an acceptable form of photographic identification when you attend your test. DSA can only accept original documents not photocopies. The forms of photographic identification acceptable for both theory and practical tests are as follows:
•    A valid signed UK (or Northern Ireland) photocard licence. Both the photocard licence and paper counterpart must be presented; or
•    An old style valid signed UK (or Northern Ireland) paper driving licence and a valid passport.
The passport does not have to be a UK passport, but holders of non-UK passports should check that they are eligible to take a driving test here.


If you are in any doubt about this requirement, telephone our Enquiry Line on 0300 200 1122.

Taking your theory test if you have special needs?

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) provides a number of facilities for those people with special requirements, including foreign language voiceovers, extra time, British Sign Language interpretation and translator assisted tests.

How do candidates with special requirements take the theory test?

The following facilities are available for candidates with special requirements.  All of the facilities need to be requested at the time of booking.

Facilities for those whose first language is not English?

If your first language is not English, or you can not read or understand written English well, you can request a voiceover in one of 21 languages. A voiceover allows you to hear the theory test instructions and questions through headphones. The questions will automatically be read out to you, you can hear the answer options by touching the text on the screen. You can hear the questions as many times as you like, you simply need to touch the text of the question onscreen again.
Foreign language voiceovers are available in the following languages:
Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Dari, English, Farsi, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Kurdish, Mirpuri, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Pushto, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu, Welsh

Translator assisted tests?

If there is no voiceover provided in the language you require, you can request to have a translator assisted theory test. The call centre agent should be able to tell you the names and contact details of the relevant DSA approved translators. It is your responsibility to arrange a test date with the translator and to pay any fees involved.

Facilities for those with reading difficulties?

If you have dyslexia or other reading difficulties you can ask for an English or Welsh voiceover. You can also request to have up to double time for the multiple choice part of the theory test. If you require more than the standard time of 40 minutes for the multiple choice part you will need to send in evidence of your reading difficulty to the theory test booking customer services.

Facilities for those with hearing difficulties?

If you are deaf or have hearing difficulties you can ask to take the theory test in British sign language (BSL). The BSL interpretation will run alongside the standard test questions and answers. If you do not use BSL, an interpreter can be taken into the test centre, this facility needs to be arranged through the theory test customer services section. There is no extra fee for either facility.

I've lost my Theory Test Certificate?

If you ring the customer service team at the DSA in charge for the theory test on: 0300 200 1188. They will be able to give you your Certificate number or they will send you a letter confirming that you passed - this will be enough proof for the Examiner at the beginning of your practical test.

With reference to taking the practical test, it should still go forward, even if you don't take your Theory Certificate to the test centre. The examiner can check online whether you have passed the Test.  (the final decision lies with the Exmainer taking the test).

The most significant thing to take to the test centre for the practical test is your provisional licence with the paper counterpart. If you don't have these, your test won't go ahead and you will lose your fee!

I lost the theory test booking number?

If you ring the customer service team at the DSA responsible for the theory test on: 0300 200 1188. They will be able to give you your booking number.

To cancel or change your theory test date without losing your fee you will need to ring the theory test booking line on 0300 200 1122 no less than 3 days before the test date.
I've lost my passport, can I use other identification for my theory test?
generally you would take your Theory Test appointment letter, the provisional licence and paper counter part for identification
If you have an old licence without a photograph - a valid passport will be required - no other form of identification is accepted.
Photographic identification is required to stop tests being taken by someone pretending to be the candidate. Unfortunately, a valid passport is the only photographic ID now accepted.

I lost my provisional licence, do I need my driver number to get another one?

Only if that none of your details have changed, you will need to give your driver number OR full name, date of birth and also confirm your UK address
If your photocard and paper counterpart have been lost or stolen, you can apply for a duplicate licence by telephone using a credit or debit card. The fee for a duplicate licence is £22.00. The DVLA accepts Visa, Eurocard, Mastercard and Maestro.
To use this service ring 0870 240 0009, Monday to Friday 8.00 am - 8.30 pm

Who needs to take the test?

Great Britain licence holders
You usually need to take the theory test before you can get your first full car or motorcycle driving licence.
There are 2 exceptions.
You don’t need to take the car theory test if you hold a B1 licence (3 or 4-wheeled light vehicle).
If you hold a full moped licence issued after 1 July 1996 following a test you don’t need to take the motorcycle theory test.

Adding new categories to your licence
You’ll need to take another theory test if you want a licence for a new category of vehicle.
For example, if you have a car licence and you want a motorcycle licence you’ll need to take the motorcycle theory test before taking the motorcycle practical test.
You won’t normally need to take a theory test if you want to upgrade within a vehicle category.
For example, if you have a full automatic car licence and you want a manual car licence you won’t have to take a theory test.

I want to make a complaint, what do I do?

If you wish to make a complaint regarding your theory test, you may do so by contacting the DVSA. Please have the following information at hand:

  • The type of test you took (theory or practical)
  • The date, time and place you took your test
  • What your complaint is about What you would like to happen

You will also need to provide two out of the possible three pieces of information:

  • Your driving licence number
  • Your theory test pass certificate number
  • Your practical or theory test booking reference

DVSA theory test complaints telephone number: 0300 200 1122 Address: DVSA, PO Box 381, M50 3UW

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