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Home / California / Teen Drivers Ed / How to Prepare for the California Written Test

If you properly prepare for the written driver's test, it will not be difficult to pass with flying colors. If you fail the knowledge test, you can take it again but you must wait seven full days before you can take it again. Following the tips we have provided for you here should help you pass it the first time around. There are 46 questions on the test that cover information about California signs and traffic laws. The questions are in multiple-choice format. You will need to score at least a 38 to pass.

One of the best resources for studying is the California Driver Handbook. Every question that will be on the written test is in this handbook. Reading and studying this handbook for a week or two will get you ready for taking the written test. One way of making sure that you are ready is to take a practice test. These pre-tests are available online and can help you identify any areas where you may need to do extra studying.

If you are under 17½ years old, you are also required to complete a California driver's education course that is DMV-approved. This will also help you get ready for the written test.

Helpful Study Tips

  • Have someone help you by asking you various questions from the handbook. Verbally answering questions helps you retain the information. You can also test yourself by having someone ask the questions out loud while you write down the answers.
  • When riding in the car with your parents, practice identifying the different traffic signs you see around town. Pay attention to the shape and color of the signs.
  • Take the practice test several times to make sure that you can answer the questions without any struggle.
  • If you have trouble remembering the signs and don't mind doing a little setup work, you can make traffic sign flashcards that you can use to help quiz you on the different signs that will be on the test.

Things to Bring With You on Test Day

When you are ready to take the written test, there are some things you will need to bring with you to your local DMV office. The DMV website offers the ability to make an appointment online and provides a phone number as well so you can save some time. We have listed the items below that you will need to have ready. Not having these with you can prevent you from being able to take the test, so make sure to have all documents together in a folder and placed where you won't forget to grab them on the way out the door.

  • Birth certificate or another legal identification document
  • Social security number (if you have the card, bring it just in case they need to see it)
  • Certificate of Completion of your driver's education course OR
  • Certificate of Enrollment in DMV-approved classroom Driver Education and Driver Training Program for those under 17½ years of age
  • Your parent (if you are under 18) so they can sign the DL 44 form

Before the Test

It's easy to get nervous before taking the written test. The night before you take it, be sure to get a good night's sleep and try not to stress. The test isn't exceptionally long and if you have studied and prepared yourself, you'll do great.

Eat breakfast before the test but not anything heavy, especially if you get really nervous taking tests. A light breakfast of fruit and toast or something similar will prevent you from having an upset stomach due to being hungry, and you won't be uncomfortable from eating a heavy meal.

Above all, relax and don't worry. Most people pass the written test with no problem if they have studied, so you will have nothing to stress about as long as you have prepared beforehand. Take your time, read the questions carefully, and don't be in a hurry to finish. Good luck!