Everything You Need to Know About the Written Driver’s Test

Before you can get your driver’s license, you’ve got to pass the written driver’s test. Known as a “knowledge test” in some states, the written driver’s test confirms you know enough about the concepts of driving to safely operate a vehicle.

This test is required for all new drivers nationwide. You might also need to take the test again if you move to a new state, let your driver’s license expire, or develop a poor driving record. 

Whatever your reason for taking the exam, you naturally want to know what to expect when you go to the DMV on testing day.

Here is everything you need to know about the written driver’s test.

What Is the Testing Process Like?

The written driver’s test process will vary from state to state, but here are some general guidelines for what to expect (and some tips for making the process easier).

  • You may need to make an appointment for your written driving exam. But even if it’s not required, try to make an appointment. This will help you avoid stressful wait times where you’re sitting in the waiting area with nothing to do but wonder when they’ll call your name. 

  • It’s always a good idea to arrive 10-15 minutes early. Not only will this give you time to make sure you find the testing location, but it also gives you a few minutes for a final cram session. 

  • You’ll see at least 18 multiple-choice questions, but it may be more depending on your state.

  • Generally, most states require at least at 80% score to pass.

What Questions Are on the Written Driver’s Test?

Questions on your driver’s test must come from 20 general areas, according to federal regulations. These general areas include topics like safe operations of a vehicle, basic control, communications, speed, hazards, and extreme driving conditions. 

Common question types include:

  • Who has the right-of-way when…? Know your right-of-way rules!

  • How much distance should you keep between your vehicle and…? Distances are specific and need to be memorized if you’re going to get these questions correct. 

  • What does this sign mean? Study up on traffic signs and common vehicle warning lights.

How to Pass Your Written Driver’s Test 

Passing your written driver’s test starts with a solid driver’s education. Online driver’s ed courses are affordable and convenient, and best of all, they give you the information you need to pass your driving test. 

Your state’s DMV website can also be a good source of study materials. You’ll typically find a driver’s handbook with tips about what to study for your specific state’s exam. And many DMV websites have practice exams for you to help you get a feel for the types of questions you’ll see on your written driving test. 

Here are a few quick tips to help you on testing day:

  • Get a good night’s sleep so you wake up refreshed on testing day.

  • Include some brain food like walnuts or blueberries in your breakfast.

  • Get an answer in your head before you read the multiple-choice answers. This will help keep you from falling for oddly-worded questions and answers. 

  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, start by eliminating the answers you know are wrong. That way you’ll increase your chances of guessing the right answer.

  • Try to relax. You’ve got this!

Now that you have everything you need to know about the written driver’s test, you’re ready to pass with flying colors. If you haven’t already enrolled in your driver’s ed course, sign up today and start learning!

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