How to Pass the New York State Driving Test

The New York State driving test can be intimidating. Not only do you have to prove that you understand the concepts of driving in a written test, but you also have to prove that you have driving skills in a real-world road test. And there’s a lot riding on the results. You need to pass to get your New York driver’s license.

Luckily, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of passing your test.

Let’s look at what’s included on the New York State driving test so you’ll know what to prepare for. Then we’ll give you some specific tips to help you pass your test.

What Is Included in the New York State Driving Test? 

The New York State driving test is actually two separate tests: a written exam and a road test. 

The Written Exam

You must pass the written exam to get your learner’s permit. This test consists of 20 multiple-choice questions covering the rules of the road. You must answer at least 14 of the questions correctly to pass the test and qualify to receive your learner’s permit.

To help you prepare for your written test, the DMV has a helpful Driver’s Manual that includes a few practice tests. 

“You should focus on Chapters 4-11 of the manual because all the learner’s permit test questions come from those chapters," said Ashley, a worker at the New York DMV. "Make sure you take the online practice quizzes; they’re the same questions we use on the actual test. And take the road signs quiz a few times because you’ll see multiple road sign questions on the test.”   

Once you pass the written test and earn your learner’s permit, you’ll be able to start practicing your driving under the supervision of a licensed adult. If you’re under 18, you need to wait at least six months to schedule your road test to make sure you have enough time to get enough driving practice.

The Road Test

The road test is the last hurdle to getting your driver’s license. You’ll get behind the wheel with a DMV tester. The tester will instruct you to drive around your local testing area. Tests are conducted on open roads in real traffic conditions. 

You’ll be tested on common driving maneuvers like:

  • Accelerating and braking

  • Changing lanes

  • Making turns

  • Passing through intersections

  • Parking

Tips to Help You Pass the New York State Driving Test

Here are a few tips to help you pass both the written portion and the road portion of your driving test.

  • Go prepared. The DMV has a checklist of everything you need on the day of your road test.

  • Take advantage of the DMV’s Driver’s Manual. Read it and answer all the practice questions. 

  • Review the road signs section of the Driver's Manual several times. You'll need to show you recognize all the signs you pass during your test.

  • Take an online driver’s ed course with engaging course materials. Video lessons will help you remember the information better than reading alone. 

  • Arrive for your testing appointment early. This will give you a few minutes to relax and review your notes before the test begins.

  • Practice safe driving techniques. This includes staying under the speed limit, keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, positioning your vehicle properly in lanes, obeying street signs, and using your turn signals. 

What Happens if You Don’t Pass the Driving Test?

There’s no need to worry if you don’t pass the New York State driving test on your first try.

The $10 fee you pay with your driver’s license application covers up to two road tests. So if you don’t pass on the first attempt, you can try a second time at no extra cost.

And if you don’t pass on the second try, you can pay another $10 fee to get two more tries. This fee is non-refundable. So even if you don’t need a fourth try because you pass on your third try, you won’t receive a partial refund. 

Just pay attention to your learner’s permit date. If the permit expires before you pass your test, you’ll need to get a new learner's permit. You must have a valid learner’s permit to take your driving test. 

If you haven’t already enrolled in your required five-hour pre-license course, enroll today. Passing this course is the first step in passing your New York State driving test.

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