Driving test instructor examining pupil

If you’re learning to drive you’ll know that you have to pass a Theory Test as well as a Practical one. Here’s our simple guide on what to expect and where to find more information

  • You must take the Theory Test before you take the Practical. Before you can take your theory test you will need to make sure you have a valid provisional licence. Normally for car drivers, the earliest date your provisional licence can become valid is your 17th birthday, however you can apply up to 3 months before your 17th birthday. If you are receiving disability living allowance (at the higher rate) your provisional licence will come into effect when you are 16, but you can apply for it within three months of your 16th birthday. However, there’s nothing stopping you from reading up on it before then.
  • The Theory Test costs £31.00. You can apply for it by post with form TT26, which is available from Theory Test Centres, driving test centres, or by phone by calling the Driving Standards Agency Information and Booking Service on 0300 200 1122 (which can also give you the location of your nearest test centre)
  • You can also find your nearest test centre – and book a Theory Test online.
  • The test itself consists of two parts. There is a multiple-choice questionnaire of 35 questions that you have 40 minutes to complete; the pass mark is 30. The second part presents you with 14 video clips of possible hazards, which you need to identify. The pass mark for the hazard perception part of the test is 44 out of 75.
  • The best form of preparation is to buy a copy of The Highway Code and read it thoroughly several times.
  • It’s a good idea to give yourself a couple of mock tests – you can find practice papers in The Official Theory Test for Cars and Motorcycles, published by The Driving Standards Agency, or you can take a mock test online. Or you can book yourself onto a course at a driving school, or a school or college.
  • The Theory Test will make more sense once you have started to learn to drive. If you’re having professional lessons, ask your instructor if he or she will talk to you about possible Theory questions during your lesson.
  • Another useful source of information is the British School of Motoring, whose website allows you to practice both parts of the test, for a reasonable fee (currently £13.99 per month). You will need access to broadband for the Hazard Perceptions mock test.
  • There are also PC CD-ROMS that mimic the test questions and which cost around £10 or can often be rented from your local library. For an independent view of the best training aids, visit the Teaching Driving Limited website for theory test advice.

Remember: the more preparation you do, the more likely you are to pass the Theory Test – and the better driver you’ll be, too.

And now that you’ve passed your theory test, you can concentrate on getting that practical test passed too! But don’t forget, before you get behind the wheel and out on the roads you’re going to need some car insurance. Direct Line can give you a Good Deal Better on car insurance.