Theory Test

Documents to bring to your driving theory test

You must bring your driving licence with photographic identification to your theory test

On arrival at the theory test centre

Once you have been registered at reception you’ll 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’re 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’re taking.

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

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.

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.

To prepare for the multiple choice part of the theory test, there are three books known as the source material, these include The Highway Code, Know Your Traffic Signs, and the relevant vehicle Driving Skills series.

The complete set of theory test questions and answers is also available in book and CD-ROM format.

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 on-screen 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.

Hazard perception

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has developed a modular, multi-media training resource for the hazard perception test. The resource is available in DVD and VHS video format and is called ‘The official guide to hazard perception’; this was formerly known as ‘Roadsense’.

This training resource adopts a structured approach to defining hazards, looking for clues, the ‘mirror- signal- manoeuvre’ routine, scanning and planning, prioritising, cutting down the risks and responding to hazards. The DVD also has a number of interactive, example hazard perception video clips.

The hazard perception training material has been developed, not as a ‘teach yourself’ product, but as one where guidance from a professional trainer is essential.
Integrating theoretical hazard perception training into the practical training sessions will ensure that as competence is achieved in each of the necessary skills, they can be strengthened and applied while you are on the road to increase the road safety benefits.

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 higher 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.