Friday 28 April 2017

Driving Theory - Need to Knows!

Hey Guys!

Hope you're all well. 

Today's post is going to be about one of my favourite things to do, and that's driving. I wrote about my road trip adventures around this time last year and you seemed to enjoy the post so here we are again, this time with some tips for your theory test. Let me know if you find them useful, if you do I can do a follow up guide with tips for the practical test!

It was exactly this time back in 2007 that I was preparing ahead of my theory test which I took and passed on my 17th birthday, the day before I had my first actual driving lesson. It was so daunting and all of the information I went off was a CD rom I got on my Tesco clubcard vouchers, things have changed a fair bit since then though so I'm going to lay out all the information you need in this post, basically everything I would have wanted to know and be able to access.

Why take the test? 

When you're learning to drive the theory is an important part of that, you learn about the highway code, hazard perception and that information is critical for safety on the road. You also need to take the theory test before you can apply to take the practical one, so it is a compulsory part of the passing journey. There is really good information about the test on Pass ‘N’ Go’s comprehensive driving theory test FAQ and you can get in touch with them with any questions you have. 


For a standard car theory test, it will set you back £23 and this doesn't change whatever day you decide to take it on, for people with Safe Road User Awards it is £18.

Multiple Test Bookings?

You must rebook your theory test if you have failed the original theory test that you sat. The date you select for a resit must be at least three working days away from the booking date.

While you can’t book multiple theory tests , you do have the option to change the date of your solitary theory test appointment. You can make the following alterations:

· You can find an earlier date for your theory test.
· You can move your theory test to a later date.
· You can change the test centre where you would like to sit your theory test.

Can a theory test be done online?

No. A theory test must be sat in person at a theory test centre.

You can take a free mock test of the multiple choice portion of the theory test on the GOV.UK website. This is made up of 50 questions just like in the actual driving theory test.

There’s also The Official DVSA Guide to Hazard Perception DVD-ROM for learner drivers to get to grips with hazard perception skills on their PC or Mac.

Is the theory test free?

No. Only GOV.UK’s practice theory test, consisting of the multiple choice portion of the driving theory test, is free.

Which theory test do I need to take?

The majority of drivers will be required to sit the standard theory test, priced at £23; the abridged theory test is also available to those who have a Safe Road User Award.

However, you won’t be required to sit a driving theory test in the following scenarios:

· When you’re booking a driving test to upgrade a car licence.
· When you’re booking a driving test to upgrade a motorcycle licence that you’ve held for a minimum of two years.
· When you’re booking a driving test to upgrade a lorry or bus licence.
· When you’re booking a taxi driving test.
· When you’re booking a tractor driving test.

What age can I sit a theory test?

As soon as you turn 17 years old, you can take a driving theory test.

If you receive or have applied for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you can sit the theory test as soon as you turn 16 years old.

How long is the theory test waiting list?

According to this report by Book Theory Test Today, the DVSA aims to achieve a target of 95 per cent of driving theory test candidates receiving a theory test appointment no longer than two weeks from their preferred date. 

Where are theory test centres?

You are never too far away from a theory test centre, with a huge number dotted across the UK. The easiest way to find your nearest centre is by using GOV.UK’s simple postcode search service.

Are theory test centres open on Saturdays and bank holidays?

Not all theory test centres are open for business on Saturdays or bank holidays. Fortunately when booking your test you will be advised whether or not you can sit it on a weekend or bank holiday.

Do theory test questions change?

Questions will change from one theory test to the next. However, all questions are based on the following three books:

1. The Highway Code by the Department for Transport
2. Know Your Traffic Signs by the Department for Transport
3. The Official DVSA Guide to Driving — The Essential Skills by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

How do theory tests work?

Each theory test consists of the following:

A set of 50 multiple-choice questions, some of which will be presented in a case study whereby:

A short story is shown and then five questions will be given based on this.
A real-life situation that you could come across while driving will be detailed.
A hazard perception test consisting of 14 separate video clips.

At the end of the test, you must score at least 43 out of 50 for the multiple-choice questions and 44 out of a possible 75 points for the hazard perception test. Both parts of the test must be passed.

How long do theory tests take?

You have a maximum of 57 minutes to get through the 50 multiple-choice questions. Additional time can be requested for this part of the test if you have reading difficulties, though proof must be sent to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency in the form of an email or a letter supplied from:

A. A doctor or medical professional.
B. An independent party who is aware of your reading difficulty — your employer, for example.
C. A teacher or other educational professional.

This proof should be sent to one of the following two locations:

1. DVSA theory test enquiries, via the email address
2. By post using the address: DVSA Theory Test Enquiries, PO Box 1286, Warrington, WA1 9GN.

Up to three minutes can be taken as a break between the multiple-choice portion of the test and the hazard perception test. There is no time limit as such for this part, as this is based on how long it takes for all 14 video clips to be shown.

If you have obtained a Safe Road User Award within the three years prior to sitting your theory test, take note that you can sit a shorter version of the theory test. This is known as the ‘abridged theory test’, which will see you answering 35 multiple-choice questions with the aim of getting 30 out of 35 to pass. There are no changes to the hazard perception test though — it still consists of 14 video clips.

To book an ‘abridged theory test’, you must contact the DVSA theory test booking support team via the phone number 0300 200 11 22 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday and have the following to hand:

· A credit or debit card to pay for your test.
· Your provisional UK driving licence number.
· Your Safe Road User Award certificate number.

Does a theory test include hazard perception?

Yes, all theory tests are made up of a series of multiple-choice questions and then a hazard perception test. You must achieve passes in both parts of the test in order to pass the overall theory test.

Does the theory test include the highway code?

Yes, due to the questions in the theory tests being based on the following three books:

1. The Highway Code by the Department for Transport
2. Know Your Traffic Signs by the Department for Transport
3. The Official DVSA Guide to Driving — The Essential Skills by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

Are driving theory tests timed?

Yes, there is a 57-minute time limit on the multiple-choice portion of the theory test. However, you aren’t expected to use the full allocated time — you can finish this part of the test at any time once all questions have been answered.

A break of up to three minutes can also be taken between the multiple-choice part of the theory test and the hazard perception test. Again though, this entire time does not need to be taken.

Are theory test questions multiple choice?

Yes, every one of the 50 questions that you will be presented with will come complete with several possible answers. You simply need to select your answer from the list for each question.
The hazard perception part of the theory test

What are hazard perception tests?

The hazard perception test is a video assessment which trials you on your effectiveness at spotting hazards on the road through a series of 14 video clips.

Each video clip consists of the following:

· Everyday road scenes.

· At least one ‘developing hazard’ — this is something that would cause a driver to take an action, such as changing their speed or direction — though one clip will feature two developing hazards.

Points are scored if you spot the developing hazards as soon as they begin to occur.

What is the hazard perception pass score?

You need to score at least 44 points out of a possible 75 points available in order to pass the hazard perception part of the theory test.

How does the hazard perception test scoring system work?

Each developing hazard within the hazard perception test can see you score up to five points. The sooner you click your computer mouse to indicate that you see the hazard is starting to develop, the higher the score you will achieve.

Take note that you cannot lose points if you click your computer mouse and get the timing of the hazard developing wrong. However, no points will be scored for a developing hazard if you click your computer mouse continuously or in a manner that is seen as a pattern.

How long does the hazard perception test take?

There is no time limit as such for the hazard perception test; this portion of the theory test lasts as long as the 14 video clips take to be viewed as you only receive one attempt at each clip.

How much does the hazard perception test cost?

The hazard perception test must be taken as part of a theory test, so the charge is £23 for a theory test if you’re learning to drive a car and £18 if you have a Safe Road User Award and so are able to sit an abridged theory test.

Do theory tests expire?

Yes. When you pass your theory test, you will receive a letter that contains your pass certificate number. This number is needed when you book and take your driving test but it only lasts for two years from the time that it is produced. Fail to pass your driving test within those two years and you will be required to pass your theory test again.

Where is the theory test pass certificate number?

The theory test pass certificate number will be recorded within a letter that you will receive at the test centre as soon as you pass your theory test. You must keep this number safe, as it is required in order for you to both book and take your driving test.

What is Theory Test Pro?

Theory Test Pro is a highly realistic online simulation of the UK’s driving theory tests, containing every official revision test question that has been licensed by the DVSA as well as complete access to the hazard perception test. When compared to the national average, learners who used Theory Test Pro were twice as likely to pass their theory test. Click here to find out more about Theory Test Pro and how to get started on the system for free.

And finally a little history of the theory test:

When did theory tests start?

The theory test was introduced across the UK in 1996, where it replaced the requirement for questions about The Highway Code to be asked during the practical test.

The sources mentioned in this post are below so you can check them out easily:

Hope you all found these details helpful! If you think anything is missing or have any of your own tips please comment them down below!

Thanks for reading! Love Sally X



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