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The Theory Test

Since 14 November 2002 you will be asked to answer 35 multiple choice questions, followed by a test of your hazard perception skills. You will need to pass both parts of the theory test at the same sitting to obtain your theory test pass certificate.

Why has the test changed?

Each year around 3,400 people are killed on Britain's roads. New drivers take much longer to recognise hazardous situations than more experienced drivers, and many driving test candidates have poor scanning and anticipation skills. These skills are vital for safe driving. By introducing the new hazard perception part to the test, we hope to encourage more drivers to develop hazard perception skills while they are still learning to drive.

What is the multiple choice part of the test?

This part consists of 35 multiple choice questions covering a wide range of driving topics. By touching the screen, you select an answer, or answers, from the selection shown. To pass you must answer 30 or more questions correctly in 40 minutes. You have the option of working through a practice session lasting up to 15 minutes to get used to the system before starting the actual test.

How does the hazard perception part work?

After a break of up to three minutes, the hazard perception part will start. You will be shown a tutorial video first. This uses sample footage with a sound track (headphones supplied), which will explain how to complete this part of the test. You may repeat the tutorial once more if you wish. The test consists of 14 video clips, each lasting about one minute. The clips feature various types of hazards, such as vehicles, pedestrians and road conditions. You should respond by pressing a mouse button as soon as you see a hazard developing that may result in the driver having to take some action, such as changing speed or direction. The earlier the developing hazard is spotted, and a response made, the higher the score. Candidates can score up to five marks on each hazard and the test contains 15 scoreable hazards.

The pass mark for this part of the test is 44 out of 75 for car drivers and motorcycle riders.

Those taking LGV or PCV (lorry or bus) tests must score at least 50 out of 75.

Candidates are given their results when they have finished both parts of the test and have returned to the waiting room.

How do candidates with special needs sit the test?

Candidates who have special needs, which are not met by any of the facilities listed below, may apply to have longer than the standard time of 40 minutes to take the multiple-choice part. Such requests should be made when booking the test.

Facilities for candidates with special needs include:
- for car and motorcycle candidates, using a headset to listen to the test being read in one of 20 other languages. This will help candidates who do not understand or read English, or who wish to take the test in their first language. These languages are Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Dari, Farsi, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Kurdish, Mirpuri, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Pushto, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu and Welsh.
- large goods vehicle drivers and passenger carrying vehicle drivers can use a headset to listen to the test being read in English and Welsh.
- for all candidates, using a headset to listen to the test being read in English. This helps those with dyslexia and other reading difficulties.
- an on-screen video of the test being signed in British Sign Language for car and motorcycle candidates who are deaf or have other hearing difficulties.

Preparing for the new theory test

It is strongly recommended that all candidates prepare thoroughly for the test. Suggested reading matter includes 'The Highway Code' and 'Know Your Traffic Signs'. In addition to this there are official theory test books and CD-Roms containing the multiple choice questions. The CD-Roms show screens similar to those used in the multiple choice part of the test and information about hazard perception. There is also a DVD or video and booklet package called 'RoadSense', which is the official guide to hazard perception for all drivers and riders. Being a safe driver with good hazard perception skills means being able to use speed correctly, keeping the correct distance between yourself and other road users, scanning the road effectively, anticipating and planning for potential hazards. All these skills can be taught effectively. You should prepare with a professional instructor as part of a structured programme of on-road tuition, covering the recommended syllabus.

Booking your theory test

Master Card, Visa, Switch, Delta, Solo and Electron are accepted.
Application forms are available from test centres, Approved Driving Instructors or the booking number opposite. Forms need to be sent with a cheque, postal order or credit or debit card details.
Tel: 0870 01 01 372

Ordering Learning Materials
For videos including RoadSense, Inside View 2 and What if? for cars or motorcycles:
Tel: 0870 241 4523
Fax: 01709 881 673
For theory test CD-Roms for cars and motorcycles or large goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles:
Tel: 0870 241 4523


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