UK Driving Licence. Provisional and Full licence cards isolated on dark background.

Driving Theory Tests Explained

As you work your way through driving lessons, sooner or later you’ll come up against the inevitable “It’s about time we booked your theory test” line from your instructor. But what does that mean? How long will it take and more importantly are there ways you can guarantee a pass? Scrap Car Comparison has the answers below.

But first, if you’re concerned that after your tests are passed nothing awaits you other than an embarrassing hand-me-down car, then why not get ahead of the game and swap it for something you’d be happier being seen in. By using Scrap Car Comparison’s service, you’re guaranteed to get the very best price for your old car, and within a matter of days it will be collected directly from your door and replaced with a nice wad of cash in your bank account. All it takes is one quick phone call to see just how much your car could be worth, or using our online quote generator to get a price in as little as 60 seconds.

Smiling Teenage Boy In Car Passing Driving Exam

What is a driving theory test? 

The driving theory test is the first official examination that you’ll sit when beginning to think about setting out on the open road without a qualified driver supervising your every move. You won’t be able to book your practical driving test without a pass in your theory test first, either, so you’ll need to make sure you’re fully swotted up on all of your rules of the road before you sit it.

How long do theory tests last? 

The full length of a theory test is one hour and 20 minutes, although you don’t have to use all of the time if you are able to get through them quicker. 57 of these 80 minutes are made up of the 50 multiple choice questions, after which you can either take a three minute break or go straight into your 20 minute hazard perception test.

How much is a theory test? 

For most people, the cost of sitting a theory test is £23, as this is the flat rate for car, motorcycle and moped tests. Anyone looking to sit a test for a larger vehicle, a lorry test will set you back £26. Unlike the practical tests, the cost remains the same on weekends and evenings as it does for a weekday test. You may find weekends and evenings are slightly busier when you try to book.  

How to book a theory test

Booking a theory test couldn’t be easier. If you have access to the internet (which, if you don’t, begs the question how you found this blog), then all you need is your provisional driving licence number, your email address and a credit or debit card. Once you have all that to hand you’ll just need to visit the page for booking driving tests. If you don’t have an email address, then you’ll need to contact the DVSA on 0300 200 1122 to book your test.

What is the pass mark for a theory test? 

In order to pass your theory test, you’ll need to achieve at least an 86% success rate from your multiple choice questions, and 58.67% on the hazard perception. This means you’ll need to achieve 43 out of 50 on your multiple choice questions, and at least score 44 out of 75 on your hazard perception.

How many questions are there? 

You’ll be presented with 50 multiple choice questions to answer in the first part of your test, before you’ll move on to the hazard perception section. To complete the hazard perception, you’ll sit through 14 videos of everyday road scenes and you’ll need to identify a ‘developing hazard’ in each – although one will feature two. Five points are available for each successfully identified hazard, although no points will be awarded for clicking constantly or in a pattern.

How many times can you take your theory test?

There is no limit to the number of times you can attempt your theory test without success other than the depth of your own bank account. As long as you are able to pay the £23 fee each time, there’s nothing to stop you rebooking your test each time you fail until you pass. You’ll need to do this to be able to advance to the practical test.

How long is a theory test valid for? 

A pass on your theory test remains valid for two years, which should give you ample time to complete your practical test. If you are unable to get a practical, or failed to pass one, in this time, then you’ll need to resit your theory before you can go any further.

How to revise for your driving theory test

The easiest way to revise or prepare for an upcoming theory test is to sit some mock tests of your own. You can start by doing the learning mode on the online digital training offered by the DVSA. Once you regularly score above 18 on learning mode, it’s time to move up to sitting full mock tests. By completing all of the pre-set test papers online, you can be sure that you will have seen every question possible at least once. Keep working through these until you achieve a regular pass, and then start taking on the hardest questions. If you’re able to pass a test only made up of the most difficult questions, then you’re more than ready to take on the test itself.

Once you’re happy with your theory test, you can also take on some practice hazard perception films to prepare you for the type of video you are likely to see when it comes to your test.

What to take to your theory test

The most important thing to remember to bring with you is your provisional driving licence – failure to bring it will result in your test being cancelled there and then, and you will not get a refund. If you’ve lost your licence and still haven’t received your replacement, you’ll need to rearrange the test for a time when it has arrived, otherwise your test will be cancelled on arrival and you won’t get your money back.

You won’t be able to access your personal belongings during the test, and most test centres will have lockers to be able to store your belongings. If they do not have lockers you will need to ensure your phone is turned off and all personal belongings are put in a clear plastic container. Any refusal for examiners to check you’ve got nothing that could allow you to cheat will cause your test to be cancelled.

Top tips to help you pass first time

  • Don’t forget your licence. Forgetting it will be an instant fail before you’ve even started the test.
  • Don’t assume you’ve just picked up the knowledge during your lessons. Take the time to read through the Highway Code and revise as much as possible.
  • Ask your instructor when they think you’re ready, or at least be absolutely sure you’re prepared to take on the test. Going too early could result in a failure which could knock your confidence for future attempts.
  • Make sure you read the question and all of the answers carefully, and once you’ve clicked your answer, double check before you press submit. Remember you only have room for 7 wrong answers in all 50 questions, so you don’t have much wiggle room for mistakes.
  • Keep an eye open when watching the hazard perception tests – be hyper aware of what’s happening in front of you and do the same during your lessons.

If you’re about to head into your theory test and know that freedom lies just a couple more tests away, then you might be looking at the tired, depressing family hatchback in the driveway that’s been earmarked as your first car. No-one wants to take their mates for that first McDonalds drive-thru in their mum’s old car, so why not send it to the scrap yard and use the money you receive to get something a little more tempting.

You might not have thought of selling it because it’s so old and worn out that no-one would ever pay a good price for it, but that’s where Scrap Car Comparison comes in. No matter the condition, no matter the age, we’re here to get you the very best price for it. Not only that, we’ll also be able to provide a free collection service from anywhere in the country, so get started today and find out just how much your old car could be worth.

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