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The Theory Test

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Before you can drive a car on the road using L plates you must take and pass your theory test. Once armed with your theory certificate you have two years in which to take and pass your practical test before you have to consider taking another theory test. The test itself will consist of a multiple choice section which tests your knowledge of the Highway Code and Street Sign awareness, as well as a hazard perception test. You will receive your results and, if you pass, your certificate on the day that you take your test.

What Is The Theory Test

The theory test is a part of the test process that is aimed to ensure that you are both safe and competent enough to drive legally on public highways. It will take approximately one and a half hours to complete if you are learning to drive a motorcar or ride a motorcycle. Separate tests are available if you intend to learn in a lorry or bus and these will typically take longer to complete.

What Is The Aim Of The Theory Test

The aim of the theory test and the reasons that it was introduced was as a means of ensuring that people were safe and were able to drive competently once on the roads. Prior to the introduction of the Theory Test, the examiner would ask two or three questions relating to the Highway Code and to driving on the road before the practical test began. It was decided that something more resolute was required.

Booking Your Test

You can book your test by phone or post once you have found details of your local test centre. Typically, you will be given a choice of dates and will then be given a time and date within two weeks of your chosen date. You are able to rearrange or cancel your appointment. Booking by phone enables you to pay by credit or debit card while postal applications need to be accompanied by either a postal order or cheque payment.

Multiple Choice

The first section of your theory test is the multiple choice section. Here you will be presented with a list of questions and will be expected to choose the most appropriate answer. In some cases you will also be presented with a case study followed by five questions relating to that case study. All multiple choice questions will be completed on computer screen.

Hazard Perception

With hazard perception you will be shown a video clip and are required to click a mouse button as soon as you see a developing hazard. All but one of the clips will contain a single developing hazard but there is one clip that includes two such events. The sooner you identify the developing hazard, the more points you receive.

Hazard Perception Scoring

Following a break of up to three minutes after your theory test you will begin the hazard perception section. The aim of the hazard perception test is to identify developing hazards, rather than potential hazards. For example, a parked car is no more than a potential hazard until it indicates at which point it may become a developing hazard. You will have five opportunities to identify a single developing hazard and the sooner you recognise it without clicking too early the more points you will receive.

Passing Your Test

It is necessary to pass both parts of the theory test; failing one part means failing the whole test and you will need to retake the whole thing if you wish to try again. For a car motorcycle test you need to score a minimum of 43 out of 50 in the multiple choice section and 44 out of 75 in the hazard perception section of the test. The lorry and bus test requires that you score 85 out of 100 and 67 out of 100 respectively to pass the test. Check our page on how to prepare for your theory test.

Certificates And Scoring

As soon as you have finished your test you will be given your scores by a member of the examination team. If you have successfully passed your test then you will receive your pass certificate. You should keep hold of this because it will be required when you take your practical test and your potential driving instructor may ask to see it before they arrange and book any lessons with you. You must pass your practical test within two years of passing your theory test.

Your Driving Theory Test

The theory test is a part of the overall driving test and you must have successfully passed this element of your test before you are allowed to drive a car under instruction on the roads. You will have to successfully navigate a multiple choice section and a hazard perception stage in order to pass and to receive the certificate that you will require to continue.

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