Theory / Practical Test

Currently, there are two tests that need to be passed in order to obtain a full driver’s licence. First the theory test and then, within 2 years of passing this, the practical test.

Theory test

The theory test is made up of two parts, both of which differ according to the type of vehicle licence the candidate is pursuing:

blue tick Multiple Choice Test
blue tick Hazard Perception Test

Both parts must be passed in order to obtain a theory test pass certificate. This enables the candidate to book a practical driving test. Candidates have two years from the date that they passed the first part of their theory test to take their practical test, or they will have to pass both parts of the theory test once again before they can book a practical test.

Multiple Choice Test

This part of the theory test is performed on a computer system. The test has 50 multiple choice questions and the candidate must answer at least 43 of them correctly to pass. Each question may have one or more correct answers and this will be indicated in the question. All questions are randomly selected from a bank of just under one thousand on a selection of topics.

The test lasts for 57 minutes although candidates with certain special needs can apply for more time All 50 questions must be answered. The test allows 15 minutes practice time at the start of the exam to get used to answering the questions and how to use the system. To answer a question the candidate simply touches their choice of answer from the listed answers on the computer screen. If a mistake is made the candidate can deselect a choice and reselect a different option. The candidate is allowed to go back to a question at any time and can also flag questions they are unsure of in order to find and return to it quickly and easily later.To pass the test, 43 of the 50 questions (86%) must be answered correctly.

Hazard Perception Test

The Hazard Perception Test is a computerised part of the driving test. Candidates are shown multiple short video clips of driving scenarios and must respond to the hazards they see as if it were a real-life experience. A variant of the test is required to attain a driving licence . All of the clips will include at least one, and at most two, developing hazards. The sooner an examinee reacts to a developing hazard, the more points are scored, from five down to one, with no score if the examinee reacts too late. Thus the maximum possible score is 75. The pass mark is 44 (58.6%) for car drivers.

For the purposes of the test, a “developing hazard” is defined as something which requires the driver to adjust speed and/or direction to avoid the hazard. Potential hazards are road hazards for which no immediate action needs to be taken, but are worth observing in case their status changes. Clicking on potential hazards is acceptable, but the scoring window only opens if that hazard develops. Therefore, candidates have to remember to react if the status of a hazard changes, and not just when the potential hazard is first spotted.

If one clicks several times during the allotted time, the computer will take your highest score and record that for that particular clip. If you don’t click the mouse button in this window of time, you will score nothing in respect to that hazard. If lots of unnecessary responses are made in a very short space of time or throughout the clip, a score of zero will be recorded for that clip.

The Driving Standards Agency encourages learner drivers to read the highway code and practice their theory and hazard perception skills before they begin their driving lessons. There are many software packages available in CD format, online or for touchscreen devices for this purpose. Learner drivers can sit the Theory Test and Hazard Perception Test from the age of 17. Those on the higher rate component of Disability Living Allowance are able to take the test at 16.

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For more information about the areas we cover and operate please visit our ‘Areas Covered‘ page.

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