The driving theory test is the first thing a learner driver needs to pass in order to get onto the road. You can take the test at any point while you're learning to drive, but you must have passed it in order to take your practical test. So the sooner you get it done, the better. But how do you pass the theory test?

In this guide, we will explain:

  • How you can prepare for the driving theory test
  • What the theory test includes
  • How to pass the theory test and hazard perception test
  • How many marks you need to pass the theory test
  • And more


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What is the Driving Theory Test?

The driving theory test is a two-part test of your road awareness. It is designed to prepare you for the road and give you some knowledge of:

  • The Highway Code
  • Road Safety
  • How to Spot Hazards
  • Car Care
  • And More

It includes multiple-choice questions and a hazard perception test. You book both parts together, sit one straight after the other and must pass both in the same sitting in order to pass the test. You can't book your practical driving test without passing the theory test, but you can have driving lessons before sitting the test.


What is the Hazard Perception Test?

The hazard perception test is a series of 14 video clips that test your ability to spot hazards on the road. This usually takes the form of a developing accident or near-miss that you can expect to encounter during everyday driving.

13 videos include 1 hazard and the other includes 2. You can score a maximum of 5 points per hazard, which means that you can score a maximum of 10 points on the clip with two hazards. The sooner you identify the developing hazard, the more points you get (as in real life you would have stood the best chance of avoiding the collision).


black cow walking into long, straight road in South American country with blue sky and mountain in background

While you might not get this exact scenario during your hazard perception test, you need to be able to decide how you quickly to react to "developing hazards" like this one in order to pass. Photo by Agustín Lautaro on Unsplash


How to Pass the Theory Test

There are a few simple things you can do to give yourself the best chance of passing your theory test, both before and on the day of the test.


Brush Up - A Lot

The DVSA (Driving Standards Agency) recommends 20 hours of revision to prepare for your driving theory test. That might seem like a lot but there are over 1,000 questions available and the computer will select from them randomly, so you need to know what you're talking about. Study the Highway Code and other theory books and make sure you practice, practice, practice with friends and family.


Take A Practice Test or Five

You can never be too prepared. In fact, the more practice theory tests you take, the more confident with the format and the time pressure you get. And that makes you less likely to get flustered on the day.

There are plenty of free websites out there which offer mock theory tests, but your best option would be the Driving Test Success Limited app (£4.99). They have every official DVSA question stored in their database plus mock hazard perception tests and other learning resources.


Turn Up Early

This might seem obvious, but there's getting there early and then there's getting to the test centre with three minutes to spare. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive, check in (you'll need to be able to show your photocard ID to sit the test), put your phone and all other belongings in a locker and get yourself in the right headspace to sit the theory test. The more time you have to prepare and familiarise yourself with the test centre, the less stressed and panicked you'll feel.


Take Your Time

There is no rush to finish the theory test as quickly as you can. You have 15 minutes before the test begins to get used to the software and answer some practice questions to get yourself warmed up.

Make use of this! You might also discover an issue with the software which can be resolved before your test starts and means you won't lose any time.


Stack of blue books on black background, highway code and other resources for driving theory test

Physical resources are also helpful. Books such as the official Highway Code are worth borrowing to help you study the rules of the road and prepare you for your test


How to Pass the Hazard Perception Test

Preparing for the hazard perception test gives you the best chance of passing on your first attempt. Here are some top tips to help you ace your hazard perception test.


Practice, Practice, Practice.

Once again, nothing beats honest hard work. You should including practicing for the hazard perception test into your 20 hours of revision. While it might sound easy, the scenarios are much more difficult than you think. If you go into the test without any practice, it's easy to get overwhelmed.


Put Your Learning Into Practice

Theory test waiting lists can be very long. You might have weeks or even months to prepare for your test - so make use of it. Start honing your hazard perception skills early while in the passenger seat. The earlier you spot hazards in real life, and the more you can spot, the easier the test will be and the less likely you'll be to crash when you pass!


Pay Close Attention

You'll need to be able to define a "developing hazard" and react accordingly to score enough points to pass the hazard perception test. If you're distracted as the hazard develops, you won't score as many points - and that lack of focus could make all the difference! Give the test your full concentration and then relax once it's all over.


Remember That One Clip Has Two Hazards

Never stop focusing on the clip until it's completely finished. One of the clips is worth double points because two hazards will develop during it - don't lose out on 5 points simply because you've spotted a hazard in the first 10 seconds!


Don't Spam the Mouse

It's not a clever tactic guaranteed to get you the most points. The software can and will invalidate a clip if it thinks you're clicking too much. Get pinged for this too often and you will automatically fail. The same goes for clicking once every few seconds instead of when you notice a hazard. You can't cheat the system.


Those are our top tips to help you pass your driving theory test, but there are a few other things you need to know in order to give yourself the best chance of passing at the first attempt. Here are 4 more things you need to know.


How Long Do I Have For the Theory Test?

In total, you have 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete the driving theory test. This breaks down into:


57 minutes for the multiple-choice questions & case study

3 minutes for a break (optional)

20 minutes for the hazard perception test


You don't have to take a break in the middle and you don't have to take the full 57 minutes for the multiple-choice questions and case study - but you shouldn't rush yourself. You can continue as soon as you're happy with your answers, but take as long as you need.


How Many Questions in the Theory Test?

There are 50 questions in the driving theory test. 45 of these are multiple-choice, each with four possible answers, and the final 5 relate to a case study.


What is the Theory Test Pass Mark?

You must answer 43 of these 50 questions correctly to pass the theory test.

During the 57 minutes, you can go back and review as many of these questions as you like. You can also skip some if you don't know the answer and come back to them later. Mark them with a red flag and return as many times as you need to make sure you're 100% confident with your answers.


What is the Hazard Perception Pass Mark?

You must score 44 points out of the 75 available to pass the hazard perception test.

Unlike the multiple-choice section, you can't review any of the questions and you only get one attempt at each clip.


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