Before you book your practical driving test, you will need to pass your driving theory test.

Read on to find out what the theory test is, how it works, and how to stand the best chance of passing.


How Can I Pass the Theory Test?

To stand the best chance of passing your theory test, we would suggest that you do the following:

  • Book your theory test early
  • Take a mock exam before the real test
  • Get to know the Highway Code
  • Be aware of time limits during the test
  • Read the questions carefully
  • Try to spot hazards whilst on the road
  • Remember your provisional licence

If you would like to practice for an upcoming test, you can take a practice theory test on the website – you can take free mock theory tests for both the multiple-choice questions and the hazard perception test.

Alternatively, there are books you can buy about the Highway Code, traffic signs, and the DVSA’s guide to driving which can all help you study for the theory test.

A stack of blue books relating to the Highway Code and Theory Test on a black background.

Take some time to study before your theory test. 


What Is the Driving Theory Test?

The driving theory test is designed to assess your driving knowledge and hazard perception skills.

It was first introduced in 1996, replacing questions about the Highway Code during the practical test.


How Many Questions Will There Be?

During the multiple-choice section of the test, you will be tested on your knowledge of the Highway Code and official DVSA guidance on driving skills.

There will be 45 multiple choice questions and 5 questions relating to a case study, which will be presented as a short story based on a potentially real life situation.

You can skip any questions you aren’t sure about and try to return to them before the time runs out.

During the hazard perception test, you will be shown a short video explaining the process.

You will then watch 14 video clips of road scenes with developing hazards – in other words, things that would cause the driver to take action in some way.

One of these video clips will contain 2 hazards.

You can score points by spotting hazards as they develop – scoring up to 5 points per hazard.

The earlier you spot the hazard, the more points you’ll earn – but clicking the screen continuously or in a rhythm to find the hazard will get you 0 points.

You will only get one try at each clip – you cannot pause the videos, or go back and review or change your answers.

Only clicking once may suggest that you have not seen any of the potential hazards in the clip.

However, you will not lose points for clicking at the wrong time, or for getting it wrong.


What Will I Be Asked?

During the multiple-choice section of the driving theory test, you could be asked what to do in certain scenarios, like what you should do next at the traffic lights.

For instance, you could be asked which signal will show next at a set of traffic lights, or what to do when approaching a zebra crossing where a wheelchair user is waiting to cross.


When Can I Take the Theory Test?

You can take the theory test from the day you turn 17 – as soon as your provisional licence becomes valid.

You can take it from the day you turn 16 if you have applied for – or have – the enhanced rate of the mobility section of the Personal Independence Payment.


How Do I Book My Driving Theory Test?

You can book your theory test easily online.

You will need your UK driving licence number, email address, and a credit or debit card to complete the process.

You must have lived in England, Wales or Scotland for at least 185 days in the last 12 months before the day that you take your theory or driving test.


How Much Does the Theory Test Cost?

The theory test costs £23 for cars.

The theory test can cost more depending on the vehicle you drive – ranging from £26 to £177 – and whether you book the test for a weekday or an evening, weekend, or bank holiday.

Please know that driving test centres will not always offer evening and weekend driving tests.

Tests taken past 4:30pm are counted as evening tests.


What Do I Need to Bring with Me to the Test?

You will need to bring a photocard driving licence with you – you may lose your booking fee and not be allowed to take the test if you do not bring the correct form of ID.

If you only have the old paper licence, you will also need to bring your signed driving licence and a valid passport.


What Happens on the Day of the Test?

Make sure that you give yourself enough time to prepare by arriving at the test centre at least 10 minutes early.

When you arrive, you should present the administrator with your provisional licence so that they can confirm that you are booked in.

You can then sign in and will be asked to put your belongings in a locker. Your pockets must be empty, and you should remove any watches or bracelets.

Remember to switch off your phone before placing it in the locker.

Before the test, you will be asked to review the rules of the test.

You will then be taken to the exam room and assigned to a computer where you can sit your theory test.


How Long Do I Have to Complete the Test?

You will have 57 minutes to complete the multiple-choice section of the test.

Once you have submitted the first part, you can have a 3-minute break or choose to carry on with the hazard perception test right away.

The hazard perception test takes 20 minutes.


What Is the Theory Test Pass Mark?

The theory test pass mark is 43 out of a possible 50 available points.


What Is the Hazard Perception Pass Mark?

The hazard perception pass mark is 44 out of a possible 75 available points


What If I Need Additional Support?

If you have a reading difficulty, disability, or health condition, then you can get other support during your theory test.

You can ask to hear the test through headphones when you book.

If you send proof that you have reading difficulties when you book – in the form of an email, letter or report from a teacher, doctor, occupational therapist, or online dyslexia screening product – then you can be given extra time to take the test.

You may also be given the option of having someone read what’s on the screen and record your answers, or to reword the questions for you.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will select the type of support for you when you book your test if it is agreed that you need extra support.

You can also take the theory test in British Sign Language (BSL) or have a BSL interpreter with you during the test if you are deaf or have a hearing impairment.

If you have another disability or health condition, you can contact the DVSA to discuss this before booking the test.


What Happens When I Pass My Test?

If you pass your theory test, you will receive a letter with a pass certificate number at the test centre.

You will need this letter when you book and take your driving test.

The pass certificate number lasts for 2 years. You must pass your driving test in this time, or you will need to pass the theory test again.


We hope that you have enjoyed learning about the driving theory test.



When Do You Not Need to Do a Theory Test?

Why Is the Hazard Perception Test Part of the Driving Test?

What Happens If I Fail My Test?