What is a Theory test?
Being a good driver is about more than handling a car. You also need to know what road-signs mean, what makes for good road etiquette and how to anticipate dangers before they happen. This is why the Theory Test is designed to help you 'read the road'.
It is a fact that 1 in 5 new drivers are involved in an accident in their first year. But research shows just three hours of 'hazard perception training' can really reduce the accident rate of new drivers.
What's the theory test like?
The test is made up of two parts - a multiple-choice section and a hazard perception section. You'll need to pass both parts before you can book a driving test.
Registering for your test
When you arrive at the test centre, you'll need to register so don't forget your provisional driving licence and proof of ID. Your booking letter will also tell you what to take. You'll then be shown to a booth with a computer that's ready for your test.
Multiple choice questions
In the booth, you'll find instructions on how to use the computer. You can even do a 15-minute practice test to get used to it. For the actual test, you'll have a maximum of 57 minutes unless you have a special requirement.
To pass, you'll need to get 43 out of 50 answers correct. All the questions are multiple choice and you touch the screen to choose the answers you want.
Hazard perception test
The hazard perception section of the test will begin automatically after the multiple choices. A tutorial video will show what you need to do.
The test itself is made up of 14 minute-long video clips featuring various hazards. You respond by clicking the mouse to avoid the hazards – the faster you respond, the higher your score. You'll see 15 in total, each with a maximum of five marks. For car drivers you'll need to get 44 questions right out of a possible 75.
Getting your results
After the test, you go back to the waiting room and we'll bring your results through. You'll need to pass both bits of the test in the same session to pass your Theory test. If you pass the Theory, you'll need to pass the Practical test within two years to get a driving licence.
How to prepare for your theory test
To prepare for your theory test, the Driver & Vehicle Agency recommends that you study the source material
Preparing for the theory test
The driving theory test has two parts:
- Multiple Choice Questions
- Hazard Perception
The multiple choice part
To prepare for the multiple choice part of the theory test you should refer to the source material detailed below.
The Highway Code
The Highway Code is essential reading.
Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison.
Knowing and applying the rules contained in The Highway Code could significantly reduce road casualties.
Know Your Traffic Signs
Traffic signs play a vital role in directing, informing and controlling road users’ behaviour. This is to make the roads as safe as possible for everyone and makes having knowledge of traffic signs vital.
There are three basic types of traffic sign – signs that give orders, signs that warn and signs that give information. Each type has a different shape. A further guide to the function of a sign is its colour.
You can practise the multiple choice part of the theory test online to test your knowledge and understanding of the source material.
The Essential Skills
DSA produces books in the essential skills range. The books provide everything you need to learn about, and maintain, safe driving or riding skills for life.
You can buy the essential skills range from most high street book shops and online
The hazard perception part
DSA has developed a training DVD for the hazard perception test called ‘The Official Guide to Hazard Perception’.
You can buy the DVD from most high street books shops and is also available online
The DVD has information about:
- defining hazards
- looking for clues
- the ‘mirror – signal – manoeuvre’ routine
- scanning and planning
- prioritising hazards
- cutting down the risks
- responding to hazards
The DVD also has a number of interactive examples of hazard perception video clips.
Top tips for Passing Your Driving Theory Test
The multiple-choice part
- The best way to prepare for this part is to go through the whole question bank by taking one topic at the time.
- By using this approach you will see that some questions are identical with identical answers but they are written in a slightly different form.
- This should help you training yourself to read each question carefully and not jumping straight to the answer.
- After completing each topic make a note of the areas that you find difficult and always refer to the Highway Code.
- By using the Theory Test Pro website provided by Brighton Marina Driving Lessons you will be able to practice a short or full session of questions.
- Review and spend extra time on weak areas until the correct information are stored in your mind.
- Take as many mock tests as possible to improve your confidence and to get familiar with the system.
- A good indication that you are ready is when you are fully confident with all the topics and you are able to answer correctly at least to the 90% of the questions.
- Talk to your driving instructor to get advice on difficult topics.
- Spend a little time every day to prepare for this part. Your brain is more likely to store information when it works on a certain subject more often.
The hazard perception part
The best way to prepare for this part is without doubt developing your observation skills either during your driving lessons
or whenever you sit in a vehicle as a passenger. Look for clues that might indicate a potential hazard ahead, these includes:
- Warning triangular signs
- Junctions, bends and roundabouts
- Pedestrians and cyclists
- Vehicles emerging from driveways and junctions
- Narrow roads with parked vehicles or roadworks (watch out for roadworks signs).
When you see a potential hazard clicks on the mouse and keep an eye on it.
If you see that the hazard develops click again and, to make sure that you didn't click too early, click another time.
Note: when I say keep an eye on it that does not mean staring at the point only, keep scanning the whole screen as you would normally do when driving.
You are approaching a driveway and a vehicle is waiting to emerge, click on the mouse. As you get closer the vehicle start moving, CLICK NOW and after 1 second click again.
You spot a school warning sign before a bend: be alert.
After the bend you see a traffic controller at the side of the road (fluorescent jacket), click on the mouse. The traffic controller steps in the road CLICK NOW and after 1 second click again.
This way is still considered “acceptable clicking” and ensures that, if you click too early, you still don't miss the highest score.
However if you click indiscriminately you will earn a zero for "clicking in an unacceptable manner".