DMV Written Exam Guide
How To Pass The DMV Written Driver’s License Exam
Although states vary somewhat in their requirements to obtain a driver’s license, they all require you to take and pass a DMV written exam.
Often you will have to take a written exam for both your learner’s permit and your regular operator’s license, and you will usually have to take another one if you transfer your driver’s license to a different state.
Other written exams are required for advanced driver’s licenses, such as a CDL for commercial drivers.
Applying To Take The DMV Written Exam
Many states will require you to complete an approved Driver’s Education Program and take a vision test at the license branch before you will be eligible to take the DMV written exam, and most will require you to present the following documents:
- Proof of identity, a birth certificate and/or other valid identification.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship.
- Proof of state residency in the state for which you’re applying for a license.
Make sure to check with your state’s DMV division to make sure you have all the documents you’ll need before you go to the license branch.
Taking The Written Exam: What To Expect
Most states use a multiple-choice format for their DMV written exam, and you’ll typically take it in either a paper or computerized format. The test will have to be taken on the premises with DMV personnel present, and some states require you to make an appointment to take the exam. The number of questions on the exam varies from state to state, and you’ll have to correctly answer a high percentage of them to pass.
The questions on the DMV written exam are intended to assess your general knowledge of the subjects you need to know to be a safe and competent driver, including:
- Normal rules of the road such as changing lanes, passing, vehicle clearance distance, right-of-way at intersections and stop lights, etc.
- Common road signs and road markings.
- Operating a vehicle in specific situations such as in school zones, when emergency vehicles are approaching, in bad weather, darkness, and slippery conditions, and when pedestrians and/or bicyclists are sharing the road.
Preparing For And Passing The Test
Regardless of what state you’re taking the DMV written exam in, all of the answers will be found in that state’s official Driver’s Manual, which can normally be obtained free of charge at the license branch, or ordered online.
The questions on the exam will be chosen at random from the manual. Some tips for passing the test the first time:
- Take the time to really study the manual, not just skim over it once or twice. Some questions on the exam will be easy, but others will require a reasonable knowledge of the material in the manual.
- Take some practice tests to prepare. Many sites offer these online, and it’s possible your state may offer some too.
- Stay calm, and be aware that even if you fail the DMV written exam the first time, you’ll be able to take it again.
Be sure to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for specific information on taking the DMV written exam.