Before you can book your practical driving test, you will need to have passed your theory test. The good news is that you can take your car theory test on or after your 17th birthday, as long you have a provisional licence, which you can apply for 3 months before you turn 17.
There are two parts to the theory test;
- A multiple-choice test
- A hazard perception test.
Both parts will need to be completed on a computer and both must be passed in order to obtain a theory test pass certificate.
The multiple-choice test will test your knowledge of the Highway Code. The test allows 15 minutes of practice time at the start of the exam to get used to answering the questions and how to use the system.
There are 50 questions to answer in 57 minutes. You will be able to review your answers at any time during the test and can flag questions that you are unsure about and would like to return to later. To pass the multiple-choice test, 43 of the 50 questions (86%) must be answered correctly.
Hazard Perception Test
The hazard perception test will exam your ability to spot a developing hazard. The test will be made up of 14 video clips, filmed from the perspective of a driver, which feature everyday driving scenes. In each clip there will be at least one developing hazard, but one of the clips will feature two developing hazards.
You should respond by clicking the mouse as soon as you see a hazard developing that may result in you, the driver, having to take some action, such as changing speed or direction.
A stationary car parked by the side of the road in the distance would not be considered a developing hazard and you would not score any marks if you were to click at this point. If, as you get closer, you notice the parked car now has its indicator on, suggesting the driver intends to pull away, you should click to show you have identified the parked vehicle has changed its status from a potential hazard into a developing hazard.
The earlier you notice a developing hazard and make a response, the higher your score. The maximum you can score for each developing hazard is five points. The maximum number of marks available for the hazard perception is 75 and you’ll need at least 44 to pass.
The car theory test costs £23, so you want to make sure you pass first time. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have many resources to help you brush up on the highway code and to practice both parts of the test. The DVSA have produced an official theory test handbook which is packed full of useful tips and example questions, as well as an app that can be used on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer.