Research shows that more than four in 10 people fail their driver’s test at the DMV. Specifically, out of 500 drivers, around 44% can’t make it past the written portion of the test.
As you prepare to take your exam, these statistics might daunt you.
The good news? You’re more than capable of passing your test! You just need to know a few tips to help you study hard and retain what you learn.
That’s why we’re here. Today, we’re sharing our top advice on how to pass a written driving test at the DMV.
Ready to learn more? Rev it up and let’s take off!
What Does the Written Part of the Driving Test Cover?
Before we dive into how to pass this part of the test, let’s cover the basics, first.
If you wish to operate a motor vehicle on state public roads, you’ll need to obtain a driver’s license from your state’s DMV office. While most of the applications are the same, there are different steps required for some special circumstances. A few examples include:
- Minors under the age of 18 applying for their initial license
- Drivers applying for a CDL license
- Drivers applying for a motorcycle license
If you’re a minor heading to the DMV for the first time, most states will require that you enter into a graduated license program. While your driving privileges will be restricted at first, those limitations will loosen as you gain experience, usually over the course of three stages, as follows:
- Learner’s stage: Permit
- Intermediate stage: Provisional license
- Full privilege stage: License
In all circumstances, there will be some form of written test included in your application process. All drivers applying for a license of any kind are required to take it.
Although specific testing policies will differ from state-to-state, one standard holds true: The questions for the written portion of the driving exam are derived from material included in your state’s DMV handbook!
Some of the most common topics to know include:
- Road signs
- Traffic control
- Intersections and turns
- Defensive driving
- Parallel parking
- Driving record information
- Alcohol and other drugs
- State-related driving knowledge
Your handbook should be your go-to resource for everything test-related. If a topic isn’t in there, you don’t need it.
How to Pass a Written Driving Test and Hit the Road
Now that you know a little more about what to expect, how can you put your best foot forward and pass this part of the test? Here are 10 ways to knock it out of the park.
1. Take an Online Driving Course
Are you looking for an interesting and engaging way to learn, review or refresh your state-specific driving laws and procedures?
An online driving course can be an interactive way to practice for the real thing! With our platform, you can select either a one-hour course or a six-hour course depending on your needs. We even adjust the information provided to match the legal requirements in your state!
Both courses can help you strengthen your defensive driving skills. The study materials are delivered through a narrated video that makes the course material fun and easy to retain.
The best part? Once you complete the course, you could qualify to save up to 10% on your insurance premiums per policy, per driver, per year for up to three consecutive years!
These convenient courses are a great idea for both first-time drivers as well as those more experienced behind the wheel who are looking to sharpen their skills.
2. Study Your State’s DMV Driver’s Handbook
Of course, one of the most effective ways to study for the written driver’s test is to head straight to the source. We’re talking about your state’s DMV Driver’s Handbook!
You can drop by any local DMV office in your area to pick up a free copy of the handbook for yourself. Or, most states also offer a downloadable copy on their designated DMV website!
Once you have your copy, don’t allow it to take up residence on your end table, never to be looked at again. Instead, you’ll need to study this manual front to back, digesting all of the key points.
That means it’s time to break out the highlighters, create flashcards, and start underlining. Every sentence in the manual is a potential test question. While you won’t need to memorize the manual word by word, this isn’t the time to skim mindlessly.
3. Take a Practice Test
They say that practice makes perfect, and this is especially the case when it comes to driving. Most of us were terrified the first time we stepped on the gas pedal, but after a while, it became an ingrained habit.
The same holds true for both hands-on and written knowledge. The more you try your hand at the test, the better you’ll get.
Hop online and take a practice test or two. Most state DMV websites will include practice questions that allow you to test your knowledge and identify any areas of weakness.
In addition, there are also myriad driving test sites centered on providing study materials, practice tests and more. This is a great way to get a feel for the kinds of questions you can expect. Just make sure you’re looking at the right information for your state!
One word of advice: It’s important to thoroughly vet any study material you come across. Remember that the questions will come from your DMV handbook. If you notice anything during your studying that’s in disagreement with this guide, reference the guide for the more accurate information.
4. Organize by Topics
After you’ve read through the manual at least once and taken a practice test, try to organize the material into a list of general topics. Once you’ve consolidated them all, you’ll be able to direct your study time toward the topics that give you the most trouble.
Use your manual to take a deep dive into all of the difficult subjects that deserve a second look!
5. Find a Study Partner
Unless you’re very self-motivated, it can be difficult to commit to solo studying. To add a layer of encouragement and expertise, find someone willing to study alongside you!
This might be someone who’s taken the test in the past and knows what to expect. Or, it could be a fellow driver taking it for the very first time. Either way, it helps.
Research shows that studying in groups is a more effective way to learn than on your own. You’re more likely to stay on track, and a little friendly competition could be the nudge you need to hunker down and take this test seriously.
6. Designate a Review Time
Think you’ll squeeze in a little flashcard review while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office? If you’re only making time when time allows, you won’t get very far.
The reality is that we’re quicker-paced than ever before. Everyone is crunched for time and we’re all trying to squeeze 25 hours a day out of the clock. As such, it’s easy to let studying for your written DMV test slide in favor of more pressing, everyday needs.
To keep your mind fresh, designate a time every day to spend at least 15 to 20 minutes reading your DMV written test study guide or other materials. This way, the information is always top of mind and easier to recall down the road.
7. Re-Read and Re-Test
It isn’t enough to scan through your handbook one time, half-heartedly click through an online practice test and think that you’re ready. Doing so could render all of your efforts fruitless!
What should you do? After you’ve completed all of your study materials, go ahead and start right back at square one.
Review the material again and take the practice tests as often as you can before the big day! These materials are either free or cost-effective, and they’re well worth the investment.
8. Set Everything Out the Night Before
Thirty minutes before your written exam begins isn’t the time to be searching for your keys. While you won’t need to bring anything special to your exam besides yourself, go ahead and get everything prepared at home the night before.
This might mean setting your clothes out, preparing your breakfast ahead of time, or making special arrangements for your family. This way, the only thing you have to focus on when you wake up is getting to the DMV and acing your test!
9. Stay Calm and Focused
Studies reveal that around 16% to 20% of people experience test anxiety, or the onset of nerves right before a big exam. Do you turn into a bundle of nerves any time you think about sitting down at the desk to take your driver’s exam?
While it’s easy to become overwhelmed when you consider all that’s at stake, try to remember how much you’ve prepared for this. To the best of your ability, try to stay calm and focused all the way through the test.
If you allow your anxiety to reign, you’re more likely to fly through the test and miss important information or even entire questions. Pace yourself, read every word and take a few deep breaths.
Other proven ways to induce a sense of peace before a test include:
- Taking deep breaths
- Practicing mindfulness meditation
- Conducting head-to-toe muscle relaxation
- Repeating an empowering mantra
- Visualizing a positive outcome
These tried-and-true relaxation techniques can help you replace the butterflies in your stomach with a true sense of confidence!
10. Keep Positive
Though it might feel like it as you stare down at your test, try to remember that DMV isn’t against you! In fact, these professionals are on your side and rooting for you to drive away with your license.
Use this knowledge to propel you to great heights as you enter the testing center. Before and during your test day, try to remain as positive and empowered as possible. This confidence will then spill over into all other areas of your life, making you a more diligent and focused student.
Go slow and try not to get discouraged if you come up against a question that’s super tough. Rationalize your way through it and try to recall where it fell in your DMV handbook and list of topics.
Final Test-Day Preparations
No, the DMV test isn’t designed to torture you. Rather, it’s an essential way to demonstrate your competencies and ensure the pros in the office that they can trust you with a license.
As you prepare, remember that the written test is only half of your overall DMV license testing process. In addition, you’ll also have your driving test, where you can demonstrate your skills on the open road.
When you’re ready to make things official, it’s best to call ahead and make an appointment to make sure there are plenty of DMV representatives on hand to work with you.
Refresh and Renew Your Defensive Driving Techniques
Resist the urge to Google, “How to pass a written driving test” and throw the advice of the first website against the wall, hoping that it sticks. Instead, begin as early as possible and stick with it!
One of the topics you’ll cover on your written test is defensive driving. If you’ve never dove into this information before, it can be daunting.
That’s where our study material comes in.
Available to test drive for free, we’d love to share our online defensive driving courses with you. Self-paced, mobile-friendly and devoid of any hidden fees, it’s a no-brainer in your quest to pass your test with flying colors.
Start your demo today and see what all of the buzz is about!