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What is The Theory Test?

The driving licence theory test was introduced in the United Kingdom back in 1996 as a means of enhancing not only the learner driver's perception of the road whilst driving but also as a way in which to increase the number of good drivers on our roads and reduce the number of accidents involving new drivers.

The Theory Test is designed to assess:

  • Driver's awareness of traffic signs and regulations
  • The driver's ability to understand the safety requirements of their vehicle
  • A driver's attitude to driving on densely populated roads and motorways
  • How a driver views the effects of alcohol, drugs and fatigue on their driving ability

What does the Theory Test Consist of?

The Theory Test consists of a two-part test taken in a controlled environment using specific software that allows the individual taking the test to interact with the information they are being given.

Theory Test (Part 1)

Part one of the Theory Test consists of fifty multiple-choice questions from which you must score no less than forty-three to achieve a pass mark. These questions are devised to test the learner driver's understanding of the Highway Code.

During the test, you will be invited to attend a special theory test centre where - normally in a group - you will be given fifty-seven minutes to take the test. You must answer forty-three of the fifty multiple-choice questions correctly in order to pass this part of the theory test. The test is carried out on a computer.

Theory Test (Part 2)

Part two of the Theory Test is the Hazard Perception Test. Implemented back in 2002 the Hazard Perception Test is designed to prove your ability to spot a hazard before it happens.

During the course of this part of the test, you will be shown fourteen different video clips and you must identify what you believe to be the signs of a potential hazard. These hazards can appear on many different kinds of the road such as country lanes and in busy suburban areas and it is important that you mark the hazard as soon as it becomes clear to you. Each scene will have at least one hazard to identify.

If you continuously press to indicate you've spotted a hazard, you'll be scored with a zero.

The pass mark for the Hazard Perception Test is forty-four out of seventy-five.

You will have to pass both parts of the Theory Test in order to receive a theory test certificate which you will be given on the day should you pass. If you do not pass you must wait fourteen days before booking another test.

You can buy official literature from the Driving Vehicle Standards Agency as well as a CD-ROM which includes sample Theory tests or you can try some of the practice Theory Tests (Part 1) online at their website. You can also book your Theory Test online at their website.

Some driving instructors - in particular, driving schools - will provide you with the necessary literature and discs so that you can practise and have your instructor test you.

When you attend the test centre for your theory test you must take your provisional driving licence with you.


Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated March 2016.