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Driving Theory Test
Theory and Hazard Perception
When should I do my Theory Test?
You should aim to take (and pass) your theory test as soon as possible after you start learning to drive - you can book your test on your 17th birthday as long as you have a provisional driving license.
This is for three important reasons:
1. You cannot book your practical driving test until you have passed your theory test.
2. Driving theory is the rules of the road! Knowing what the road signs and markings mean is a very important part of being able to drive safely.
3. Recognising hazards and reacting to them is an everyday part of being able to drive.
How do I book my Theory Test?
You can book your Theory Test through Direct Gov
What is the Theory Test?
There are two parts to the Theory Test - the first is a set of multiple choice questions based on your knowledge of the highway code. There are 50 questions, and you have to get the right answers to 43 to pass. You have 57 minutes to take the test, but most people finish long before this. You do get the opportunity to review your answers, so if you were not certain of a particular question, it's worth going back again to check it.
The second part of the test is Hazard Perception. You will be shown a series of 14 video clips - 13 clips will contain one developing hazard, and 1 clip will contain two. There are 15 hazards to spot in all.
A developing hazard is something that will mean you have to change speed or direction - for example, someone stepping out into the road. The earlier you notice the hazard developing, the more marks you will get. The maximum score for each hazard is 5 marks. You show you've noticed the hazard by clicking the mouse.
You watch the video from the viewpoint of the driver.
You might see a car parked at the side of the road - this is not a hazard as such, and pressing the mouse at this point would not get you any marks. However, if the indicator on the car starts to flash to show it might be about to pull out, this is a potential hazard developing. You would click when you see the indicator come on, and again if the car starts to pull out in front of you.
To get the best marks in this part of the test it is best to practice so you understand what you need to do. You do not get a chance to review your answers, and once you've clicked you cannot change your mind.
The pass mark for the Hazard Perception test is 44 out of 75.
When do I get my result?
You will get your result as soon as you finish both the tests. You have to pass both tests to pass your theory - if you fail one part you have to retake both.
Your Theory Pass result is valid for two years - if you haven't taken and passed your Practical Test by then, you will have to retake your theory.
How do I prepare for my test?
You must prepare for your test - it is very unlikely you will pass unless you take this seriously.
You will need to read the Highway Code - not just once, but a few times, taking care to make sure you understand everything that is in it. If you have any questions ask your driving instructor.
If you are a passenger in a car it's a good idea to watch out for the different markings on the road, and the different road signs, and to ask what they mean, and what you are supposed to do. Understand lane markings on the road in a real situation makes it easier to understand it on paper.
If you have an iphone or android phone, or if you have a computer there are practice theory tests that you can download for free, or for a very small sum. Make sure you are getting at least 43 marks regularly before you go for your test.
From the 1st January 2012 new multiple choice questions were added to the test. The Driving Standards Agency are keeping these questions confidential. This means there will be questions in your test which will not have been published in any product, publication nor on any website. This is to make sure that you have read and understood the Highway Code, and have not just learned the answers to the questions.
This does not mean that practicing the questions is a waste of time, just that some questions in the test will be ones you won't have seen before. Practicing will mean you are used to the way in which the questions are asked.
There are also apps for the Hazard Perception test - make sure you use these, otherwise it will be harder for you to understand what you need to do when you get to the test centre.
Passing your theory test is the first step to being independent on the road. You will probably be nervous when you go to the Test Centre, so make sure that you have prepared as thoroughly as possible. Not passing will not only mean you will not be able to book your practical test, but will also mean you have to pay to sit the test all over again.