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Theory and Hazard Perception Test (UK)

Updated on January 17, 2017
Theory Test Complete (PC)
Theory Test Complete (PC) | Source

Everything You Need To Know About Taking Your Driving Theory Test

All UK learner drivers have to pass a driving theory test before being allowed to take their practical driving test.

There are two parts to the theory test - the multiple-choice test and the hazard perception test and both parts must be taken and passed at the same time to count as an overall pass.

Find out more about what's involved in the theory test and how to prepare for it with recommended theory test study materials to give you the best possible chance to pass your Theory Test!

Who Needs To Take A Theory Test?

If you are a learner driver you must take and pass your theory test before you book your practical test. If you already have a driving licence you might not have to take another theory test if you want to start driving a different vehicle.

UK Licence Holders - you need to take a theory test if you want a licence for a new category of vehicle, for example, if you have a car licence and you want a motorcycle licence you will need to take a theory test. If, however, you want to upgrade within a vehicle category you will not normally need to take a theory test, for example, if you have a full automatic car licence and you want a manual car licence you will not have to take a theory test. It is your responsibility to make sure you have the correct licence for the vehicle you are driving

Foreign Licence Holders -

EEA Countries - If you hold a valid Community licence and you are visiting Great Britain, you can drive any vehicle for as long as your licence remains valid. The appropriate full entitlement for the vehicle you wish to drive must be shown on your licence.

Non EEA Countries - If you hold a full driving licence issued outside the EEA it may be possible to exchange it for an equivalent British licence. You should contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to find out if you can exchange your foreign licence.

If you cannot exchange your foreign licence you will have to apply for a British provisional licence and take a theory and practical test

For more information click the following link:

Theory Test Pass Rates

In 2013/14 the national theory test pass rate for Category B (Car) was 51.6%

source: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

What Is The Theory Test?

What do you have to do in the Theory Test?

The theory test is made up of two parts;

1) 50 Multiple Choice Questions

2) Hazard Perception Test consisting of 14 video clips, each clip lasting around a minute. There are a total of 15 hazards.

You must pass both the multiple choice and hazard perception parts at the same test appointment to achieve an overall pass.

If you pass one part, but fail the other, you will have to book another appointment to take BOTH parts of the test again.

The test is carried out under exam conditions in a dedicated Theory Test centre entirely on a touch screen computer (you do have the option of using a mouse if you prefer!). Headphones will need to be worn throughout the entire test.

A voiceover can be requested in which the questions and answers are automatically read out to help those with reading difficulties, or for whom English is not their first language.

How To Book A Theory Test

You can book your Theory Test online on the GOV.UK website - you pay ONLY for the test & there is no extra booking fee

There are "Theory Test booking services" on the internet who will book a test for you BUT will charge you a hefty booking fee on top of the test fee

THERE'S NO NEED TO PAY EXTRA!

CLICK THE LINK BELOW to book your theory test yourself online at GOV.UK

Booking, cancelling or changing the date of your Theory Test

You will need;

1) A valid, signed UK provisional driving licence

2) A valid debit or credit card for payment (Visa, Mastercard, Delta, Visa Electron, Switch/Maestro and Solo cards are accepted)

Book your theory test online at GOV.UK

Where Can I Take My Theory Test?

Theory Test Centre Locations

The test is carried out by Pearson VUE on behalf of the Driving Standards Agency at theory test centres throughout the country.

There are 158 theory test centres and you can take your test wherever you like!

How Much Does It Cost To Take A Theory Test?

The fee for the theory test is £23.00 (2017)


How Many Theory Tests Are Taken Each Year?

Over 1.5 million theory tests are taken every year!

What Happens During The Theory Test?

Procedure at the Theory Test Centre

Before you set off, make sure you know where the Theory Test centre is and if you are travelling by car, make sure you know where to park. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed to take the test and will lose your test fee.

You must be at the test centre at least 15 minutes before the time scheduled for your test to allow the test centre staff time to book you in.

You should take your test appointment letter with you and your provisional photocard driving licence.

Once you have been registered at reception you will then be taken to the test room. You may not take anything into the room with you - all personal items must be stored in the lockers provided including mobile phones and watches!.

Once you're in the test room you may not talk to or distract other candidates.

The computer screen will display your name and the category of test you're taking.

If you have any problems during the theory test, you should raise your hand to attract the attention of the test invigilator.

Before the test starts you'll be given instructions on how the test works.

You can then choose to go through a practice session of the multiple choice questions to get used to the layout of the test. At the end of the practice session the real test will begin.

You then have a maximum of 57 minutes to answer 50 questions, although you do not have to use the whole 57 minutes if you do not wish to.

After the multiple choice part, you can choose to have a break of up to three minutes before the hazard perception part starts. You must however, remain seated and silent during this time. The Hazard Perception test will begin automatically after 3 minutes or if you do not wish to wait, it will begin when you click the mouse.

After the break you will be shown a short tutorial video clip about how the hazard perception part works.

At the end of the hazard perception part of the theory test you'll be invited to answer a number of customer survey questions. You don't have to answer the questions if you don't want to, and any information given is anonymous and confidential. The survey questions don't affect the result of the test.

When you have finished the test you may leave the examination room. Once you have left the room, you are not allowed to enter it again.

You will then return to the reception area and be given your result by the test centre staff.

Video: the DVSA explain the theory test

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is the Government agency responsible for the Theory test. They have prepared a step-by-step video guide to tell you more about what to expect from the multiple choice questions and the hazard perception part of the test.

Preparing For The Theory Test

Preparing For The Theory Test - How Well Do You Think You're Doing? - If you are currently studying for your Theory Test, how do you think you're doing?

If you are currently studying for your Theory Test, how do you think you're doing?

See results

You need to score a minimum of 43 out of 50 in the multiple choice part of the test

You are allowed 57 minutes

Theory Test Part 1 - Mulitiple Choice Questions

Theory Test multiple choice questions

The first part of the theory test consists of 50 questions covering various driving topics. You are given several answers and asked to choose which is correct. You will have to select one answer for most questions, but there are a few questions where you will need to select several answers, so make sure you read all the questions thoroughly!

From 28 September 2009, the multiple choice section has included a "case study" in the form of a scenario, or short story, on which five questions are based. For more information about this change to the Theory Test and to see some example Case Study scenarios and questions, please see; Theory Test Case Studies

The questions appear on a computer screen and you touch the screen (or use the mouse if you prefer) to select your answer or answers from the selection given. You can navigate between questions and 'flag' questions that you want to come back to later in the test.

You will be given the opportunity to work through a practice session lasting up to 15 minutes to familiarise yourself with the system before the test.

You need to score a minimum of 44 points (out of a possible 75) in the hazard perception part of the test

Theory Test Part 2 - Hazard Perception

Hazard Perception Test - a test of your ability to spot and react to potential hazards on the road

The Hazard Perception Test is a test of your ability to spot and react to potential hazards whilst driving.

The hazard perception part of the test follows the multiple choice section and will commence automatically after a break of up to three minutes.

You are shown a tutorial video first that explains how the test works.

For this part of the test, you will need to wear the headphones provided.

The test itself consists of 14 video clips of around a minute each.

Each clip contains numerous hazards including parked cars, pedestrians, moving vehicles and so on. When you see a hazard developing that might result in the driver having to take some action, specifically changing speed or direction, you should click the mouse. The earlier you respond to the situation arising, the better and the higher you will score.

You won't be able to review your answers to the hazard perception test - in order for the test to be as much like real driving as possible, you only get one chance to respond to the developing hazard.

The maximum score for each hazard is 5.

13 of the 14 clips contain one hazard with the other clip containing two.

How To Study For Your Theory Test

Driving Test Success All Tests 2014/15 For Theory Test Study

Driving Test Success All Tests 2014/15 (PC or Laptop)
Driving Test Success All Tests 2014/15 (PC or Laptop) | Source

The software featured in the video clip above is "Driving Test Success" by Focus Multimedia.

"Driving Test Success" is available as a CD ROM (computer software) for use on a PC and also as a DVDi (interactive DVD) for use on a DVD player or compatible games console (i.e. any games console that will play DVDs!).

Driving Test Success All Tests has been the UK's best-selling complete learner driver pack for many years now and it contains EVERYTHING that learners need to study for and pass the Theory test - and lots more!

The pack shown to the right is for use on PCs and laptops and consists of 1 x PC DVD-ROM which includes:

  • all of the official DVSA Theory Test revision questions with answers and full explanations
  • high quality hazard perception video clips
  • unlimited topic revision and practice tests
  • digital edition of the Official Highway Code
  • progress monitor
  • printable workbook and mock test papers
  • over 50 driving lesson videos
  • video of a full mock driving test
  • all the Show Me Tell Me vehicle safety questions from the Practical test with explanations
  • FREE online updates until the 31st December 2015

Windows 8 / 7 / Vista

KEEP THE PRINT-OUT OF YOUR TEST RESULT VERY SAFE AS YOU WILL NEED THE THEORY TEST PASS NUMBER PRINTED NEAR THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE IN ORDER TO BOOK YOUR PRACTICAL TEST.

The Theory Test pass is valid for 2 years from the date you pass the test and you must pass your Practical Test before the end of that two year period. If you do not pass your Practical Test within this time limit, you will have to take the Theory Test again!

Your Theory Test Result

Have you passed your Theory Test? You'll find out before you leave the test centre!

When you have finished the test you may leave the examination room.

Once you have left the room, you will not be allowed to enter it again.

You'll then be given your result by the test centre staff.

You must pass both the multiple choice and hazard perception parts at the same time to achieve an overall pass. Scoring 50 on the multiple choice is insufficient to pass overall if you only score 43 on the hazard perception.

From April 2008, the DVSA no longer issue separate Theory Test pass certificates. The pass number is now printed at the bottom of the results sheet.

© 2008 LouiseKirkpatrick

Theory Test Comments/Questions - Comments or questions about the Theory Test? Put them here...

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    • profile image

      hgvtrainingpoint 5 years ago

      The whole set up around driving tests has changed so much. Theory - never heard of in my day. Great that this information on theory tests is available, learner drivers shouldn't leave anything to chance and do everything they can to get informed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I didn't know there was so much in the way of Driving Standards Agency literature - all useful stuff too! I love the gift ideas for learners especially - I wish someone had been able to think of that back when I was learning to drive !

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      smooth lens, videos were great, earned a 'thumbs up' from this dude.

    • profile image

      grifith 6 years ago

      Very Good Lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I would like to say this has been very informative and useful

      Thank you v much

    • profile image

      jballidis 7 years ago

      Thank you for this informative lens. As a California injury lawyer practicing in Orange County, California, I see the consequences of not following driving rules on a daily basis. It was interesting to compare the amount of learning and preparation that is required in order to drive in the UK to what is required in the US.

      I look forward to reading future posts to this lens! Recently, I created a lens on pedestrian rights, http://www.squidoo.com/pedestrian-accidents . Hopefully, you will have a chance to check it out. Thank again for this great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thanks for this post.I passed my theory test just a month back and yes after failing it twice before. There is one website which I found really useful – www.pass-test.co.uk

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Taking drivers test on Malaysia is much easier :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great lens. 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      can anyone help me with my theory test am from ireland and want 2 drive over here am 20 if yeah heres my msn michelle-brooker@hotmail.com thank u