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Theory and Hazard Perception Test (UK)

Updated on August 8, 2021
LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

Louise Kirkpatrick owns a driving school in the East Midlands region of England.

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There Are Two Parts To The Theory Test

All UK learner drivers have to pass a driving theory test before being allowed to take their practical driving test. You can take the theory test from your 17th birthday onwards.

The test is carried out by Pearson VUE on behalf of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) at theory test centres throughout the country and you can take your test wherever you like.

You need a provisional driving licence to book your theory test.

The theory test is made up of two parts:

  1. 50 Multiple Choice Questions
  2. A 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.

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 Part 1: 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!

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 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.

You need to score a minimum of 43 out of 50 in this part of the test.

Theory Test Part 2: Hazard Perception Test

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 will be shown a tutorial video first that explains how the test works.

The test consists of 14 video clips of around a minute each and you will need to wear the headphones provided.

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.

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

Theory Test Pass Rates

In 2019/20 the national theory test pass rate for Category B (Car) was 55.7%

source: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

Preparing For The Theory Test

Don't underestimate how tough the theory test is to pass! The best way to ensure that you don't risk failing and therefore having to pay again to take the test is to prepare thoroughly for both parts of the test.

Study and lots of practice are essential. There are no shortcuts! You will need to be able to identify traffic signs and understand everything in The Highway Code as well as be able to identify and react promptly to potential hazards when driving.

There is a wide variety of apps and software available to help you prepare. Whatever method you choose, make sure that you practice enough to pass both the multiple choice and hazard perception elements consistently before actually taking the test. If you're not achieving consistent pass marks, it's far better to move your test to a later date rather than get demoralised if you fail.

Official DVSA Theory Test Kit
Official DVSA Theory Test Kit
Study anywhere, anytime by downloading this great value app to get essential unlimited practice for both the multiple choice and hazard perception parts of the test. This comprehensive study resource from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) includes EVERY official DVSA car theory test revision questions and answers, 34 official practice hazard perception interactive video clips, The Official Highway Code to help you revise all the latest road signs and rules as well as timed mock tests and progress tracking so that you know when you're ready to take the test.
 

How To Book Your 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

Please be aware that 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. Always make sure you book via GOV.UK using the link below.

You will need:

1) A valid, signed UK provisional driving licence

2) A valid debit or credit card for payment. The fee for the theory test is £23.00 (2021)

Book your theory test online at GOV.UK

What To Expect At The Theory Test Centre On The Day Of Your Test

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

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

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

  • If you have failed the theory test, the results sheet will give you details of which parts of the tests you did not score sufficient marks to pass, so that you know what you need to do some further work on. You won't be able to book and take the theory test again for three days.
  • If you have passed, your theory test pass number will be printed at the bottom of your results sheet. KEEP YOUR RESULTS SHEET SAFE AS YOU WILL NEED THE THEORY TEST PASS NUMBER 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!


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

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© 2008 LouiseKirkpatrick

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