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Learning to drive

Theory test FAQs

We get a lot of questions about the theory test, so I thought I'd share some here along with a bit of advice.

This advice is based on tips other people have shared, my own theory test experience and a whole lot of trawling student forums - hopefully together we've got it covered!

  1. What's the best way to revise for the theory test?

    • Get the DVSA theory test book. Yeah, a real book, made of paper. I really believe that having a physical book in front of you helps you remember - you'll internalise the layout of the pages, the order of the chapters...all things that can jog your memory later.
    • Next, work on the DVSA theory test CDs. These are great for doing mock tests as it gets you used to the format. Do 'em over and over.
    • Have a look at some theory test apps. The best (obviously) are ones you have to pay for, like the official DVSA theory test app. However, I do actually think that the free ones are a good way to keep your mind focused on the job in hand, and you can do it on the bus. Just don't rely on a free app to get you through by itself because their question sets are often limited. Do your research with this Telegraph review of the best theory test apps.
    • Ask someone to test you every night for the week before. This is really what helped me most. Speaking out loud is a great way to cement things in your memory and even getting things wrong helps - you'll remember the conversation you had about the right answer. All the little jokes and tantrums that this method brings out will stick in your mind.
  2. I swear the questions in the actual theory test are different?!

    • Do you have the most recent book? That's the first thing to check - if you've inherited yours from an older sibling or ordered it cheap from Amazon, you might find it's out of date. Go to the DVSA site to check when the latest theory test book / CDs came out.
    • It might seem like you got in the theory test room and were faced with a bunch of questions you'd never seen before in your life - but there are 1,000 questions. You'll have to answer 50. That's a lot of questions and it could be you skipped a few in your revision.
  3. How much clicking is TOO much in the hazard perception?

    • You will be penalised if you just do random clicking and hope for the best. I actually messed up a bit when my finger went into a weird spasm and I did a series of accidental clicks...failed that clip!
    • The idea of the hazard perception is to identify hazards and developing hazards. That means a click when you SEE the hazard (car backing out, horse at the side of the road) and another click if it CONTINUES to be a hazard. I saw someone say that they did it by clicking the hazard and then asking themselves "Is it still a problem?" and clicking if it is.
  4. Why did I fail the theory test?

    • There are 2 main reasons for failing the theory test: not revising enough and nerves. If you revise enough, you will feel less nervous, so the revision really is the key.
    • Stay positive. If you go in thinking "I'm just going to fail again" you've already given up and your brain is not going to perform its magical memory tricks with that attitude.
    • Failing once could very easily be because you're scared. The next time, you know exactly what's going to happen, you're not hung up on worrying where the test centre is - you're ready to just do the test and ace it.
    • What marks did you get last time? I've mostly seen that people fail on the multiple choice questions but they're the ones you actually have complete control over! Keep studying, keep testing. You've got this.
    • There was a woman who failed the theory test 110 times: you don't need to worry yet.

Ready to go? Take a look at our complete guide to taking your theory test.


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Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .