Taking your driving theory test can be daunting. But as with any exam, preparation is key.
The problem is that there are hundreds of mock tests and practice questions online, and not all of them are genuine. Official resources come from the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) that sets the test.
You don’t want to waste time and even money on innacurate, out-of-date or over-simplified material that doesn’t resemble the real test.
Read on to find out how the theory test works. Then discover our list of the 8 best official driving theory test resources, including practice exams and mobile apps, to help you pass first time.
The theory test is designed to test your knowledge of driving skills and rules. You must pass it before you can take your practical test.
The exam is split into two parts. The first is a set of multiple choice questions covering rules and regulations for driving. The second is hazard perception that tests your ability to spot and respond to dangers in the road.
The DVSA suggests you should complete at least 20 hours of study and revision before you take the theory test.
Multiple choice test
This theory test contains 50 multiple choice questions chosen at random from a bank of more than 1000. You must get at least 43 correct to pass.
You will have 57 minutes to answer the questions, which should leave time at the end to check your answers. You may also flag questions to come back to them later.
Hazard perception test
The hazard perception test contains 14 one-minute video clips filmed from the driver’s point of view. In each video is a hazard that you must recognise, and one video will contain two hazards.
This exam tests your ability to spot a developing hazard that will cause the driver to take action. This could be a pedestrian stepping out in the road or a car pulling across your lane. You click when you first spot the hazard developing and the earlier you click, the more points you will get, to a maximum of five points per hazard.
But you cannot just click randomly – the software is designed to give you no points if you click too much or click repeatedly throughout the video. There are 75 points available and you need at least 44 to pass. You get one practice clip before the test starts, and a ten-second countdown before each clip.
Now you know how the theory test works, it’s time to get learning! Here are the best official resources to help you pass first time.
#1 – The Highway Code
This is the rule book for the roads, containing all the regulations and laws you need to follow. It’s the source of many of the theory test questions.
#2 – Know Your Traffic Signs
This handy book contains all the traffic signs you’re likely to see on the roads and what they mean.
Bonus resource: test your sign knowledge with this free traffic signs quiz.
#3 – Driving: The Essential Skills
This driver’s manual is extra study for the theory test. It covers advanced driving skills and techniques for any roads and weather conditions. It’s full of advice on what to do in any driving situation, plus tips on vehicle maintenance essentials and making your fuel last longer.
#4 – Official DVSA car theory test revision material
This is the ultimate driving theory practice test for the multiple choice section. It gives you all the learning material in clear, bite-size chunks and tracks your progress as you go. The content has helpful images and diagrams, quick test sections and thorough study resources.
It’s divided into three sections: Study, Practice and Mock Test. Work through each study section, practice with the test questions then take the mock test to check how much you’ve learned.
This resource works across different devices, from your laptop to your phone. It costs from £7 for one week’s access to £25 for a year’s access, depending on how long you want to take.
Available from the DVSA Learning Zone.
#5– Multiple choice practice tests
The DVSA has also provided two free practice tests for the multiple choice section. You can take them here.
#6 – Hazard perception practice test
It’s important to practice taking the hazard perception test, so you understand how it works. The DVSA sells a DVD for £15.99 with practice clips that lets you click at the hazards, then check your scores.
It has also announced an online revision kit coming soon, like the multiple choice one above. Check out the Learning Zone page for more details.
#7 – DVSA Complete Theory Test Kit mobile app
If you prefer to study on the go, download the Complete Theory Test Kit smartphone app. It contains DVSA-approved theory material, practice questions and mock tests. It also includes 10 official hazard perception video clips.
#8 – Driving Theory Test mobile app by Focus Multimedia
This smartphone app contains purely theory test questions but it has won multiple awards and is licensed by the DVSA. You can sit unlimited mock tests and review where you went wrong, and test yourself with the braking distance simulator.
With these resources you should be ready and prepared to pass your theory test first time. Book in advance on the DVSA website – it costs £23.
You must have a provisional driver’s licence, and remember to take this with you on the day or you will not be permitted to sit the test.
You sit both parts on the same day, with a three minute break between the tests. The whole thing should take about one and a half hours.
Good luck!And read our 10 useful tips for learning to drive for your practical test.