What to expect on your driving theory test

highway code book open and being read

Driving theory test - what you should know

Your driving theory test is taken before your practical driving test and is one of the first steps on your journey to becoming a qualified motorist in the UK. The theory test is set by the DVLA and is designed to assess your understanding of highways and road safety, and to determine your awareness as a motorist. You can book your theory test online on the Government website and it will cost £23 per attempt.

To book you'll need your driving license, email address and a payment method. You will take your test at a local assessment centre that you can find the location off on gov.uk. The test will be carried out on a computer on which which you'll answer the multiple choice questions and complete the hazard perception test. You'll get a 15 minute practice session before the test begins so you can get comfortable with the how to answer questions and complete the test.

Driving theory test - multiple choice and hazard perception

laptop showing a driving theory test multiple choice question
laptop showing a driving theory test multiple choice question

Multiple Choice Questions

The first section of the test is series of 50 multiple choice questions that will aim to assess your understanding of vehicle and driving safety, the highway code and how you deal with road incidents. Prepare yourself for questions on vehicle safety, hazard awareness, types of vehicle on the road, essential driving documents, and your attitudes and alertness to road incidents. To pass the multiple choice section you need to correctly answer 43 out of the 50 questions (i.e. 86%).

There are no trick questions presented to applicants in the test. The DVLA has a bank of set questions that will be set to you randomly so no two tests will be the same. At the end of the test you will be able to go back and review your answers to the questions and make changes if you wish. You will have 57 minutes to complete this part of the test. The test consists of two parts only. A 50 question multiple choice part and a visual hazard perception test.

driving theory test hazard perception test on a laptop
driving theory test hazard perception test on a laptop

Hazard Perception Test

The hazard perception test will follow the multiple choice test. In this part of the test you’ll see a series of 14 real-life clips played to you on a computer screen. The test is for you to try and spot the hazards presented to you in the situation. You’ll need to spot the developing hazards in real time and flag these by clicking the computer mouse.

You will be assessed on how well you spot and anticipate potential hazards on the road. If you spot a particular hazard to slow then you're score will be penalised. Up to five points are awarded for each hazard and you'll need at least 44 out of 75 to pass the test. You will be penalised if you mark too often and you may loose all points for a single clip if you click excessively.


  • What happens if i fail my test?

    If you fail your theory test then you will be informed on the day. You will be then be given a letter that explains the areas which you failed on. If you fail your test you will be able to re-book a date at least three working days later.

  • How will i know if i pass?

    You will be told your mark and pass success on the day of the exam. If you will receive a formal document that acknowledges you have passed.

  • What is the UK pass rate for theory tests?

    According the government statistics, the nationwide pass rate of theory tests was just under 50% in 2017/18. In the 2018/19 year the pass rate was 47.3%.

  • What should i take to my test?

    You must take your UK photo-card driving license to your test. If you do not supply this at the test centre your test will be cancelled and money refunded. You cannot take personal items into the test with you. This includes bags, earphones, mobile phones or watches. There will be locker provided that you can store these in whilst you take your test.

  • What happens if i have a disability or health condition?

    If you have reading difficulties you are able to take the test audibly using headphones. If required, you can take extra time on the test, have someone read to you what's on the screen and then record your answers, and also have someone reword the question for you. You can apply for test support with a letter or report from a teacher or medical professional.

  • What if i need to cancel my test?

    You must give at least 3 working days' notice to change your test without incurring the cost. If you cancel the test the day before you are set to take it, you will have to pay to rearrange another.

And then it's time to ace your driving test...

Looking for help with your practical driving test too? Check out these tips on how to pass your driving test first time. Know what to practice and prepare for and understand how you will be examined by the DVLA.