Our guide to driving test theory

Our guide to driving test theory

First published date January 21 2014 Amended date January 22 2014

Okay, so you may have clutch control down to a tee, but if you don’t know your one-way signs from your no entries or your zebra crossings from your pelicans, then turning that provisional licence pink may still be some way off. Luckily for you, if you’re struggling with theory side of the driving world  then there are a number of courses available to help you get over that important hurdle to automotive freedom (after the practical too of course). Often the underrated side of the test, it is important to remember that without a pass in your theory exam you won’t be able to even attempt the practical.

How the course suits you

A course in driving test theory may seem straightforward enough, but there are a number of varying ways in which you can take the course depending on your needs. If you feel you need as much tuition as possible, then you can take a course that lasts over a number of months, but on the other hand you can also book as little as one hour sessions at a time if you feel more competent and just need a little refresher. One or two day intensive courses are also available for those who need to learn a lot in a relatively little amount of time.

Courses are also available depending on your lifestyle so you can make sure the sessions don’t interfere with your personal life whether you are studying full time at college or clocking in nine ‘til five at the office in the week, courses are flexible to your needs.  Courses can also be offered in different languages also.

Both aspects of the theory test are covered either individually or together depending on the course you choose to take. Some may just be based on driving theory and the Highway Code, others may focus more on helping you with your hazard perception and of course some cover both. Other courses offer a different twist such as helping you control your nerves when the test comes around.  You can even get Derren Brown on your nerves with sessions  in hypnotherapy available as a means of conquering any anxiety or stage fright.


A driving licence can also provide career opportunities

While it’s obvious to point out a driving licence gives you the licence to drive (naturally), it’s not to say that gaining one can’t open some new windows to a career you wouldn’t be able to pursue without one. A driving licence is a good asset to have on your CV – even if it’s not a driving specific job the ability to drive makes you very employable indeed. Then of course there are the whole host of driving careers available after gaining a licence, ranging from bus drivers to forklift operators. Some professions, like lorry or bus drivers, have a more strenuous theory test, so if you are planning on heading down that path, enrolling on a course to help you ace the exam may well be worthwhile.


What the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) says

Though there is nothing stopping you taking driving lessons in tandem with brushing up on your theory, the DSA encourage all new learners to have at least some knowledge of the rules of the road before taking your two or four wheels to them.  Reading up on the Highway Code before taking your first practical lesson is a great head-start on your journey to driving and taking a course on the theory side early can only benefit you.  Many of the courses run across the UK are led by DSA approved teachers and instructors.


Interesting driving test facts

  • The UK driving licence was introduced under the Motor Car Act 1903 but no testing was required.
  • Testing was introduced for disabled drivers under the 1930 Road Traffic Act but it wasn’t until the 1934 act of the same name brought in testing for all drivers.
  • Driving tests were suspended throughout the duration of World War Two. This was because driving instructors were reassigned to control traffic and fuel rations.  
  • The theory side of the UK Driving Test was only introduced in 1996 with the hazard-perception test coming in six years later.
  • Between April 2012 and March 2013, 59.1% of people who conducted a theory test passed.

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