Theory Test

Book your theory test when or soon after you start your driving lessons. This makes good sense for a couple of reasons:


  • theory test preparation will help you get the most out of your practical lessons
  • an early theory test allows for an early practical test.


The practical test can only be booked once the theory test has been passed. Practical tests are usually subject to waiting lists of around a month, and theory tests a couple of weeks. You may find that a delayed theory test forces you to take the practical test later than is necessary. In such a case you would be advised to continue taking regular lessons to maintain your driving standard leading up to a practical test.

The theory test is conducted, as is the practical, by an executive governmental agency called the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). It is presented in two parts:


  • multiple choice (50 questions, pass mark 43)
  • hazard perception (max. score 75, pass mark 44)

Both parts must be passed in the same sitting for an overall pass.



How to prepare

Typically it will take between one and three weeks of half-an-hour to an hour a day practise to prepare. You will need:


  • a multiple choice test study package (this will often be referred to simply as a “theory test” package although it may not include hazard perception practise materials) (disc or book)
  • a hazard perception training tool (disc)
  • the current official highway code (disc or book)


Our recommendation:

The Official DSA Complete Theory Test Kit – 2012 PC/Mac

(Click to or alternatively visit the Department for Transport’s own website)


This pack contains all of the elements listed above and is produced by the Department for Transport. Similar materials are available from other organisations.


We suggest that you also obtain the following:

  • a book of traffic signs
  • a driving manual or text book for further reading


Our recommendations:

The Official DSA Guide to Driving: The Essential Skills

(Click to or alternatively visit the Department for Transport’s own website)


Know Your Traffic Signs (Free download from the Department for Transport’s official website).


Both are produced by the Department for Transport although similar materials are available from other organisations.

It may also be a good idea to obtain a current theory test manual or official highway code in the standard book form, or perhaps download an app for your smart phone to study when travelling or during a lunch hour. Most theory test materials are available as apps for both iPhone and Android.

Practise until you are achieving the pass mark regularly and with ease. If you think you are not ready to take the test the DSA will allow you to postpone it without losing the fee so long as you inform them three clear working days before your test date.

There is a DSA website that allows you to practise official theory tests online, free of charge.