The Theory Test

The Theory Test

If you want to drive a car or ride a motorcycle you’ll need to pass the driving theory test before booking either the car practical driving test or the motorcycle practical test.

There are 2 parts to the theory test:

  • the multiple choice part and
  • the hazard perception part

Both parts of the test are taken on the same day. The questions in the multiple-choice part and format of the hazard perception part depend on what kind of vehicle you want to drive.

You need to pass both to pass the theory test.

You can take the shorter ‘abridged’ car theory test if you’ve got the Safe Road User Award.

The theory test pass certificate

You’ll then get a theory test pass certificate. You’ll need the certificate number when you book your practical test.

Preparing for the test

There are official publications and tools to help you; to prepare for your test visit here:  and if you have special needs visit this site:

How to Pass the Theory Test – Video

The official DSA guide to passing your theory test – both the multiple-choice and hazard perception parts.


At the theory test centre

You aren’t allowed to take any personal items into the test room and any personal effects must be stored in the secure lockers provided.

If you’re found with any prohibited items in the testing room your test will be stopped, you’ll be asked to leave and you’ll lose your test fee.

Once you’re in the test room you may not to talk to or distract other candidates.

Multiple Choice Questions

You can opt to do a practice session of multiple-choice questions to become familiar with the requirements of the test. At the end of the practice session the test will begin.

A question and multiple possible answers will appear on a computer screen and you have to select the correct answer. Some questions require more than one answer.

You can move between questions and ‘flag’ questions that you want to come back to later in the test.

Some questions will appear as a case study.

The case study will:

  • show a short story upon which questions will be asked
  • focus on real life examples and situations you could encounter when you’re driving

The multiple-choice section for cars has to be completed in 57 minutes with the pass mark being 43 out of 50.

At the end of the multiple choice section you can opt for a short break before the hazard perception element begins.

The Hazard Perception Element

Before you begin the hazard perception element, you will be shown a short video clip about its operation.

You will then be shown video clips on your computer monitor, that feature everyday road scenes and contain at least one ‘developing hazard’.(A developing hazard is something that could/may result in you having to take avoiding action, such as changing speed or direction.)

How the Hazard Perception Test is Scored

The quicker you notice a developing hazard and make a response, the higher you will score, with the highest score being  5 points for each hazard spotted.

Clicking continuously or in a pattern during a clip will result in a message being displayed revealing that you have scored nothing for that clip.

The pass mark is 44 points or above.

Your test result will be given immediately after taking the test, and if you pass you will receive a pass certificate that you need when you book and take your practical test.

Your theory test pass certificate lasts for 2 years after the date of taking your test. If you do not pass your practical test by then, you’ll need to retake and pass the theory test again.