3. How the theory test works

The theory test is made up of a multiple-choice part and a hazard perception part. You need to pass both parts to pass the theory test.

If you pass 1 part and fail the other you’ll fail the whole test, and you’ll need to take both parts again.

The questions in the multiple-choice test will depend on the category of vehicle you are hoping to get a licence for. For example, a motorcycle theory test will contain questions that don’t appear in any other test.

For the hazard perception test there are no separate versions for different vehicles, but the pass mark is different for them.

At the theory test centre

You aren’t allowed to take any personal items into the test room with you. All your personal items must be stored in the 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 aren’t allowed to talk to or distract other candidates.

The multiple-choice part

Before the test starts you’ll be given instructions on how it works.

You can choose to do a practice session of multiple-choice questions to get used to the layout of the test. At the end of the practice session the real test will begin.

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

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

Some car and motorcycle questions will be given as a case study. The case study will:

  • show a short story that 5 questions will be based on
  • focus on real life examples and experiences you could come across when you’re driving

The car and motorcycle multiple-choice part lasts for 57 minutes and the pass mark is 43 out of 50.

After the multiple-choice part you can choose to have a break of up to 3 minutes before the hazard perception part starts.

The hazard perception part

Before you start the hazard perception part, you’ll be shown a short video clip about how it works.

You’ll then be shown a series of 14 video clips on a computer screen. The clips:

  • feature everyday road scenes
  • contain at least one ‘developing hazard’ - but one of the clips will feature 2 ‘developing hazards’

A developing hazard is something that may result in you having to take some action, such as changing speed or direction.

Hazard perception test scoring

The earlier you notice a developing hazard and make a response, the higher you will score.

The most you can score for each developing hazard is 5 points.

To get a high score you need to respond to the developing hazard as soon as you see it starting.

If you click continuously or in a pattern during a clip a message will appear at the end. It will tell you that you have scored zero for that particular clip.

You won’t be able to review your answers.

The pass mark for cars and motorcycles is 44 out of 75.

Your test result

You will be given the results of your theory tests at the test centre after taking it.

You’ll get a pass certificate if you pass your theory test. You’ll need this when you book and take your practical test.

Your theory test pass certificate lasts for 2 years after taking your test. You’ll need to take and pass the theory test again if you haven’t passed your practical test by then.

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