Learning to drive: taking my theory test

My theory test advice

Following on from her previous blog post ‘Learning to drive: a personal account.’ Tanesha Stafford talks us through her next step towards driving test success; taking her theory test and what to do if your car catches fire.

Tanesha writes: The theory test is an obstacle you have to face before you can even consider doing your practical driving test. It’s full of strange questions like: “Your vehicle catches fire while driving through a tunnel.

It is still driveable. What should you do?” If my car caught fire I would probably run out of my car screaming. It turns out the right answer is: ‘Drive it out of the tunnel if you can do so.’ How many of you would drive your car through a tunnel if it caught fire?

Let us know what you would do if your car caught fire in a tunnel, would you run like me or would you take the DVLA’s advice and keep on driving? Let us know on our Facebook page or you can tweet me!

Not all of the questions on the theory test are as strange as the above one; most of them make sense and are actually useful. Before I took my test I had been practising for weeks on a theory test revision disk I picked up on my way around the supermarket. I spent hours the day before doing practice tests until I felt prepared.

How to prepare for the UK theory test

  • Practise, practise, practise the theory test, you can do this by buying a book or computer disk
  • Download and read the free ‘know your traffic signs’ PDF from Gov.uk
  • Study the highway code
  • Get someone to test you

Once I had completed all of the above steps, there was nothing but my nerves preventing me from passing the test. I had passed the practise theory test so many times at home, I knew I was finally ready for the real thing.

Finally taking the theory test

You aren’t allowed to take in any personal items with you, so you’re given a locker to put all of your belongings in. I took a deep breath, and sat down while I waited to be called.

10 minutes later my name was read from a long list and it was my turn to take the test. I was asked if I had any personal items in my possession and warned that I would be removed from the test if I did. This was just like a school exam, as I nervously re-checked my pockets to make sure I didn’t have anything on me.

I was then led into a small room that had a clear view of the test room, the test room was already full of people taking their theory. This reassured me knowing that I wouldn’t be alone or the only one feeling nervous.

I sat down as a man explained all of the rules to me, and told me the consequences if I broke any of these rules. All of the rules and guidelines made me feel even more nervous. The whole test was so strict.

I was then asked to roll up my sleeves and empty my pockets, I’m not sure what he thought he was going to find. I could hardly write the answer to all 50 questions up my arm. The whole experience was like walking through airport security.

This was it, I was about to take the test!

The room was deadly silent as I made my way to the computer screen. There were partitions each side so I couldn’t see anyone either side of me. The computer gave simple instructions telling me how to complete the test, and then when I was ready I clicked to start.

There are 50 multiple choice theory test questions altogether, with a pass mark of 43, each candidate is given 57 minutes to complete this part.

To my relief the first question was easy and I knew the answer straight away, as I made my way through question by question I started to feel a lot calmer. Maybe I could pass after all?

There were a few questions I didn’t know the answer to, but I took a guess and carried on. Before I knew it I had completed all 50 questions and it was time to move onto the hazard perception test.

The hazard perception test

The hazard perception features 14 everyday road scenes; each scene will feature 2 developing hazards. The earlier you notice the developing hazard and click your mouse the higher your score. The pass mark is 44 out of 75.

I was too scared to blink in case I missed a hazard. Once I had completed the test I made my way back to reception, got my belongings out of my locker and picked up an envelope from the reception desk. Inside the envelope were my results.

I didn’t dare open it until I was safely out of the building, thankfully I had passed! Now I just need to take my practical test.

So was the driving theory test difficult to pass? I didn’t think so, but I challenged Simon and Michael from Perrys Head Office to take the online theory test. Both Simon and Michael passed their driving tests a few years ago, but could they pass the theory test again?

Both admitted that the theory test was a lot harder then they imagined, and admitted to guessing on some of the questions. So did they pass? Simon got an amazing 50 out of 50, and Michael just scrapped the pass mark scoring 45 with a pass mark of 43.

When researching for my test I read that the pass rate for the car theory test was 62.9% so if you’re considering taking your driving theory test you have a good chance of passing!

Here’s some additional information to help you if you’re about to take your theory:

  • The Theory test consists of 50 multiple choice questions and a hazard perception test.
  • In order to take your theory test you need to have a provisional license.
  • To book your theory test online go to: The Direct Gov guide to the theory test

Don’t forget to read my previous blog post if you missed it: Learning to drive: a personal account.

Find out more as it happens:

In the meantime, I’ll write more posts to keep you updated, if you’re interested please like our Facebook pagewhere I’ll continue to post updates on how I’m getting on!