One of the big stepping stones on the road to your full driving licence, you need to pass the theory test before you can move on to the practical. We’ll tell you everything you need to know, from how the test works to the theory test pass mark and how to prepare for the exam.
What is the theory test?
The theory test checks that you understand the rules and theory of safe driving. You’ll need to have your provisional licence before you can take the theory test. You can book the test online.
There are two parts to the theory test – multiple choice questions and a hazard perception video.
How does the multiple choice part work?
You’ll have 57 minutes to answer 50 multiple choice questions. Before the test starts you’ll be given instructions explaining how the test works, and the chance to do some practice questions to get used to the computer screen.
A question and possible answers will appear on the screen. Three of the questions will be based on a short video clip, which you’ll be able to replay as many times as you like.
You can go back to a question and change your answer at any point, and you don’t need to use all 57 minutes if you finish early.
The theory test pass mark for the multiple choice element is 43 out of 50.
How does the hazard perception test work?
After a break of up to three minutes, you’ll move on to the hazard perception test. You’ll watch a brief video, explaining how the test works. Then you’ll start the test itself.
There are 14 videos to watch. These feature everyday driving scenes, and at least one developing hazard. To keep you on your toes, one of the clips contains a second hazard.
A developing hazard is something that would cause you to take action, such as changing speed or direction.
Points are awarded depending on how quickly you click the mouse to show you have spotted the hazard, from five down to one. You can’t just click randomly or you will lose all your points.
The theory test pass mark for the hazard perception element is 44 out of 75.
What happens if I pass?
If you meet the theory test pass mark you’ll be given a theory test pass certificate number. You’ll need it to book your practical driving test. You then have two years to pass the practical. If you don’t pass in time you’ll need to take the practical test again.
What happens if I fail?
You’ll be given a letter at the test centre. It will explain where you went wrong so you’ll know what you need to work on. You need to wait at least three working days before you take it again.
How can I be sure of meeting the theory test pass mark?
Take a look at our theory test cheat sheet for the best ways to prepare. Good luck!
Find a RED Driving Instructor near you
RED’s experienced instructors operate nationwide. So whether you’re learning in Newcastle or Norwich or Plymouth or Preston, they’ll find the perfect instructor to help you on your journey to passing.