Taking the Motoring Theory and Practical Tests
The theory test can be taken once you have a valid provisional licence. For car drivers, the earliest date your provisional licence can become valid is when you turn 17, however you can apply for the licence up to three months before but still only take the theory test on or after your 17th birthday.
Disability Living Allowance
If you are receiving disability living allowance at the higher rate your provisional licence will come into effect when you are 16, but you can apply for it within three months of your 16th birthday.
Motorcyclists Direct Access Scheme
Direct Access is a scheme, which allows a person over the age of 21 to avoid the two year/25 kW restriction by taking a test on a motorcycle of at least 35 kW (46.6 bhp). A pass allows you to ride any size of bike. Any instruction given on a machine that exceeds the normal learner motorcycle specification must be supervised at all times by a certified motorcycle instructor who should be in radio contact. You should also wear fluorescent or reflective clothing and follow all other provisional licence restrictions.
Riders who reach the age of 21, while still within the two year period where they are restricted to maximum 25 kW (33 bhp) machines, but who wish to ride larger bikes need to pass a further test on a motorcycle of at least 35 kW (46.6 bhp). They may practise on bikes over 25 kW (33 bhp) under the same practice conditions for direct access riders. You will revert to learner status while practising (on a motorcycle greater than 25 kW (33 bhp) although test failure will not affect your existing licence.
Mopeds and Tractors
If you want to ride a moped you can take your theory test when you are 16, but again you must make sure you have a valid provisional licence. If you are 16 and already have a provisional licence for an agricultural vehicle or a moped, this will give you provisional entitlement to drive a car when you are 17.
Rules for Learner Drivers
Before you start to drive, you must:
• Hold a valid, provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland
• Make sure that any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured
• If you want to practise your driving with an accompanying driver, the accompanying driver must be over the age of 21 and must have held (and still hold) a full licence for three years.
• As a learner driver, you must display 'L' plates ('L' or 'D' plates in Wales) in a conspicuous position on the front and rear of the vehicle you are driving.
• You're limited to less powerful motorbikes.
Apply for Provisional License
If you have never held a driving licence before you will need to apply for a provisional licence. You cannot start to drive a car until your provisional driving licence has been accepted and in your possession.
About the Driving Theory Test
Preparing for your theory test is essential if you want to become a safe, responsible driver or rider. If you are a learner driver, you must take and pass your theory test before you book your practical test. The theory test is a computer based test and can be taken at various tests centres around the country.
Passing your driving theory test is your first step towards being a safe driver on the road.
DSA driving theory test consists of two elements:
A. Multiple Choice Questions
This section is designed to tests your understanding of the theory behind driving. There is a 15-minute practice session you can work through before starting the tests. There are 50 randomly selected, multiple-choice questions and you need to get at least 43 answers right to pass.
B. Hazard Perception Test
This is the second section of the theory test and must be passed at the same time.
Hazard perception test is conducted to test the ability of learner drivers how they will respond to hazards on the road while driving. There are 14 videos, each about a minute long.
This section is designed to tests your awareness of potential hazards whilst driving.
The videos feature various types of hazard, such as road conditions, vehicles and pedestrians. The earlier you spot a hazard developing that may require the driver to take some action, the higher the score.
There are 15 scoreable hazards in the tests and candidates can score up to 5 points on each hazard. The pass mark is 44 out of 75.
Preparing for your theory test
We recommend you to study following -
The Highway Code -
The Highway Code is essential reading for everyone. Its rules apply to all road users: drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians as well as horse riders. It contains most up to date advice on road safety and the laws, which apply to all road users.
Traffic signs -
It is important to know road signs and markings that you are most likely to encounter.
Driving Theory test questions -
Is a set of latest questions published by DSA from which the exam questions are taken. DSA may change questions time to time it is important that you study the books where latest questions are published.
Preparing for hazard perception test -
It is best to practice hazard perception skills on the computer if you have access to one. There are many websites and PC-CD ROMs in the market, using which you can practice your hazard perceptions skills.
About Car Practical Test
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is now able to offer tests outside the normal test times at a number of test centres. This provides customers a wider range of appointments over an extended working day.
Practical tests are generally available at all permanent test centres. Saturday and weekday evening tests, subject to resources being available, are offered at a premium rate. Non premium rate tests are available at various times between 7.30 am and 3.27 pm Monday to Friday.
The driving part of your test lasts about 40 minutes. Throughout the test, your examiner will be looking for overall safe standards of driving, including when you are carrying out the set exercises. You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit one serious or dangerous fault you will fail the test.
About Motorcycle Practical Test
Minimum test vehicle requirements
Any vehicle presented for use in a driving test must meet minimum test vehicle standards. These standards are part of European Community legislation on driver licensing. Great Britain as a member of the European Union is obliged to comply with these requirements. Below are the minimum test vehicle requirements for mopeds and motorcycles.
Minimum test vehicle requirements for mopeds
A moped must have an engine capacity not exceeding 50 cc, and a maximum speed of 50 kilometres per hour (km/h), which is approximately equivalent to 31 miles per hour (mph). If first used before 1 August 1977, it must be equipped with pedals by which it can be propelled.
Minimum test vehicle requirements for motorcycles
If your motorcycle is less than 75 cc it is not acceptable for the practical motorcycle test. If you pass your practical test on a motorcycle with automatic or semi-automatic transmission, this will be recorded on your licence. Your full licence entitlement will be restricted to motorcycles in this category.
A light motorcycle (category A1) is defined as a solo motorcycle between 75 and 125 cc, with a power output not exceeding 11 kilowatts (kW) (maximum 14.6 brake horse power (bhp)). Please see note 1.
A standard motorcycle (category A) is defined as a solo motorcycle between 121 and 125 cc, capable of exceeding 100 km/h (62.5 mph). Please note that the BMW C1 motorcycle is not a suitable machine for a practical test. Please see note 2.
Vehicles used for the accelerated access and direct access scheme can have an unspecified engine capacity of at least 35 kW (46.6 bhp), with an unspecified speed. Please see note 3.
The minimum test vehicle requirements for a motorcycle and side-car are the same, as the solo machines, but categories A and A1 must not exceed a power to weight ratio of 0.16 kW/kg. Passengers are not allowed to ride in the sidecar during the test. Only candidates with certain disabilities can use a motorcycle and side-car combination for the test. The licence obtained as a result of this test will be restricted to this combination of vehicle.
A light motorcycle licence (category A1) will give you full licence entitlement to ride machines up to 125 cc with a power output of up to 11 kW.
A standard motorcycle licence (category A) will restrict you for a period of two years to riding machines with a power output not exceeding 25 kW and a power/weight ratio not exceeding 0.16 kW/kg. After the two year period you may ride any motorcycle.
If you are aged 21 or over you can take the test on a motorcycle with a power output of at least 35 kW (46.6 bhp). If successful you can then ride any motorcycle.
The practical motorcycle test is made up of lots of different elements, an eyesight test, vehicle safety questions, a test of driving ability, a test of specific manoeuvre and a question about riding with a passenger.
At the test centre you must present a valid certificate DL196 unless the test is being conducted on one of the exempted islands. A rider who is upgrading a full moped licence obtained by passing a two part test since December 1990 is exempt.
Vehicle safety check questions and eyesight test
Before you actually start your practical riding test you will be asked to read a number plate to prove you can meet the eyesight requirements. You will also be asked two machine safety check questions before moving away.
The practical test
After the usual pre-test preliminaries e.g. licence and identification check the examiner will help the candidate with the fitting of the radio and earpiece.
While accompanying the candidate to the machine the examiner will explain how the test will be conducted and how the radio equipment works.
The law requires anyone riding a motorcycle, scooter or moped, with or without sidecar, to wear protective headgear securely fastened. The test cannot therefore be conducted unless the candidate is wearing properly secured protective headgear.
An exemption to this requirement exists for followers of the Sikh religion if they are wearing a turban.
At the end of the test
When the practical testis over, the examiner will tell you whether you passed or failed. You can request feedback on your test from the examiner, who will then go through your performance during the test.
If you pass...
If you pass and have a photocard driving licence issued after 1 March 2004, the examiner will ask you,if you want your full driving licence issued to you automatically. If you want to use this service, the examiner will take your old licence off you, scan the details and send them electronically to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You will then be given a pass certificate to prove you passed your test. DVLA will then send you your new full licence by post within three weeks of you passing your practical test.
If you pass your test but do not want to use this automatic service, or have a licence issued before 1 March 2004, you will be given a pass certificate by the examiner. On the back of the pass certificate it tells you what you need to do next. This involves sending your licence to DVLA who will then check your application and issue you with a new full licence.
Once you pass your standard motorcycle test you are restricted to machines of 25 kW (33 bhp) with a power to weight ratio of 0.16 kW/kg for two years.
If you fail...
If you fail the test you should ask the examiner for some feedback to help prepare yourself for your next test. Your driving report form will also show you where you made any mistakes. You must wait 10 clear working days after your practical test before you can book another one.
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