How to Pass the Wisconsin Permit Test

wisconsin-road-signAre you ready to get your driver’s license in Wisconsin? Are you frustrated or confused because you don’t know where to begin? If so, our handy and easy-to-follow guide will help you through every step of the process, from passing your permit test to eventually earning unrestricted driving privileges.

In Wisconsin, all young drivers are required to complete a Graduated Driver’s License Program (GDL), a multi-stage process that will allow you learn essential driving skills while remaining in a low-risk environment. Statistics have shown that GDL programs reduce the number of traffic accidents caused by inexperienced drivers.

In Wisconsin, the GDL process involves three steps:

  • Instruction Permit
  • Probationary License
  • Full License

This guide will demonstrate how to prepare for the Wisconsin permit test and move forward through the remaining stages of the GDL process.  Let’s get started!

Step I: The Wisconsin Instruction Permit

Before you can apply for your Instruction Permit (or learner’s permit) in Wisconsin, you must be enrolled in a state-approved driver’s education course. When you have signed up, and you are at least 15 and a half years old, you are eligible to apply. To do so, you must pass a written knowledge test, which will check your awareness of the rules of the road, including your ability to recognize traffic signs.

Study, Study, Study

We are happy to offer a free copy of the Wisconsin Motorist’s Handbook for you to use in your studies. Be sure to read each section carefully, devoting extra time to any chapters you don’t fully understand.

Take Practice Tests

Our Wisconsin practice permit test is a great resource. It contains many of the same subjects as the actual exam, and taking it should help you gauge your level of preparedness.

Visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) Offices and Take Your Test

When you feel prepared, visit the DOT offices, bringing along:

  • Proof of identification, including your birth certificate, U.S. passport and Social Security card.
  • Proof of Wisconsin residency, such as your parent’s utility bill or a school enrollment card.
  • A Driver License Application (Form MV3001), which has been signed by your parent or guardian.
  • Proof that you are enrolled in or have completed school.
  • $35 in fees.

Now, you will take the permit test. Stay calm and do your best. You have studied hard, and now it’s your time to shine! When you finish, you will be given a vision test to make sure you can see well enough to drive. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure you have them with you.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Once you have your Instruction Permit, you can complete driver’s education and get to practicing. You must practice at least 30 hours while under the supervision of a licensed driver. Of those hours, 10 must take place at night. Record your practice hours using the Wisconsin Graduated Driver Licensing Supervised Driving Log (Form HS-303). The supervising driver will need to sign this form.

Step II: The Wisconsin Probationary License

When you are 16 years old, you have held your instruction permit for six months without any traffic violations, you have completed driver’s education and completed your practice hours, you are ready to take the behind-the-wheel driving test and apply for your Probationary License.

When you are ready, visit the DOT offices, bringing along:

  • Your completed Driver License Application, signed by your parent or guardian.
  • The same identification and residency documents you used before.
  • A new document of proof to show that you are enrolled in school.
  • Form HS-303 to show that you completed your practice driving.
  • $28 in fees.

At this point, you will be given your road test, which will check how well you maintain control over your vehicle and pay attention to traffic laws. As long as you have been practicing, passing this test should be very easy. Don’t psych yourself out!

With your Probationary License, you must follow a few rules. During the first nine months, unless you are supervised by your parent or guardian, you may not:

  • Drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless driving between work, school and home.
  • Drive with more than one passenger except for immediate family members.

Step III: The Wisconsin Full License

When you are 19 years old and have held your Probationary License for at least two years, you qualify for a Full License. Visit the DOT offices, turn in your Probationary License, pass another vision exam and pay $28 in fees.

Congratulations! You are now a fully licensed driver.

Additional Information

If you want to skip driver’s education, you must wait until you are 18 years old to apply for your Probationary License. You will then be able to get your Full License when you are 20 years old.