You have probably heard the saying about driving being a privilege and not a right time and time again. This saying is a favorite among parents who want to exercise their authority so that their teens obey the rules and become responsible adults and drivers.

If you have finally proven yourself to your parents by raising your grades or by making curfew consistently, it is time to start studying for your permit test so that you can learn the rules of the road and legally get behind-the-wheel.

In this ultimate guide to passing your permit test, we will discuss the most common reasons for test failure and how to prepare effectively. With approximately 50% of first-time applicants failing the exam, it’s important that you take the time to prepare now to avoid having to retest at a later date.

Requirements Before You Take the Permit Test

Minimum Age Requirements

A learner’s permit, also called a learner’s license, a provisional license, or a driver’s permit, allows young teenage drivers (15 + depending on the state) to practice driving with a parent or other licensed adult 21 or older (25 or older in some states) before you apply for your driver’s license at the age of 16-18 years old (depending on the state).

Drivers Education Course

A driver’s ed. course is recommended prior to taking your learner’s permit exam, but it is not necessary. This course can also aid in lowering auto insurance costs.
Parents Signature
In some states, a learner’s permit is necessary, and a parent or guardian must sign their teenager’s permit application and give them permission to take the test in many cases. Each applicant must have proof of state residency, proof of identity (usually a birth certificate) to apply. A permit will only be issued after a successful vision and written test.

What Type of Questions Are on the Test

Rules of the Road

A learner’s permit test is much the same for each state and is predominately focused on the state’s road rules (or the general practices that one must follow when driving).

You can expect questions to cover the following topics:

  • Lane markings
  • Passing procedures
  • Driving in inclement weather
  • Night driving
  • Seatbelts
  • Mirror usage
  • Speed
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Traffic controls
  • Freeway driving
  • Changing lanes
  • Intersections
  • Parking
  • Emergencies
  • Sharing the road

Road Signs

Road signs, in particular, make up a large portion of this test. Some sign-related questions might include: “What is the meaning of a yellow diamond-shaped sign?” or “What is the meaning of an orange sign?” Of course, the answer to the first question is that yellow signs are used for all warning signs (lanes ending, turns, curves, etc.), and orange signs are used in and around construction areas when drivers should be wary of workers.

Why People Often Fail Their Permit Test

With the number of seemingly oblivious and sometimes reckless drivers on the roads, it can be easy to assume that the permit test is simpler than it actually is. In truth, certain versions of the test can be very challenging, and sometimes the way the questions are worded makes it even more confusing. The only way to ensure that you pass on your first try is to spend a good amount of time getting prepared.

Insufficient Study Time

The most common reason for failing the exam is simply a lack of proper studying. Some versions of the exam are easier than others, and if you happen to get one of these easier versions, you may pass on your first try. However, most people require quite a bit of studying before they pass, and since you will need to know all of the information to safely drive, it’s better to suck it up and study than it is to wing it and hope for the best.

Not Becoming Familiar With Road Signs

As we mentioned earlier, to pass the permit and ultimately become a safe driver, you will need to be able to recognize road signs. Questions relating to road signs are also often found on the learner’s permit test, so it’s important to become familiar with the shape, color, and usage. Have a friend quiz you using flashcards or some other visual aid. It can be helpful to classify the signs by color, remembering that red equals stop, green equals go, blue equals information and yellow equals a warning sign.

Not Understanding Right of Way Rules

Knowing right-of-way laws is very important for safe driving, and therefore, you will likely see many test questions related to that topic. Always remember, “right of way” equals “right,” meaning that if you and another driver arrive at an intersection at the same time, the driver on the right has the right of way. If you and another driver simultaneously arrive across from each other and you are trying to turn left, you must yield to the other driver. When entering a roundabout turn, the entering driver must yield to the drivers that are already in the circle. Studying these and other right-of-way rules will do a lot to help you with the exam.

Avoiding Practice Exams

Taking a few practice exams will help you get a feel for the types of questions you will see on the test and help you avoid wasting your money taking the test over and over again. Be sure to take a few different versions of the practice test before making an actual attempt. That way, you will be prepared for any of the different versions you may be given.

Letting Nerves Take Over

Feeling nervous before you take your test is totally understandable. Getting your permit is a huge step toward adulthood, and you don’t want to have to tell your friends and family that you failed. At the same time, you don’t want to allow yourself to become so nervous that you choke and forget the answers. Before you begin, try to relax as much as possible and remind yourself that if you do fail, you will be able to try again in a short amount of time. Breathe deeply, release your worries, and visualize a positive outcome. You’ve studied hard. Now, all you have to do is take your time and let the correct answers come to you.

Simple Steps to Prepare for Your Permit Test


Step #1: Study the Driver’s Handbook the Right Way

You cannot expect to ace your permit test if you do not take the time to read the driver’s handbook and study the information. Sure, you have learned the meaning of common street signs as a child, and some of the laws of the road are common sense, but the permit test is a knowledge-based test and the driver’s handbook contains all of the information you are tested on.

You have probably been told that the best way to pass your permit test is to read through the driver’s handbook, but if you are not absorbing the pages of information you are reading you are wasting your time.

The key to acing your permit knowledge test is focusing on the right details. As you are studying your driver’s handbook, you should jot down the specifics so that you can engrave the specifics in your memory.

Go through your handbook with a highlighter and highlight speed limits in certain areas, distances for stopping, legal alcohol limits, fines, and anything that is difficult to remember.

If you find that it is easier for you to remember details you have written out by hand, write out the details in your own notebook and study this. If you have a photographic memory, reading the pages that contain the details multiple times can help you picture the answers during test time. The way that you study is all dependent on the way that you learn.

Step #2: Make Road Sign Flash Cards

Virtually anyone interested in getting a driver’s license knows what a stop sign means and looks like, but can you identify all of the traffic signs that you may encounter on public roadways? Believe it or not, missing a few of the road signs on the permit test is one of the most common reasons for failure.

If you find it difficult to remember the meaning of all of the road signs, creating picture flashcards is a great trick. Once you have the traffic sign definitions down, it is also a good idea to test your skills while you are in the passenger seat in the car with your parents.

Step #3: Visualize the Rules with Sketches

It can be very difficult to get the answers right if you are a visual learner. When you are reading a test question and you find it difficult to analyze the situation, consider making a very basic sketch on a piece of scratch paper. This especially works great for the right-of-way rules, lane changes, and turning. Who says you cannot put your artistic talent to work to ace your permit test?

Step #4: Take Practice Tests

A single practice test may help you get a feel for how the permit test is structured, but if you take the time to take a series of practice permit tests you improve your chances of acing your real test tenfold. A DMV permit test is about knowing the rules, laws, and regulations, but testing anxiety should not be the reason you do not pass.

By taking dozens of practice tests, you will get a feeling for the combination of different questions and answers that can be asked. Choose tests that are specific to your state, study the questions you get wrong, and you will not have to worry about being surprised with tricky questions on test day.

The Benefits of Practice Permit Tests

In most states, a permit test only consists of 20 questions however that means only missing a few questions can lead to failure.. If you want to get all 20 questions right, follow these tips and get prepared before test day By reading the handbook, studying the right details, visualizing the rules, and taking free practice tests, you are sure to ace your test and earn your learners permit.

Taking your learner’s permit test can be quite stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Practice permit tests can help you on your journey to learner’s permit success. There are several steps you can to guarantee your success during this process. First, it’s imperative to carefully read your state driver’s handbook several times through. It will contain all of the information necessary to pass your permit test. However, you should keep in mind it could take a few days to get through completely.


Prepare for your permit test from the comfort of home with online practice tests.  After you’ve read your state’s driver’s handbook several times through, it’s best to try several different practice tests.

Online testing is recommended for those students who need additional practice after taking the DMV-issued practice test. Practice tests can also be beneficial for individuals who have recently moved to a new state and need to brush up on their new state’s driving rules and regulations, due to the fact that each state has fairly specific traffic laws.

The Risks of Not Studying Hard Enough the First Time

As a high school student, your free time is undoubtedly important to you, but taking time to complete practice learner’s permit tests is imperative to your success. If you do not pass your learner’s permit exam the first time, you could run into some complications.

Time is only one of the concerns you must be worried about. Often, applicants who fail the permit tests the first time through must wait several days or weeks before taking it again. You will also lose out on the fees necessary to take your exam each time you try again.  So what are you waiting for?  Study your state’s driver handbook and test your knowledge with free practice tests now.

Ready. . . Set. . . Go!

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