Looking to ace the Kentucky permit test?Take advantage of this step-by-step guide and let us walk you through the entire process from passing the permit test and getting your permit to enjoying the freedom that comes with a unrestricted drivers license.  Let’s begin!

In the state of Kentucky, you will have to go through the Graduated License Program (GDL) before you can get your unrestricted license. The GDL helps you gain important driving skills before you are allowed to drive without supervision.


In Kentucky, the GDL process has three distinct stages:

  • Learner’s Permit.
  • Intermediate License.
  • Full License.

Learner’s Permit

At age 16, you can apply for your Learner’s Permit in the state of Kentucky. The permit is necessary to allow for legal practice driving between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight while accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older.

To earn your permit, you must pass a written knowledge test(also known as the permit test). During this test, you will demonstrate your awareness of traffic laws, signs and signals.

Study, Study, Study

We provide a free copy of the Kentucky Driver’s Handbook for your use. Be sure to read through the entire book, and spend extra time on any sections you aren’t comfortable with.

Consider Practice Exams

Taking practice exams is a great way to ensure you do well on the real permit test. Our Kentucky practice permit test includes all of the important subject matter you will need.

Visit Your Local Circuit Court Clerk’s Office and do Your Testing

Before you leave, make sure you have:

  • Your certified birth certificate.
  • Your Social Security card.
  • Your parent or guardian.
  • A School Compliance Verification form to show that you are enrolled in school, or a diploma to show that you have already graduated.

It’s Time to Take Your Permit Test

Now is the moment that your studying will pay off. Try to relax and do your best. The exam is multiple choice, so if you get stuck on a particular question, try to use a process of elimination to pick the best answer.

After you pass, you will take a vision test to make sure you can see properly. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, be sure to have them with you.

Get Behind the Wheel and Start Practicing

While holding your Instruction Permit, the state of Kentucky requires you complete 50 hours of daytime practice driving and 10 hours of nighttime driving. You must be supervised by a licensed parent or guardian at all times.

Intermediate License

When you are at least 16 and a half years old, you have held your permit for at least 180 days and you have completed your practice driving, you can apply for your Intermediate License.

When you are ready, visit your local Circuit Court Clerk’s office and bring along:

  • A registered vehicle and proof of insurance.
  • Proof of identity.
  • Signed proof that you completed your practice hours.

At this point, you will take a behind-the-wheel test. When you pass, you will be given your Intermediate License, which comes with restrictions:

  • Aside from school, work or emergency situations, you can’t drive between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • You can’t drive with more than one passenger under the age of 18 unless those passengers are family members, or you have a licensed driver age 18 or over in the passenger seat.
  • You can’t drive without a seat belt, and you must make sure all passengers are wearing seat belts.

Note: If, while holding an Intermediate License, you receive a traffic violation of any kind, you will have to go back to carrying a Learner’s Permit and restart the 180-day trial period before you can reapply for your Intermediate License.

Driver’s License

At age 17, you can apply for your full license as long as you have completed a state-approved driver’s education course and held your permit at least six months without any traffic violations. Visit your local Circuit Court Clerk’s office to show proof of your driver’s education course and trade your Intermediate License for a Full License.

Note: If you want to skip driver’s education, you will have to wait until age 18 for unrestricted driving privileges.

Additional Information

The state of Kentucky requires that all recently licensed drivers complete a four-hour Graduated Licensing course, which is offered for free through the Transportation Cabinet. If you don’t take this course within a year of becoming licensed, your license will be cancelled. However, it is recommended that you wait a few months after receiving your license to take the course as you will get the most out of it that way.