Skip to main content
Hero background

10 Tips to Pass Your DMV Written Test

According to a study done by an insurance company in 2010, it was estimated that 1 in 5 drivers currently on the road could not pass a written driving test. With numbers like this for drivers who have already passed their written tests, yet aren't competent enough to pass it again, passing for the first time may feel a bit ominous. It should. 70 percent of first-time test takers go home with a failing grade.

If this statistic alone makes you want to throw up your number 2 pencil and note cards in defeat, don't fret. Help is here.

If you don't pass the first time you can take it again, but my Mother always said when you do something, do it right the first time. Moms are always right, I think, and this time is no different. Plus, passing the first time will save you money, time, and the stress of having to study again. Here are some tips to pass the test the first time and show Mom that for once in your life you listened to her.

1. Pick up a handbook from your local DMV, or download online so you can familiarize yourself with your state's laws.

Simply picking it up and using as a coaster on your coffee table won't suffice. There are plenty of people who go to the gym, but that doesn't mean they have Pecs that woman drool over. It just means they spend most of their time wasting it. Open the booklet and browse through casually. It can be quite long, so don't stress yourself out to read it word for word. Reading without stress the first time will give you a foundation before you fine tune your studying later. Jot down some notes on note cards, make a study document on your computer, or highlight some points that catch your eye.

2. Go online and find yourself a practice test to gauge where you are at.

Make sure you choose the right state because each state's laws may vary. If you're not sure what state you are in, then perhaps this test may be the least of your worries.

3. Re-Read.

After you complete your practice test, go back to your handbook and read through like it is the last Harry Potter novel and you don't want to miss anything. Since you've taken the practice test, now you'll know a little bit more of what to look for and what to notate. Or, if you are like most of the population and prefer the cliff notes, then you can choose your own adventure and skip to tip four.

4. Find yourself a study guide. offers a great DMV Cheat sheet that will not only save you hours of time, but includes sample questions, requirements for obtaining your license, and other helpful tips.

5. Study, Study, Study.

No athlete has ever been interviewed after a loss and said they didn't execute because they over prepared. Taking a test works the same way. The more you can retain the better. Focus on specific numbers such as maximum speed limits in different areas; residential, schools, etc.

6. Re-take the practice tests.

Your computer won't shut off after due to exhaustion after too many practice tests like us humans will. Take as many practice tests as you can. The more practice, the more perfect as they say. Get used to the wording the tests use so you aren't stumped during the test. When you're burnt out, take a break, then come back to it.

7. Get plenty of sleep the night before the test, and eat a hearty breakfast.

Here we go with preaching from Mom again. She's right. Again.

8. During the test, make sure you fully read each question thoroughly.

The last thing you'd want to do after all the time you've spent is to miss a question because you were too fast to answer or misread it. The test can be tricky and for that reason alone, you want to look out for all wording such as legal or illegal, right turn or left turn, crosswalk or sidewalk, etc. Don't assume you know the answer until you've read the entire question.

9. When you come to an question you don't know, relax and pick the best answer.

Isn't this obvious? No. Test nerves will make you question whether or not you are even wearing pants or not. Take a deep breath. This isn't a write-in ballot. If you've studied the cheat sheets, chances are you'll be able to narrow the answer to at least the best two. Pick the one that makes the most common sense.

10. Be positive.

You studiedYou finished your grapefruit parfait at breakfast. You should be good to go. Keep a positive outlook and you will receive a positive score.

What tips do you have for other drivers? Leave your best tips in the comments below.