Before taking your practical tests, you will have to take and pass the theory and hazard perception tests. You can take your theory test before your CBT but most people wait until after.

The theory test will gauge your knowledge and understanding of riding theory. A sound knowledge of the theory is essential to a better understanding of practical riding skills.

To help you learn the theory there are quite a few good books and DVDs available.

All provisional driving licence-holders will have to pass the theory test before a booking for a practical test will be accepted.

Theory test sessions are available during weekdays, evenings and on Saturdays. A test appointment will normally be available for you within about two weeks. Your training school will tell you where your nearest test centre is.

When you attend your theory test you’ll have to show photographic evidence of your identity as well as your driving licence. The photographic evidence of your identity must show both your photograph and your signature. The only acceptable documents for this purpose are

* Both parts (photo and paper counterpart) of a new-style photocard driving licence
* Old-style paper driving licence and current signed passport

The 57 minute test, taken under exam conditions, consists of multiple choice questions. Most questions ask you to identify the correct answer from a choice of four or five possible options. There will also be some multiple response questions that will ask you to select several answers from five or more options. Some questions will contain pictures of road signs or road situations.

To pass the test you will need to answer at least 43 out of 50 questions correctly. You will take the test using a computer screen. You will select your answers by simply touching the area of the screen that shows the answer of your choice.

No previous computer experience is required. You will have up to 15 minutes to get used to the system before starting your test. There will be staff available to help if required.

The screens are easy to read and only one question will appear on the screen at the time. You will be able to move forwards or backwards through the questions at any time to look at the questions again to complete or to alter your answer. The new system will inform you if you have not completed your answer fully.

At the end of the test your answers will be calculated and you will be given your test result.

It is recommended that you buy a book or DVD which contains all the questions and answers, which are in the same format as in the actual test. There are now over 1000 questions that the test centre has in its question bank.

Candidates with special needs will have additional time and assistance – e.g. hearing the written text through a headset. The test is also written or spoken in 15 other languages.

If you fail on your first attempt, don’t worry – about 50% of candidates fail their first theory test. There will be no limit on the number of times the theory test can be taken and there is no minimum time period imposed between attempts at the test, other than booking dates being full.

The quickest way to book your theory test is to book it online.

For examples of some typical questions click HERE.

For a free online example of a Theory Test click HERE

And some more HERE

For information on the procedure for the Theory Test watch the DSA video How to Pass the Theory Test.


Research has shown that the more experienced riders and drivers scan the road better and recognise much earlier the clues that show a hazardous situation is developing and therefore start to take action before the danger occurs.

The DSA have now extended the Theory Test by adding a Hazard Perception Test. It’s taken at the same time as the Theory Test and takes about an extra 15 minutes.

During the test candidates are shown a number of moving video clips filmed from the motorcyclist’s point of view. Each clip contains one or more developing hazards.

The candidate will be asked to indicate as soon as they see a hazard developing which may result in the motorcyclist taking some action, such as changing speed or direction. The sooner a response is made the higher the score.

The pass mark is 44 out of a possible 75.

Hazard perception is the ability of a rider or driver to make an early identification of situations where some form of avoidance action might be necessary, such as changing speed or direction. It involves techniques such as


* scanning
* selecting a safe separation distance
* using an appropriate speed
* planning well ahead
* having good anticipation

If you’d like to practice the Hazard Perception Test (and the Theory Test) in the comfort of your own home then take a look at The Hazard Perception Challenge

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