How do I Take a Driving Practice Test?

Erin J. Hill

To take a driving practice test, you should speak with your driving instructor or with personnel at the Department of Motor Vehicles or a similar agency, depending on the country. You may be given a specified time when you can take a practice test using a designated course, or you may be given information about the types of things that will be on the test. Generally, it is best to practice everything, even if you aren’t not sure it will be required. Your driving coach should be familiar with test guidelines, and may of some assistance during practice.

A driving practice test might help ensure passage of a driving exam.
A driving practice test might help ensure passage of a driving exam.

Most standard driving tests are performed on city streets, although a particular route is generally used to help avoid traffic and allow the test to pass more quickly. You may be able to find out the exact route by asking an official at the Department of Motor Vehicles, although this may not always be the case. If you know someone who recently took his driving test, he may tell you the exact route so you can take a driving practice test on the same roads where the actual test will take place.

A driving course may be set up with obstacles.
A driving course may be set up with obstacles.

Some areas may have a designated driving course. This is an obstacle course set up in a large parking lot or private street that may feature various settings in which to practice driving skills. For example, cones may be set up to help students practice parallel parking. Many drivers training to receive their commercial driver's license (CDL) take this type of driving practice test.

If you do not have access to either of these options, your best bet is to design your own driving practice test. Re-read your driving manual and speak with your driving instructor to discuss exactly what will be asked of you during the actual driving exam. This way, you can be sure to practice the skills that you will need to pass your driving test.

You should be sure that your driving skills are nearly flawless before attempting your driving exam, so as not to waste your time or that of the tester. Taking a driving practice test in a private area can help improve your odds of passing, but driving on open roads with higher levels of traffic is also beneficial.

Be prepared for the unexpected on the test. Even with the right amount of practice and a good driving instructor, you may be asked to do something you are not familiar with. Do the best you can and take things slow. If you don’t pass on the first try, at least during the second attempt you will know what to expect.

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Discussion Comments


To pass the driving exam you need a lot of practice and good teacher. It's good to have a nice tutor like your parents. but it's much better if you contact anther car expert who can tell you about changes in driving tests, etc. I practiced before my test with my instructor and passed the exam the first time.


My driver's test was on residential streets around the testing center, with speeds no higher than 35 mph. Practicing in a similar setting, with four way stops, right turns and left turns is a good idea, because the examiner can always throw in a surprise request at any point during the road test.

The driving itself was not a problem for me, since we did a lot of residential driving during class. What almost caused me to fail was making too many judgment calls about other drivers I met on the road. The examiner asked me to turn left from a busier highway, and I noticed a car in the opposite lane. I thought I had enough time to complete the turn before the other car arrived, but it was a close call. My examiner wasn't happy, Practicing on a closed course or parking lot is a good idea, but you also have to remember that other cars will be on the road during the exam.


When I was learning how to drive, my state changed one of the driving test elements. Instead of parallel parking, we had to perform what they called a "maneuverability test". Five cones were set up in the shape of a house on an empty parking lot. The driver would drive through the center of the "house" and be told to drive to the left or right of the point cone and stop. The next step was to put the car in reverse and steer back into the box.

When my drivers' education teacher found out about this change, he took us out to a parking lot and set up the cones according to the official guidelines. He showed us how to judge the distance between the cones and stop with the rear bumper aligned with the point cone. The reverse maneuver could ideally be accomplished with a 1-2-1 steering adjustment. We turned the wheel one time to the right to angle into the box, then two times to the left to cancel out the turn and then one time to the right to straighten out and park.

I'd say if your state has a similar maneuverability test, get all of the measurements and practice the 1-2-1 method until you can do it automatically.

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