California dmv written test

How to Pass Your California DMV Written Test in 2021

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Mar 18, 2021

Taking and passing the written test is the first step towards getting your driver’s license in the state of California. Many student drivers underestimate the exam – over 44% of drivers fail their permit test on the first try.

However, it is important to remember the California DMV is not out to trick you. The purpose of the written test is to examine your knowledge of the road and ensure all drivers possess the same information while traveling throughout the state. All you need to do is gain a solid understanding of the rules of the road and traffic signs to pass with flying colors.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about taking (and passing) the California DMV written test.

Schedule Your CA Written Test

Scheduling your exam is super simple. Before you schedule your test, make sure you satisfy the following:

  1. Are at least 15.5 years old
  2. Have completed driver’s education (if you are under 18)

With that out of the way, you will need an appointment before going in to take your test.

How to Schedule Your Written Test

Visit the California DMV website where you’ll be prompted to select your desired service and choose your preferred test location and date. Leading up to your permit test, you can reschedule or cancel your appointment using the CA DMV Appointment System. It is recommended that you check the status of your test 24 hours before it’s scheduled to ensure it is still being administered.

How to Pass Your California Written Test

To pass the driver’s permit test, you will need to have a strong grasp on traffic laws and safety, as well as road signs. The California Handbook has loads of valuable information pertaining to driving rules statewide. You can find one at your local DMV location for free. Additionally, we suggest a few tips while studying for the exam:

  • Try identifying road signs anytime you’re a passenger in a car or bus
  • Make flashcards about important road rules and laws
  • Take California DMV practice tests and read the driver’s handbook
  • Start studying well in advance

What to Bring to the California DMV

Like any visit to the DMV, there are a few documents you will need to bring with you in order to take your written test. After scheduling your exam online, make sure you have the following documents.

–   Proof of Social Security

–   Proof of Identity

–   $33 for the fee

–   Certificate of Driver’s Education Completion (if under 18)

If you are under 18, you will also need to bring a parent with you to sign off on your Driver’s License or ID Card Application (DL 44).

The Day of the Permit Test

You’ll want to make sure you eat a good breakfast and are well rested leading up to your exam. It may be a smart idea to lightly review some of your notes, but don’t overload your brain before jumping into the permit test. It will only add to your anxiety and nervousness, which often results in a lower score.

You will also be asked to complete a standard vision exam before taking the written test on one of the DMV’s electronic tablets.

How Does the California Permit Test Work? 

The content of the test is split up between road signs, traffic laws, and general driving rules and regulations. All of this information is taken straight out of the California DMV handbook.

  • If you are under 18, the test contains 46 questions. You will need to answer 38 of them correctly in order to pass. 
  • Adults over the age of 18 are given an exam with 36 questions and are required to answer 30 correctly for a passing score. 

Remember, the DMV wants you to pass. Going into your written driver’s test with this mindset will help you ease your nerves and keep a clear head. This is the best way to ensure a successful result!

What Happens After the Test?

With the California written test being administered electronically, you will receive your exam score immediately. If you have passed, you will receive your CA instruction permit, allowing you to operate a motor vehicle under specific restrictions. This is the perfect time to improve your on-road driving skills before the driving test.

If you’ve failed the exam, you’ll be able to retake the test seven days later. You have up to three opportunities to pass before you’ll have to restart the entire application process and pay additional fees.

As you can see, passing the California written test is simple as long as you know what you’re doing. In this guide, we’ve laid out everything you need to schedule, prepare for, and pass the test. Be sure to reference this guide early and often as the date of your exam gets closer, and you’ll be well on the way towards getting your driver’s license.

If you find yourself needing a bit of extra practice, Zutobi has got your back. We have helpful courses, practice tests, and driving tips to help you understand core topics for the exam very quickly.

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