DMV Questions and Answers for the California DMV

by Joshua on September 04, 2013

The system for obtaining a new drivers license in California can be a tricky one and one the most common reasons many must repeat portions of the process is lack of preparation. New drivers will find they must submit specific documentation proving such items as identity, date of birth and U.S citizenship status in order to complete the application portion of processing. In addition to paperwork, there are three main exams that each new driver must take and receive a passing score in order to be granted permission to drive in the state.

Every license class from a regular operator’s license to CDL must take a vision test, written test and finally a road skills exam in order to receive a full privilege driver’s license. While the vision screening may be fairly simple, many drivers fail the written portion of testing and must repeat the process as many as three times before moving on in the procedure. The number one reason for failure on the written exam is lack of proper preparation. Failing the test has consequences such as lost time, repeated fees and in some cases the losses can mean a mandatory wait time before completely beginning again if the test is failed repeatedly.

New drivers taking the written test can avoid these delays and added costs with some simple preparation and study. Passing the written test is as easy as three steps which include gathering materials and understanding what to expect, studying hard and practicing.

Gathering materials and understanding the DMV written test

Once the driver’s license application has been submitted along with proper documents and approved, the driver will begin the testing process. A vision screening is administered and fees are collected. The new application will then be guided to the testing area of the DMV where they will begin the written test. Before the new driver gets to this process they must prepare in advance if they wish to pass on the first try. The written test covers ten major aspects of safe driving in California which include:

  • Right of way
  • Parking
  • Image Scanning
  • Turns
  • Lane Usage
  • Safe observances
  • Equipment
  • Traffic management
  • Signs
  • Lane Usages
  • Special Vehicles & Railroad Crossings

Questions for each test are generated randomly so no two drivers will ever receive the same DMV test, and the test will not be the same if a new application must repeat after a failure. The written test consists of 46 multiple choice questions and the applicant must correctly answer 39 in order to receive a passing score. During testing, no cell phones are allowed and anyone accompanying the new driver must wait outside the testing area. Three tries are given for the written test before the new driver must repeat the entire license process again.

The first step in preparation for the test is to acquire the multiple materials available to assist new drivers in passing on the first try. The California driver’s manual can be found online or in hard copy at a DMV office free of charge. This will contain all of the information a new driver needs to know about the license process as well as traffic laws, rules of the road and other helpful information regarding safe driver practices.

Cheat sheets available online contains all of the necessary information needed to pass the test on the first attempt. The cheat sheets break down the important information covered on the written test into easy to read and study pages. In addition the information is written test focused and designed for easy and detailed preparation. For more added study, read through some helpful articles geared towards preparing for the test including helpful tips and tricks to passing with ease.

Devote study time to materials each day before the day of application and be sure to study the sections involving street signs and traffic laws in detail. In addition, on the day of testing bring along your cheat sheets to study while waiting for your turn for a last minute review of hard to remember details.

Practice tests can also be obtained both on the DMV website which offers a select few practice sections and more comprehensive tests available online. Since test questions for the actual test are generated out of thousands of possibilities, it is essential to use practice tests such as the ones from to assure the new driver fully covers all necessary areas of testing to pass.

What to Expect on the Written Test

The test will generate 46 random questions from the database for the applicant to answer and no two are every the same. Sample questions such as the follow are a great way to get a feel for what to expect on the written test:

  • Your approached at night by a vehicle driving in the opposite direction that is making it difficult to see ahead, what should you do?
  • Two vehicles reach a four-way intersection at the same time; each has a stop sign in their direction. Which has the right-of-way?
  • What do the orange cones on the freeway mean?
  • What is the proper procedure when reaching a flashing red light?
  • While crossing at an intersection, an ambulance approaches with its lights flashing and emergency siren on. What is the proper procedure?

Written test questions will be a mixture of general safe driving practices and state-specific traffic laws that each driver must know before being granted permission to operate any class of motor vehicle. It is essential the new driver study materials thoroughly to assure a passing score.

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