Master the IA

Driver's Written Test!

About the Iowa DMV Written Test

The Iowa Motor Vehicle Department (Iowa MVD) is responsible for the issuance of Iowa driver’s licenses, driver records & statistics, driver safety, education, accident records and statistics. According to the Governor of Iowa, there are two million drivers with an Iowa driver’s license. Driving is a right, not a priviledge. Any resident looking for a learner’s permit, driver’s license, motorcycle or commercial license need to visit their local MVD office or website.

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New Iowa Drivers License

Which license is for you?

Depending on your age, there are several types of licenses available at the Motor Vehicle Department. All persons wishing to operate any type of motorized vehicle on public roadways must apply for and complete the expected requirements in order to legally drive. Standard licenses are used for person and recreational purposes, though special licenses will allow motorists to drive for a living. Other licenses will allow the use of specific types of vehicles. There are several Classes for drivers to apply.

Minors have several stages they must complete in the process in order to reach a full personal license. These include:

  • School License- This is a special license issued to minors’ ages 14 ½ or older that have met qualifications and requirements. This allows the teen driver to operate a vehicle only for transportation to and from school or to a fuel station for gas.
  • Intermediate license- the first step after complete of an instructional permit requirements, this is a restricted license for minors between the age of 16 and 17.
  • Full Privilege license- issued to minors 17 and older that have completed all of the stages in the graduated license programs.

Other license types for adults include:

  • Class A, B and C commercial licenses allow drivers over the age of 18 to operate a vehicle for work purposes.
  • Class C is the standard license for all drivers ages 16 and up.
  • Class M licenses allow the operation of a motorcycle or moped on public roads.

What are the requirements for getting a license?

All new drivers must meet Iowa document requirements in order to proceed with the process including:

  • Proof of identity and age- one document from approved list.
  • Proof of Lawful presence in the US- a social security card or approved equivalent must be provided.
  • Documents certifying that applicant is a legal resident of Iowa- Two documents from the approved list must be supplied. Examples may be a check stub, Utility bill or for minors school enrollment forms.
  • A vision exam must be administered and a passing score received.
  • Applicants must also take all required written and driving tests for their license type and pass with minimum scores to proceed.
  • Pay the required fees and take a photograph.

In addition, minors must meet all the requirements for each license stage which may include providing written parental consent, passing an approved driver’s education course and meeting practice requirements.

What tests do I need to take to get a license?

  • The vision test is required for all new drivers and minors at each stage of licensing
  • The knowledge test is administered at several stages during licensing include minors receiving a permit and restricted licenses. The amount of questions on the test varies. When you receive the written test it will tell you at the top how many questions you answer correctly to receive a passing score. Most tests are 35 multiple choice questions and you must correctly answer 28 in order to pass.
  • A road test is administered to new drivers to assure they can properly control the vehicle while on roadways, as well as assure they can read signs, signals and obey traffic laws for the state. Drivers will receive feedback after the test as well as a score of pass/fail.

Taking a Drivers Education course

Drivers education is available to all new potential drivers at age 14 and is required to be completed by minors up to age 18 while driving with an instructional permit. Driver’s education is provided through schools and private companies and the instructional permit is required for enrollment. Students will receive 30 hours of in class instruction, as well as 6 hours behind the wheel with a licensed instructor. A certificate of complete must be presented at the time of application for a license.

Preparing for the written test

  • Obtain a copy of the Iowa driver’s manual either online or through a branch office. In addition, get a copy of the cheat sheets available at DMVcheatsheets.com for your license or permit type.
  • Use your study materials wisely and assure that you have a full understanding of traffic laws, rules and how to be a safe driver.
  • Take the practice tests at DMVcheatsheets.com available to you through dmvcheatsheets.com to practice the testing procedure and test your understanding of the driving concepts you need to know to pass the test.
  • Be sure to re-read your cheat sheets the morning before your test so that the materials remain fresh in your mind.

What to bring on test day?

Depending on your age, there will be several documents that you will need to bring with you to the DMV office:

  • Minors must bring their valid instructional permit, and certification of completion of driver’s education. In addition to the application, under 18 drivers must also bring a written parental consent form.
  • All documents approved to provide proof of identity, age and citizenship. This includes a social security card or approved alternative. Two proofs of residency must also be collected to provide.
  • Bring any eyewear required to be worn while driving.
  • Come prepared to pay the appropriate license fees of $16 for a two year license or $40 if applying for a five year license with a check, cash or money order.

Cost of drivers test

There is an $8 charge for the vision and written test portions, as well as a $20 charge for driving tests.

Taking the drivers test

The road test is designed so that new drivers may prove their skills behind the wheel are adequate for safe driving on roadways. The instructor will first inspect the vehicle you provide to assure that is meets safety standards and ask for proof of proper registration and insurance. You must bring a licensed driver with you and they should remain at the testing site in case you do not pass the test. During the test, the examiner will sit in the front seat and give you specific instructions to follow that may include making turns at an intersection, changing lanes and parking. You must follow the instructions completely and execute all driving maneuvers correctly to pass. The test is graded on a point system and you will receive a score of pass/fail. After the exam is complete the instructor will give you feedback regardless of your score.

Taking the written test

As part of the application process, applicants will be expected to take the written test after the other steps have been completed to satisfaction. At larger MVD stations the test will be administered on a computer but in most cases it is in written form. The test will consist of 35 multiple-choice questions and will address such concepts as traffic laws, safe driving practices and driving under the influence of alcohol.

It is important to study before attempting this test to avoid having to repeat the application process. Materials such as the Iowa Drivers handbook and cheat sheets online at DMVcheatsheets.com will provide you with all of the information needed to know to pass the test easily. Practice tests available on DMVcheatsheets.com are also provided that address commonly found questions similar to what you may experience while testing.

Renewing your Iowa Drivers license

How do I renew my IO license?

Every five years licensed Iowa drivers must renew their license if they wish to continue driving. The license is still valid up to 60 days after the driver’s birthday but may be renewed between one year and up to 30 days in advance. Drivers will receive an electronic notification thirty days before expiration that it is time to renew, and the email will also include renewal instructions. If a driver is eligible for online renewal they will be notified at this time.

  • renewing online is allowed if the applicant meets specific requirements. Your current driver’s license and a credit or debit card are needed to complete the process. There is an additional $1.50 charge for renewing in this manner.
  • In-person renewal can be done at any DMV station during operating hours and will require the applicants’ current license and renewal fees of $40 in check, cash or money order.

What test do I need to take to renew

You must retake the vision test any time you renew your license at a MVD office. If your license is more than one year past expiration, you will be required to retake the written and road tests in addition to the vision screen in order to be reinstated.

What is the cost to renew my license?

There is a renewal fee of $40 for a five year license and $16 for a two-year

Steps to renew your license

Read your reminder email to see if you can renew online or must visit an office. If renewing online simple follow the prompts on the online renewal service and pay the $40 dollar fee plus $1.50 charge for online services up to 30 days before expiration.

If you must renew in person, visit your local station during business hours, submit your current license to the clerk. You will be asked to take the vision exam and if you pass, a new photograph. You may complete the process by paying the $40 renewal fee in check, cash or money order.

Getting an Iowa learners Instructional Permit

How old do I need to be to get a learners permit

You must be at least 14 years old to obtain an instructional permit in Iowa. All new drivers wishing to begin the licensing process must first receive an instructional permit and meet state expectations before continuing on the licensing process.

Requirements to getting a learners permit

If the application is under the age of 18, they will be required to provide an original birth certificate at the time of application. In addition the following proofs must be shown:

  • A primary form of identification may be shown in substitution for the birth certificate. A secondary form of identification is also required.
  • Provide a Social Security car and proof of residency in Iowa.
  • A written parental consent form will also be required.

Driving with an IO Learners permit

Practice driving time should be used to master the skills necessary to be a safe driver and avoid an accident while on the roadways. It is a perfect time to assure the new driver is well versed in all of the common traffic signs and signals encountered on the road. Repetitive practice will assist the new driver in turning proper driving procedures such as turning, parking and yielding the right of way when appropriate into a natural part of safe driving habits.

Drivers may operate a motor vehicle with a licensed instructor, parent or guardian or an immediate family member over the age of 21. Other licensed drivers must be over 25 and has a parent’s written permission. You must practice driving for at least 6 months with a permit and complete at minimum of 20 hours drive time. At least 2 hours must be night time driving.

During the time of permit driving, you must complete an approved driver’s education program that includes:

  • 30 hours of classroom instruction- 4 hours must be on the topic of substance abuse and driving, 20 must contain information regard railroad crossings and other safe driving practices.
  • 6 hours of physical instruction, this may include the use of simulators but at least three must be actual time behind the wheel.

Cost of an Iowa learners permit

There is a $6 fee for instructional permits.

Steps to getting an Iowa learners permit

All applicants must apply in person at a local MVD office in order to apply for an instructional permit DMVcheatsheets.com. The following steps must be completed in order to receive a permit:

  • Submit a completed application along with a written parental consent form.
  • Provide all of the required documents showing age, identity, residency in the state of Iowa and proving you have legal presence in the form of a social security card or other approved document if a social security number has not yet been provided.
  • Applicants must then pass the vision screening to prove they can safely drive on roadways, and a knowledge test DMVcheatsheets.com to demonstrate a basic knowledge of safe driving practices, awareness of traffic signs and signals and an ability to operate a vehicle correctly.

If all the above steps are completed successfully, applicants can then pay the $6 fee and receive an instructional permit

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