Master the KY
Driving Written Test!

About the Kentucky DMV Written Test

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is their “DMV.” The Cabinet mission is to “provide safe, secure and reliable highway systems.” They accomplish this through issuing graduated learner permits, driver licenses, monitoring traffic safety and handling title and registration needs. The Kentucky DMV is working on a new, much needed upgrade to their website which should provide a slew of useful features, such as online appointment scheduling and live traffic reports.

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Whether you are a first time driver getting your permit or just need to renew your license, our material can help. We offer super quick "get it and go" cheat sheets as well as more inclusive online practice test questions and answers.

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New drivers license in Kentucky

Who Needs a License?

All new drivers and residents to the state of Kentucky must complete the driver’s license process through the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in the county in which they are living and must hold a valid license in order to legally drive within state lines. Any persons over the age of 16 may begin the licensing process and the steps of application depend greatly on the age of the new driver and type of vehicle they plan to drive. There are several licenses available in the state including:

  • A Standard License is issued to all adults meeting state requirements who wish to operate a personal motor vehicle.
  • A CDL may be acquired if a resident wishes to drive for a living, special endorsement will allow future commercial employee to drive specific types including passenger vehicles.
  • A special license must be obtained for those wishing to operate a moped or motorcycle on public roads.
  • An intermediate license is issued as the second phase of the licensing process for minors and holds specific driving restrictions.

What are the requirements for getting a license?

Each Kentucky license must contain specific information regarding the applicant’s full legal name, date of birth and current resident address. Each applicant must prove these items with documentation that may include:

  • An original birth certificate can be supplied to prove identity and birth date.
  • A social security card must be provided to prove legal residence in the US.
  • Applicants may prove residency with a utility bill, mortgage or any other document that provides the full legal name and current address of resident approved by the state.
  • In addition, minor applicants must provide a parental signature on the application, a valid permit held for 180 days and school compliance verification.
  • All new drivers must complete and turn in a ‘no-pass/no-drive’ form.
  • In addition, all new drivers must pass the vision, written knowledge and road tests in order to proceed to licensing.

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

Several tests are required for new license applications and include:

  • A vision screen to assure you can see well enough to drive safely.
  • A knowledge test based on the information provided in the Drivers Handbook and found online at in the forms of cheat sheets. The questions will test your knowledge of Kentucky road signs and traffic laws. You must receive a score of 80% or better to pass the test
  • The road test is administered to new drivers after learners permit requirements have been met. Over 21 new applicants may test after holding a permit for 30 days, while minors under 21 must drive a minimum of 180 days before testing as part of the graduated licensing program. Tests are administered by privates companies based in the resident’s county.

Taking a Drivers Education course

Once you have received your enrollment letter from the Kentucky cabinet you may precede with the required driver’s education course for a graduated license. There are currently three options for the course that allow new drivers to complete traffic school through the online website, DVD/video or classroom options. Minors must complete the classroom option in order to fulfill requirements for a graduated license.

Preparing for the written test

Being well prepared for the testing process includes using your permit practice wisely on the roadways and studying hard. You can use the study materials available to you on the DMV website, the Kentucky Drivers Manual and many detailed practice tools found online. Studying hard no only prepares you for passing the test but becoming a safe driver on the roads as well. Study material is available such as:

  • Cheat sheets will provide you with all the study material necessary to pass on the first try.
  • Practice tests will gage your progress and further assist you in the studying process.
  • Detailed Articles offer tips and tricks for testing well.

What to bring on test day

On test day, you will need to provide all of the required proofs for the information that will be found on your license. This includes proof of your name and birth date with a birth certificate, social security card and a document providing residency in the state. The ‘no pass/ no drive’ document can be printed in advance and completed beforehand.

Minors under the age of 18 will need to bring addition paperwork including the school compliance verification. A parent or guardian is needed for the permission signature on the application as well.

For driving tests, proof of registration and insurance for the vehicle must be brought, as well as licensed driver over the age of 21.

Taking the drivers test

The drivers test can be taken after all learners permit requirements have been met including the required amount of time you must practice with the permit. This will be 30 days if you are over 21 and 180 for teen drivers. The day of testing you will supply your own vehicle and must be accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 21. The driver will not be accompanying you on the test, simply standing by in case you do not pass. Testing will consist of two phases:

  • The examiner will ask for the proper identification which includes your valid permit, proof of insurance and proper registration. For rental vehicles the permit holders name must be on the lease agreement.
  • The examiner will then proceed with the inspection if all documentation is provided. The inspection will include the cleanliness of the passenger side and seat belt in the car, all working switches on the dash such as windshield wipers and headlights. The safety portion will check to assure the car meets all safety standards.

The second phase will be the driving portion of testing. The examiner only will ride along and score your ability to drive in traffic under normal conditions. You will be given a series of instructions which must follow including backing up, turning and coming to a complete stop.

Taking the written test

The written test is administered after approval to all new applicants for a license or learners permit. A passing score of 80% or above must be received in order for the applicant to pass the test. It will consist of multiple choice test questions based on traffic laws, road signs and normal vehicle operation.

Studying for this test is important if you wish to receive a passing score and there are several ways to achieve this. Obtain and study a copy of the Kentucky driver’s manual. In addition, using the cheat sheets available to you at, will increase your chances of passing on the first try, offering detailed information on safe driving and traffic laws. Take practice tests also found on the website to assure that you are ready before attempting the test.

If you fail your test, you may retake on the next business up to six times in a row. On the sixth fail, you will be required to wait six months before attempting the test again.

Renewing a Kentucky Drivers license

Who needs to renew their license?

All drivers holding any license type must renew there license to continue driving on the roads. A license is good from the date it was received to the date of expiration listed on the license and expires on the driver’s birthday. The license is valid for four years and will remain legal up to 30 days past expiration.

How do I renew my KY driver’s license?

To renew a license, drivers must visit the Circuit court clerks office in person up to 30 days past expiration.

What tests do I need to take to renew

If your license has been expired for over one year, you must retake the vision and written exam in order to be reinstated.

Preparing to renew my Kentucky driver’s license

Gather your current driver’s license and renewal letter and visit your DMV office during hours. You may be required to take a vision screening and new photo at the time of renewal. Be sure to bring the appropriate renewal fee in a check, cash or money order. You may want to call ahead and find out if your office accepts credit and debit cards.

What is the cost to renew my license?

The cost of renewal is $20 and can be paid by check, cash and in some locations credit or debit cards.

Getting an Kentucky Learners permit

Who needs a learners permit?

All new drivers in the state of Kentucky must first hold a learners permit for a particular length of time depending on age. New drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 may begin the process to receive a driver’s license with parental permission and supervision. Minor drivers will receive a permit are part of the Kentucky graduated licensing program designed to help minors become great drivers when on the road.

Requirements to getting a learners permit

To receive a permit, teens must be at least 16 years old on the date of application. In addition, they must follow the steps for achieving a permit. The following documents must be presented to the clerk at the time of application. Each form must be the original copy showing the teen drivers full legal name:

  • A social security card and birth certificate.
  • Though not asked for the actual documentation, the parent or guardian’s social security number and driver’s license number must be written on the application.
  • A parent or guardian signature is required on the application for drivers under age 18.
  • A completed ‘No pass-No drive’ form must be submitted.
  • Once the correct forms have been submitted and approved, all new drivers must take several tests in order to receive the learners permit. These are issued by the Kentucky State Police License Examiner and include a vision screening and written test. All applicants must pass the test with a minimum of 80% correct in order to proceed.

Driving with a KY learners Permit

Drivers over the age of 21 holding a permit must practice for a minimum of 30 days before they can take the road test portion of licensing. Minors under the age of 21 are required to practice for 180 days however they may take as long as the 3 year time to prepare before the permit will expire.

Be sure to practice as must as possible, following the time restriction for minors. Teen drivers must not be on the roads between the hours of midnight and six am without showing good cause. In addition, a mandatory 60 hours of practice time is required, with ten hours minimum during nighttime. The document must be provided before the drivers test will be administered that this requirement has been met, signed by the supervising driver. In addition, teen drivers must have the documentation certified by a parent or guardian.

Steps to getting a Kentucky learners permit

  • Visit the Circuit Court Clerks office in the county in which you reside.
  • Provide the proper forms of identification including a birth certificate, social security card and proof of residency.
  • A ‘No-pass/no-drive’ form must be filled out and turned in at this time.
  • Minors must have a parent or guardian sign the application to receive permission to practice driving. The parent must also provide their social security number and drivers license at this time.
  • In addition, drivers under 18 are required to present a School enrollment certification form.
  • Once all proofs have been received, the clerk will issue permission to take the vision exam and written test. You must pass both tests in order to proceed. The written test must receive an 80% or higher score in order to pass
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