Driver's License

Iowa Driver's License 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.

Study Material Available offers a variety of options to help you easily prepare for and pass the Iowa Driver's License Written Test.
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The Iowa DMV Cheat Sheet is a downloadable, immediately accessible 3-4 page reference guide featuring the top 50 questions and answers to help you easily pass your Iowa driving written test.
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The Iowa DMV Online Practice Test lets you immediately review over 100 multiple choice questions and answers similar to those you will come up against when taking the Iowa DMV exam. Our practice tests cover every chapter of the IA DMV manual including rules of the road, traffic signals, laws, signs and safety.
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Included In Bundle
  • Iowa MVD Cheat Sheet
  • Iowa MVD Online Practice Test
The Iowa DMV Cheat Sheet & Online Practice Test Bundle is the most complete and easiest way to prepare for your DMV test. You get our downloadable, printable 3-4 page cheat sheet to take with you to review as well as our online practice test system, featuring 100 multiple choice questions and answers similar to those you will come up against when taking the Iowa DMV exam. Our study material cover every chapter of the IA DMV manual including rules of the road, traffic signals, laws, signs and safety.
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Available Immediately

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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 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 available to you through 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 will provide you with all of the information needed to know to pass the test easily. Practice tests available on 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.