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Practice Permit Test & Driver License Test
The best way to study for your permit or full driver license test is to use both the Driver Handbook and these permit practice tests!
Make sure you get the latest version of the handbook and read it. Pay special attention to rules and laws that are specific for California.
Use the practice tests to verify if you are ready or not. Take enough sample tests at Driver’s Prep to make sure you can reach a perfect score of 100%.
Each CA DMV practice test has 36 random questions based on the handbook and real questions from California DMV (dmv.ca.gov). After every question on the test, you get instant feedback with a detailed explanation.
The passing score on the real DMV examination is 83 percent. On a test with 36 questions, this means you can only miss 6 questions.
The number of questions on the real California knowledge test depends on your age and what test you take (see details below). If you are under 18 years, the test has 46 questions.
Read more about studying for your exam: How to Ace the DMV test.
Who Must Take the California Written Knowledge Test
You must always take a knowledge test, vision test, and road test when you apply for an original California driver license or upgrade to a different class of driver license.
If you have a license from another state, DMV will usually waive both the knowledge test and the road test.
After a license revocation, you must apply for a new license and re-take all necessary tests.
How Many Questions Are on the California DMV Test?
If you are less than 18 years, but at least 15 years and six months, and applying for a provisional permit, you need to take the written test on traffic laws and traffic signs. There are 46 questions on this test. To pass, you must correctly answer 38 questions. If you fail, you must wait one week before taking it again. You have three chances to pass the test.
If you are over 18 years and apply for an original driver license, the test covering traffic laws and road signs consists of 36 questions. If you pass, you will be issued a permit if you have never been licensed before.
A CA DMV renewal test for adults has 18 questions.
Computerized Tests with Touch Screens
Previously, you got the DMV knowledge test on paper. Today, you take the test on a computer with a touch screen. Instead of marking the correct answer with an “X”, the applicant now just taps the correct answer on a screen.
The new computer version has randomized questions just like on our practice tests, which means that no two tests are the same. The computer tests are available in English and Spanish.
Computer tests speed up the exam process, but it is also a lot easier to misread and make a hasty decision. So, take your time and read everything carefully.
Do Not Cheat!
Remember, the use of any testing aids is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of cell phones, cheat sheets, and the California Driver Handbook. If you use any aid during the written test, you will fail. An action may also be taken by the DMV against your driving privilege or the driving privilege of anyone else who assists you in the examination process.
Make an Appointment?
When you are ready for your test, make an appointment online at www.dmv.ca.gov or call during normal business hours.
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the face-to-face services at DMV service locations, but knowledge tests and driving tests can be scheduled in advance.
To make sure you have all necessary documents for your permit application, you should follow the REAL-ID checklist online at dmv.ca.gov
You should have the following documents:
ONE identity document that show full name and date of birth
You will typically bring the original or a certified copy of your U.S birth certificate, a valid and unexpired U.S. passport or passport card, or your unexpired permanent resident card.
ONE original document that shows your name and full Social Security Number
It is best to bring your scocial security card, but a W-2 form or a pay stub with full SSN is also accepted by DMV.
TWO Proofs of California Residency
You must provide two documents that show your first and last name together with your current mailing address. Examples of accepted documents are your rental agreement or mortgage bill, bank or credit card statements, your tax return, employment documents, or insurance documents.
A child may use a residency document in their parents’ name by presenting a tracing document (such as a birth certificate) showing the relationship.
After The California DMV Knowledge Test
If you pass the written knowledge test, California DMV issues a provisional permit (learner’s permit).
Once you have your permit, you may practice driving supervised by a parent, spouse, legal guardian, or certified driving instructor. You may also practice driving with any licensed California driver 25 years of age or older.
To learn more about California’s graduated driver license process, read this article: What is California Graduated Driver’s License?
More Practice Tests for Your CA DMV exam
Once you start practicing, you will see links to more practice tests! Just tap/click on the link that says “Next Test”.
California DMV – COVID-19 Alerts
70 and older – free one year extension; eligible to renew online beginning December 6, 2020.
69 and younger – extended online renewals available.
New behind the wheel drive tests are available at DMV by appointment. Other new appointments not yet available.
Schedule your behind-the-wheel drive test: Make an appointment at CA DMV
CA DMV Customers must wear a face covering and remain 6 feet apart in line.
CA DMV Customers are offered a text message that allows them to wait outside the building until notified it is their turn to be served.
All entry into the service center building is metered.
Latest information here: DMV-related COVID-19 updates