Knowledge and Drive Tests Preparation

Driver Education 2

Before you can get a California driver’s license (DL) of any kind, you will need to pass knowledge and driving tests. Here are resources to help you prepare.

Before you can get a DL in California, you’ll need to pass relevant knowledge and driving tests to show that you understand the rules of the road and are comfortable driving the vehicle that the license will allow you to drive. We put together these resources to help you prepare for these tests.

Prepare for Your Knowledge Tests

In most cases, you are required to pass knowledge tests showing that you understand traffic laws and safety before you can get an instruction permit or DL.

Here are a few suggestions for studying for your knowledge test(s):

  • Review the California Driver Handbook. It contains a lot of important information, so give yourself a few days to get through it.
  • Read the test questions carefully. There will be one correct answer and the other two answer choices will be either obviously wrong or not appropriate for the question asked. Don’t overthink it; there are no “trick questions.”
  • Remember, all the test questions are taken from the handbook. If you miss a question, the field office employee can tell you on which page to find the correct answer.
  • Don’t be nervous. DMV wants you to pass your test. Good luck!


California Driver Handbook: Valuable information on general driving skills and rules of the road.

Samples of Driver’s License Knowledge Tests: Practice tests for different licenses and classes.

Motorcycle Driver Handbook: Information to help you prepare for the motorcycle DL knowledge test.

California Commercial Driver Handbook: Information to help you prepare for the commercial driver’s license (CDL) knowledge test.

DMV YouTube Playlists

Prepare for Your Driving Test

We require first-time DL applicants, and other applicants who meet certain conditions, to pass a driving test before they can get a DL.

The purpose of a driving test is to determine whether you:

  • Are able to safely operate a vehicle.
  • Use safe driving habits.
  • Can apply your knowledge of traffic laws in real life situations.
  • Can make up for any physical condition, such as loss of a limb, poor hearing, or a vision condition.

The driving test is divided into 2 parts:

  • Pre-drive safety check: Determines whether your vehicle meets the minimum DMV safety standards and whether you are familiar with the operation of your vehicle.
  • Driving Performance Evaluation (DPE): Behind-the-wheel driving test with a DMV examiner who evaluates your driving skills.

DMV also offers two additional types of driving tests:

  • Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation (SDPE): Given to applicants of any age who have a physical, mental, or vision condition, and/or a referral due to a lack of skill that may impact their ability to safely operate a vehicle.
  • Area Driving Performance Evaluation (ADPE): Limits you to drive only in specified areas. If you are successful with the ADPE, your DL will be restricted to only the specified areas where you were tested.

Resources to help you prepare for your driving test:

Driving Test Criteria Handbook: Everything you need to know about driving tests, including how to prepare, safety criteria, and scoring criteria.

California Driver Handbook: Valuable information on general driving skills and rules of the road.

California Parent-Teen Training Guide: An overview for parents and teen drivers on the skills needed for a teen to pass the driving test.

Senior Guide for Safe Driving: A wide-ranging guide addressing the needs and concerns of seniors.

California Motorcycle Handbook: Information about safe motorcycle operation, getting your license, and more.

Preparing for Your Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation: Information about driving tests for applicants with conditions that may affect their ability to drive safely.

Additional Testing Materials: Extra material that may assist in passing your knowledge test.

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