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 drive tests. Here are resources to help you prepare.

Before you can get a DL in California, you’ll need to pass relevant knowledge and drive 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’s 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’s Handbook: Valuable information on general driving skills and rules of the road.

Samples of Driver’s License Knowledge Tests: Sample 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

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

Prepare for Your Behind-the-Wheel Drive Test

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

The purpose of a drive 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 drive 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 drive test with a DMV examiner who evaluates your driving skills

DMV also offers two additional types of drive 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 drive test:

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

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

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