California Driver’s Handbook

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Section 8 of 28

The Examination Process

Where to Take the Tests

You may take the knowledge, vision, and behind-the-wheel driving tests at most DMV field offices that provide DL services.

To save time, make an appointment online or call 1-800-777-0133 during normal business hours.

Knowledge and vision tests are required when you apply for an original DL or upgrade to a different class of DL.

DMV Examinations

Your DL examinations include:

  • A vision test (bring your eyeglasses or wear contact lenses if required for driving).
  • A knowledge test.
    • DMV utilizes an automated TouchScreen Terminal (TST) to administer the knowledge test.
  • A behind-the-wheel driving test (if required). For the driving test, you must have an appointment and bring:
    • Your old DL or instruction permit, if you have one.
    • A licensed driver age 18 years old or older with a valid California DL.
    • Proof that the vehicle is properly insured.

If you use a rental vehicle, the driving test applicant must be listed on the rental contract. The contract must not exclude driving tests.

  • —    A vehicle that is safe to drive, and has valid registration. The vehicle’s brake lights, horn, parking brake, and turn signals must work properly. The vehicle cannot have bald tires, which would have less than 1/32 inch tread depth in any 2 adjacent grooves. The driver’s side window must roll down. The windshield must allow a full unobstructed field of vision for you and the examiner. There must be at least 2 rearview mirrors (one must be on the left outside of the vehicle).
  • —    You will be asked to locate the controls for the vehicle’s headlights, windshield wipers, defroster, and emergency flashers. You must demonstrate how to use the parking brake.

The behind-the-wheel driving test will be rescheduled if the vehicle does not meet the above requirements or if you refuse to use your seat belt during the driving test.

Technology, such as back up cameras and self-parking, cannot solely be used on a driving test.

For your safety, no pets or passengers other than the DMV examiner or other authorized personnel, are permitted in the vehicle during your driving test.

For more information, refer to the Preparing for Your Driving Test (FFDL 22) Fast Facts brochure, DMV videos, and sample tests available online.


The use of testing aids is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: the California Driver’s Handbook, cheat sheets, and/or electronic communication devices such as a cell phone, hand-held computer, etc. If any testing aid is used during the knowledge test, the knowledge test will be marked as a failure. An action may also be taken by DMV against your driving privilege or the driving privilege of anyone else who assists you in the examination process.