What You Need to Know for Your California DMV Test - Exam Guide

If you need to pass the initial California permit test for teenagers under 18 years, the real exam has 46 questions. You must correctly answer 38 questions. This means that you must reach a passing score of 83 percent or more. If you are 18 years or older, the test has 36 questions and you are allowed 6 incorrect answers (83 percent passing score). The renewal test in California has 18 questions and you are allowed 3 incorrect answers.

What Should You Expect on the DMV Exam

Many of the details in the state driver manual might seem irrelevant or insignificant for your driving skills. However, laws and California rules of the road are an important part of the driver examination.
Unexpected details on the driving tests may deal with speed limits (check the speed limit in school zones in California, proper parking distance to intersections and fire hydrants, use of headlights, and the length of a license suspension after certain convictions. Sometimes, you can figure out many of these numbers by trying to think like lawmakers. The best strategy, however, is to simply learn them from the handbook.

Signs, Signals, and Markings

Safe driving also means you must learn the meaning of traffic signs, signal lights, lane-use control signals, and pavement markings. There are several articles on driversprep.com that can help you learn more.

Know When to Yield

You should also expect questions about right-of-way and when you are expected to yield to pedestrians and other vehicles. Remember that blind pedestrians often have an absolute "right-of-way".

Handle Emergencies

It is also important that you know what to do in case of emergencies, like a skid, oncoming vehicle in your lane, a tire blowout, or if you drift off the pavement. You must also know what to do in case you are involved in a crash.

Everyday Driving Situations

You should special pay attention to some everyday driving situations that may pose a higher risk, such as driving at night, in fog, in winter weather, through work zones and school zones, when there are emergency vehicles around, and when you approach railroad crossings.

Passing Score

Study all chapters in the California driver's manual carefully. Questions on your final California DMV test are drawn from all parts of your state driver's guide. No matter what the official passing score is, you should always aim for at least 92 percent on the practice tests. If you get a question wrong, make sure you understand why.

Sample Questions

Question 1: How long after becoming a California resident are you required to get a state driver’s license?
10 days

Question 2: What does a yellow, five-sided shaped sign indicate?
School zone

Question 3: What do orange-coloured signs warn you of?
Road workers or road equipment ahead

Question 4: What is the “No-Zone?”
The blind spots on the right, left, front and behind a truck or large vehicle where drivers can’t see you.

Question 5: In California, anyone who drives a motor vehicle has consented to take a chemical test for the alcohol content of their blood, breath or urine (in certain cases) in which of the following situations?
If asked by law enforcement

Question 6: How many drinks does it take to impair your driving?
One drink

Question 7: Effective January 1, 2017 in CA, children up to what age must be in a rear-facing car seat?
2 years of age

Question 8: If "any vehicle," meaning either an automobile or a bicycle, is driving and 5 or more cars are stuck behind the slower vehicle in a non-passable situation, what must the slower driver do or risk receiving a ticket?
Pull over to the side of the road to let the cars pass