What is the Theory Test?

The Motorcycle Theory test is a two part examination that will assess your knowledge and understanding of the law, different riding concepts and how various conditions can affect your riding. These concepts are essential for a safe and successful riding career.

When, where and how to book

You can choose to book a test as soon as you get your provisional licence, but you should do your CBT and take at least a few lessons first, doing so will give you an edge in the hazard perception part of the test.

Theory tests are usually held on weekdays in the evening and on Saturdays and are held at official government test centres. You can find your nearest test centre on the gov.uk website by clicking here.

Booking a theory test is a simple case of visiting the appropriate gov.uk webpage and filling out a form and usually takes around 10 minutes. Be sure to have your provisional licence handy as you’ll need it to ‘log in’.

Click here for the gov.uk theory test booking page >

There are a number of websites out there that offer to book your theory test for you; third party booking services offer no advantages and yet can cost up to twice as much as booking from the official gov.uk website. These websites are simply there to take advantage of those who don’t know about the government website, so don’t fall for them and always book through the official site for the cheapest price.

After booking a Theory test, you will receive an email confirming your booking and informing you of when to turn up. Appointments are usually assigned around two weeks after application, though depending on your location and the time of year the wait may be longer. If you know you will not be able to make the test on the date you’ve been appointed, you can use the same booking form to re-schedule the test, provided you give at least three days notice.

What to bring to the Theory Test

In order to take your theory test, you need to bring the following documents:

  • Both parts of your provisional licence, or full driving licence if you have one.
  • If you don’t have a photographic licence, you will need to bring your paper licence and a valid passport for photographic identification.


The Theory Test In Detail

Part one: Multiple Choice

The first part of the test consists of a multiple choice exam and will take a maximum of 57 minutes.

The multiple choice exam will be conducted on a computer, using either a mouse or a touch screen. Whichever input is used, no previous experience with computers is required and you will be given a 15 minute practice session before you begin to allow you to get used to the system (this does not count towards your 57 minutes).

There are 50 questions in the test and to pass you will need to answer 43 of them correctly. The majority of the questions will ask you to select one answer out of up to six choices, though some will require more than one answer. It is important that you read every question carefully for this reason, as only clicking one box when you are meant to click two will result in the whole question being marked as incorrect.

At any time during the test, you will be able to move backwards and forwards through the questions, use this to your advantage.

Once you have completed the test, your answers will be totalled and you will be given your result.

There is a range of source material and DVDs you can purchase to study for the exam and it is highly recommended that you do so to give yourself the best chance of passing; you can find a list at the end of this page.

If you fail the first time around, don’t worry, you are not alone and indeed around 50 percent of people fail the first time. There is no limit to the number of times you can take your test and you can reapply straight away. The next page will offer you helpful tips and advice on taking your theory test so you can maximise your chances of passing on the first attempt.


Part 2: Hazard Perception

The Hazard Perception test was introduced in November 2002 and is designed to ensure that a motorcyclist or driver can recognise hazards as they develop, giving them time to react before the hazard becomes dangerous.

The Hazard Perception test starts with an introductory clip, pay attention to this as it will tell you how the test works and what do to. After the introduction, the test will begin.

You will be shown a series of 14 video clips, each featuring everyday road scenes and all containing at least one ‘developing hazard’, with one of the clips containing two hazards.

You will be required to click the mouse as soon as you notice a developing hazard that would result in a road user having to take action, such as changing speed or direction. The sooner the hazard is spotted, the higher the score. Most clips yield a maximum of 5 points, except for one clip that features two hazards, offering 10 points maximum.

It is important to recognise when a potential hazard becomes a developing hazard. For example, a person walking along the pavement is only a potential hazard, but as soon as they turn and start walking towards the road, they become a developing hazard.

Out of a maximum 75 points, 44 are needed to achieve a pass.

Learning for the Theory Test

There are numerous resources available to prepare you for the theory test, but the best and most comprehensive are supplied by the DSA (Now called the DVSA).

Below is a selection of the most trusted references and materials, essential for passing your theory test.

Clicking the pictures will take you to Amazon where you will find reviews and information about the products.

Official DSA Know Your Traffic SignsDSAPaperback or KindleA complete list of traffic signs in an easily digestible book format.
The Official Highway CodeDSAPaperback or KindleThe highway code in a portable book format, from the people that made it.
The Official DSA Theory Test for MotorcyclistsDSAPaperbackThis book provides all the questions and answers that you need to know for the motorcycle theory test.
Complete Motorcycle Theory and Hazard Perception Tests 2013/14 EditionFocus MultimediaPC-DVDA complete theory test and hazard perception simulator so you can practice taking the test.
You can also practice for the theory test online by going here.
On the next page you will find helpful advice and tips that will help you pass your Theory Test.

Motorcycle Theory Test: Tips and Advice >