California Permit Test 2021: DMV Requirements & Practice Questions

What is the minimum age you can take the CA permit test?

You must be at least 15 ½ years old to take the California permit test. In addition, you must have completed and passed a state-mandated driver’s education course (this does not apply to those over 17 ½ years old).

Do all first time drivers need to take the permit test?

Yes. All first time drivers must apply for a permit, regardless of age. Adult applicants are not required to take driver’s education. Despite this, many adults choose to take driver’s education to improve their road knowledge and maximize their chances of passing the permit test.

Where can I take the DMV written test?

You can take the DMV written test at any DMV office in California that offers driver’s licensing services.

Do I need to book my learner’s permit test?

Yes. You will need to make an appointment to take the permit test. This can be done online at www.dmv.ca.gov or by calling 1-800-777-0133.

How much does it cost to take the permit test?

It costs $38 to take the CA permit test. If you fail the test three times, you will be required to pay an additional fee. Changes to fees can be found here on the DMV website.

Do my parents need to accompany me to take the DMV written test?

Yes. If you are under 18 years old, a parent or guardian must accompany you to the DMV office to obtain a learner’s permit.

Can a sibling or another adult take me to my learner’s permit test?

Yes, another adult may accompany you to the learner’s permit exam, if your guardians have signed and completed the application form beforehand. This may be done online. We recommend to ensure all your documents have been approved and reviewed before bringing a non-parent/guardian with you to the test.

What do I need to take to my permit test appointment?

When attending your permit test appointment, you will need to bring the following:

  • A completed driver’s license application form (unless you have chosen to apply online via the DMV website). This must be signed by a parent or guardian if you are under 18.
  • Your social security card.
  • Two documents which prove you are a California resident (mortgage bills, utility mail or bank statements, for instance).
  • Your $38 application fee.
  • A Certificate of Completion to demonstrate you have passed driver’s education (under 17 ½ year olds only).
  • Your birth certificate, passport or CA ID card.

Can I download and print a paper application form?

No. Each driver’s license application form has a unique barcode. If you wish to fill out a paper application you will need to pick a form up from a DMV office.

How many questions are on the California permit test?

Applicants under 18 years old will have 46 questions on their DMV written test and must answer at least 38 correctly. Adult applicants will face a 36-question permit test, with a minimum pass requirement of 30 correct answers.

Are the permit test questions multiple choice?

Yes. All the questions on the CA permit test are either multiple choice. Multiple-choice questions may be accompanied by up to five possible permit test answers.

Can I skip questions during the CA learner’s permit test?

Yes, though only temporarily. Applicants may skip up to three questions during the exam but will still need to answer them at the end of the test.

Is the CA permit test timed?

No, there is no enforced time limit within which you must complete all questions on the permit test. Most applicants find that they can easily complete the assessment in around 45 to 60 minutes.

Are my permit test answers marked as I go along?

Yes. If you make a mistake the test will mark the error and show you which of the remaining answers you should have chosen. If you surpass eight incorrect answers during the test, it will stop automatically.

What topics are covered on the California permit test?

All the information covered during the CA learner’s permit test can be found in the driving manual and will also be addressed during your driver’s ed course. The permit test focuses on driver’s general knowledge topics, such as rules of the road and road signs.

How many road sign questions will be on the DMV permit test?

The CA DMV do not specify how many road sign questions will be on the permit test.

Is the permit test different for every applicant?

Yes. The CA permit test is randomly generated from a large pool of general knowledge questions. This means you cannot cheat the assessment or predict precisely which questions you will be asked.

How should I prepare for the learner’s permit test?

Your driver’s education course will bring you up to speed with all the information covered during the DMV written test. Alongside driver’s ed, you should also read through all relevant information in the California driving manual. Working with reliable DMV practice permit tests - like those we provide - is also a great way to maximize your chances of passing first time.

Can I refer to my driving manual while taking the permit test?

No, unfortunately the permit test is not an ‘open book’ exam. You will not be allowed to refer to your CA driving handbook or any other educational materials while sitting the assessment.

Am I allowed to use my cellphone during the permit test?

No. Use of cellphones and other hand-held devices is strictly prohibited during the DMV written test. You will be asked to leave if you are found cheating.

What are the most common mistakes people make during the permit test?

Most errors are made because applicants rush through the test without taking enough time to consider each question. Make sure you read all the information presented with each question carefully.

What happens if I fail the DMV written test?

Permit applicants can take the general knowledge permit test up to three times in one day. If you fail three times in a row, you will be required to wait seven days and pay the $38 booking fee again, before retaking the test.

Do I need to pass any tests besides the general knowledge exam?

Yes. You must also pass a vision test on the day of your learner’s permit test.

What should I expect when I arrive to take my DMV written test?

When you arrive at the DMV office to take your permit test, a DMV employee will check all your documents to ensure your paperwork is in order. Next, you will take the vision exam (you may wear your usual glasses or contact lenses, if this applies). Finally, you will take the general knowledge test.

What happens when I pass the permit test?

Once you have passed the permit test you must complete two hours of behind-the-wheel training with a certified driving instructor. Only then will you be allowed to drive while being supervised by a licensed adult who is over 25 years old.