Motorcycling for beginners - motorbike tests



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See below for the Hazard Perception Test and Practical Tests (Modules 1 and 2)

Before taking your practical tests, you will have to take and pass the theory and hazard perception tests. You can take your theory test before your CBT but most people wait until after.

The theory test will gauge your knowledge and understanding of riding theory. A sound knowledge of the theory is essential to a better understanding of practical riding skills.

To help you learn the theory there are quite a few good books and DVDs available.

All provisional driving licence-holders will have to pass the theory test before a booking for a practical test will be accepted.

Theory test sessions are available during weekdays, evenings and on Saturdays. A test appointment will normally be available for you within about two weeks. Your training school will tell you where your nearest test centre is.

When you attend your theory test you'll have to show photographic evidence of your identity as well as your driving licence. The photographic evidence of your identity must show both your photograph and your signature. The only acceptable documents for this purpose are

* Both parts (photo and paper counterpart) of a new-style photocard driving licence
* Old-style paper driving licence and current signed passport

The 57 minute test, taken under exam conditions, consists of multiple choice questions. Most questions ask you to identify the correct answer from a choice of four or five possible options. There will also be some multiple response questions that will ask you to select several answers from five or more options. Some questions will contain pictures of road signs or road situations.

To pass the test you will need to answer at least 43 out of 50 questions correctly. You will take the test using a computer screen. You will select your answers by simply touching the area of the screen that shows the answer of your choice.

No previous computer experience is required. You will have up to 15 minutes to get used to the system before starting your test. There will be staff available to help if required.

The screens are easy to read and only one question will appear on the screen at the time. You will be able to move forwards or backwards through the questions at any time to look at the questions again to complete or to alter your answer. The new system will inform you if you have not completed your answer fully.

At the end of the test your answers will be calculated and you will be given your test result.

It is recommended that you buy a book or DVD which contains all the questions and answers, which are in the same format as in the actual test. There are now over 1000 questions that the test centre has in its question bank.

Candidates with special needs will have additional time and assistance - e.g. hearing the written text through a headset. The test is also written or spoken in 15 other languages.

If you fail on your first attempt, don't worry - about 50% of candidates fail their first theory test. There will be no limit on the number of times the theory test can be taken and there is no minimum time period imposed between attempts at the test, other than booking dates being full.

The quickest way to book your theory test is to book it online.

For examples of some typical questions click HERE.

For a free online example of a Theory Test click HERE

And some more HERE

For information on the procedure for the Theory Test watch the DVSA video How to Pass the Theory Test.

Our thanks to Dexterity Motorcycle Training for their contribution to this page



Research has shown that the more experienced riders and drivers scan the road better and recognise much earlier the clues that show a hazardous situation is developing and therefore start to take action before the danger occurs.

The DVSA have now extended the Theory Test by adding a Hazard Perception Test. It's taken at the same time as the Theory Test and takes about an extra 15 minutes.

During the test candidates are shown a number of moving video clips filmed from the motorcyclist's point of view. Each clip contains one or more developing hazards.

The candidate will be asked to indicate as soon as they see a hazard developing which may result in the motorcyclist taking some action, such as changing speed or direction. The sooner a response is made the higher the score.

The pass mark is 44 out of a possible 75.

Hazard perception is the ability of a rider or driver to make an early identification of situations where some form of avoidance action might be necessary, such as changing speed or direction. It involves techniques such as

* scanning
* selecting a safe separation distance
* using an appropriate speed
* planning well ahead
* having good anticipation

If you'd like to practice the Hazard Perception Test (and the Theory Test) in the comfort of your own home then take a look at The Hazard Perception Challenge

For more on the Hazard Perception Test visit



The motorcycle practical test is divided into two parts called Module 1 and Module 2.

You must pass Module 1 before you can take Module 2.

Your instructor will probably train you first for Mod 1 followed by the Mod 1 test and then, if you pass it, train you for Mod 2 followed by the Mod 2 test.

Module 1 (off-road manoeuvres)

Module 1 takes place at a safe, off-road, Multi Purpose Test Centre (MPTC).

You must take with you your CBT certificate (DL196), your Theory and Hazard Perception Test pass certificate (less than 2 years old) and a valid licence. You must also be wearing suitable clothing.

You will first be given a briefing and then start these manoeuvres between coloured cones

* Manual handling - taking the bike off its stand and reversing it from one cone 'parking bay' into another
* Slow control steering (slalom and figure of eight)
* Slow ride: this will be observed as you ride to the next exercise
* U turn
* Circuit bend and controlled stop carried out between 30 km/h and 50 km/h (about 20 mph to 30 mph) followed by a controlled stop in the area marked by blue cones - speed not measured
* Cornering and emergency stop - speed measured (min speed 50kph - about 32mph)
* Cornering, avoidance exercise and controlled stop - speed measured (min speed 50kph - about 32mph)

In the two high speed exercises if you don't reach the minimum speed of 50kph you'll be given a second chance to do those exercises again.

And that's the end of Module 1. It takes, on average, about 22 minutes.

If you've reached the required standard your examiner will issue you with a pass certificate.

If you fail Module 1 you must wait three full working days before being eligible to retake it.

To read more (from an instructor's point of view) about Module 1, with diagrams, click HERE.

Module 2 (on-road riding)

As with Module 1 you must take with you all the necessary documents including yout Module 1 pass certificate.

You must be using the same category and size of bike in both modules.

You'll be fitted with a radio receiver and then you'll be taken outside for the eyesight test which consists of reading a number plate from a distance of about 20 metres. If you fail this (after a third attempt) the test will not continue.

If you pass the eyesight test you will be asked two motorcycle safety check questions, one ‘show me’ and one ‘tell me’. One or both questions answered incorrectly will result in one driving fault being recorded.

After a briefing and radio test you will then go out onto the road with the examiner following you and giving you instructions.

You'll be riding through various road and traffic conditions and performing a number of manoeuvres in various situations such as

* Pulling up on the left behind a parked vehicle and moving off again when it's safe to do so
* Left and right turns onto and off main roads
* Roundabouts
* Traffic lights
* Pedestrian crossings
* Hill start (if possible)

There is now (since the 4th of October 2010) a section of the test called "Independent Riding" in which you will be asked to follow the traffic signs to somewhere or a series of directions or a combination of both. You can read about this in detail and see a video HERE.

Throughout the test your examiner will watch you and will be looking to see if you

* Make appropriate progress along the road
* Keep up with the traffic while keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front
* Show confidence and good judgement
* Choose the correct speed for the type of road, density of traffic and weather
* React correctly to road signs and speed limits
* Be aware and react correctly to what other road users are doing, including pedestrians, cyclists and animals

You will pass if you show that you can

* Ride safely
* Comply with correct road procedure
* Obey traffic signs
* Carry out the set exercises correctly

You should not be over-cautious. For example, you must not ride too slowly as you could be holding up other traffic and you must not stop and wait when it's safe and normal to proceed.

After about 40 minutes of road riding you will be back at the test centre where the examiner will tell you if you have passed or failed. You instructor can be present at this point. Your driving test report will identify areas where any mistakes were made

If you fail your module two test, you must wait 10 full working days before being able to retake the module.

You can see a series of DVSA videos of Modules 1 and 2 HERE


On the fail sheet, given out by DVSA, the examiner can check 47 different boxes as a fault.

You can fail on 1 serious fault, 1 dangerous fault or a combination of driving faults of which you are allowed up to 15 (up to 5 in Mod 1 or up to 10 in Mod 2). However, four driving faults in the same box will result in a serious fault, and therefore a fail.

Some examples of serious and dangerous errors are

* Dangerous or illegal manoeuvres or actions such as turning right or changing lanes without looking over your shoulder
* Failure to obey traffic signs such as No Entry signs, speed limits, or traffic lights
* Failure to cancel an indicator leading to a potentially dangerous situation
* Failure to observe lane markings
* Riding too slowly where it was safe to ride more quickly
* Pulling out in front of another vehicle at a junction

You can read a full description of "how to fail your motorcycle test" HERE


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Our thanks to Survival Skills Rider Training for their contribution to this page

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