What is the driver theory test?

Once you pass the driver theory test, you can apply for a learner permit and begin learning to drive on Irish roads
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If you want to learn to drive in Ireland, the first thing you must do is pass the driver theory test. You can take this test at one of the test centres around the country.

What is the driver theory test?

The driver theory test is a test that you must take before you begin learning to drive.

How do I take the driver theory test?

The driver theory test is completed on a computer at one of the 44 test centres around the country. You can now also take your theory test online at home as part of a pilot phase. During the pilot phase, there will be a limited number of home appointments available. 

If you pass the test, you will get a theory test certificate. You can then apply for a learner permit and begin learning to drive on Irish roads.

Preparing for the driver theory test

Before you sit your test, it is important to learn about road safety and legislation in Ireland. 

What questions will I be asked in the driver theory test?

In the test, you will be asked questions related to the type of vehicle you wish to learn to drive. This could be a car, van, motorbike, tractor, or other type of vehicle. 

The driver theory test will test your knowledge on topics such as the rules of the road, risk perception, eco-driving, hazard awareness and good driving behaviour.

How can I study for the driver theory test?

The questions you will be asked in your driver theory test will be based on the information in the Official RSA Rules of the Road book, as well as current road traffic legislation. 

You can purchase a physical copy of the Rules of the Road book and CD-ROMS on the theory test website or in some bookshops. You might also find this material at your local library or in a charity shop. If you know anyone who has completed the theory test, they might have a copy that they are willing to lend you. If you borrow or buy a second-hand book, make sure it is the most up-to-date version.

There is also a free digital version on the RSA website.

Applying for the driver theory test

You can apply and pay for your theory test online or by post or phone. Soon after your application has been received, you will receive notification of the date, location and time of your test in advance.

How much does it cost to take the driver theory test?

The cost of taking the driver theory test depends on what vehicle you wish to learn to drive:

  • Moped or motorcycle (Category A vehicle): €45
  • Car, work vehicle or tractor (Category B vehicle): €45
  • Van or truck over 3,500kg (Category C vehicle): €72
  • Bus (Category D vehicle): €72 

What age do I have to be to take the driver theory test?

You can legally take the driver theory test at any age. However, the pass certificate that you receive if you pass the test will expire after two years. You also must be at least 16 to apply for a learner permit and begin learning to drive. With this in mind, it is best to be at least 14 years of age when taking the driver theory test.

Can I cancel or reschedule my test appointment?

If you need to cancel or reschedule your test appointment, you can do so online or by phoning the call centre. If you arrive late to your test appointment or cancel your test in less than five business days, you will lose your test fee.

Do I need to bring my ID to the test centre?

You must bring your ID to the test centre on the day of your theory test. The following forms of ID will be accepted: 

  • Public Services Card
  • Passports (Irish passports and other passports valid for international use only)
  • Irish Passport Cards
  • National Identity Card from EU/EEA Member States or Switzerland
  • Irish Category B (Car) or Category A (Motorcycle) Learner Permit or Full Driving Licence

Taking the driver theory test

The driver theory test is a short test that you will take on a computer.

What format does the driver theory test take?

The driver theory test is a multiple choice test that you take on a computer. You will submit your answers using a mouse or a touch screen.

The first part of the test is a short tutorial, which includes instructions on how to complete the test. You will be asked to practice answering two questions. When you have completed the practice questions, you will be brought to the real test. 

To complete a question, you will need to tick the square box beside your chosen answer. If you make a mistake, you can change your answer. Before you finish the test, you can read over your answers and change them if you like.

How many questions will I have to answer?

If you are taking a test for a Category A or B vehicle (car, work vehicle, tractor, moped or motorcycle) you will be asked to answer 40 questions. You will need to answer 35 of these correctly in order to pass. 

If you are taking a test for a Category C or D vehicle (vans and trucks over 3,500kg or buses), you will need to answer 100 questions and you will have to answer 74 of them correctly.

How long will the test take?

You will have 45 minutes to answer Category A or B (car, work vehicle, tractor, moped or motorcycle) vehicle tests. 

If you are taking the Category C or D (vans and trucks over 3,500kg or buses) vehicle test, you will have 100 minutes.

Can I take the test if I have difficulty reading?

If you have any difficulty with reading, there is a voiceover option that will read out the questions and answers. It is also possible to ask for a reader recorder service. If you ask for this service, a staff member will read the questions and answers to you and record your answer on the computer. You can apply to have extra time to take the exam if you wish.

If you wish to receive any extra assistance, you must make your application by post. You will need to include a letter signed by a relevant professional (such as a teacher or doctor) that supports your request.

Can I take the test in another language? 

Categories A, B, C and D tests are available in Irish. If you want to complete your test in Irish, you must mention it when booking your test.

If you do not speak Irish or English, you can request the support of a translator at certain test centres.

When will I get my result?

You will get your result as soon as you have completed the test. If you pass, you will receive a pass certificate for your theory test at the test centre. You can then apply for a learner permit.

Regardless of whether you pass or fail, you will also be given a score report. This will recommend the areas that you could use further study on.

Can I take the test again?

If you do not pass the test the first time, you can apply to take it again. Additionally, if you already have a driving licence for a particular type of vehicle (e.g. car) and you want to get a driving licence for a different category (e.g. bus) for which a different theory test is required, you have to pass the theory test for that category before you can apply for a learner permit.

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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