How to pass the California driver’s license knowledge test



Q: A friend for whom English is a second language must take a knowledge test in order to renew his California driver’s license. I helped him study the English version of the DMV Study Guide, because the guide is not available in his language. He aced all five online practice exams.

But here’s the problem: The questions at the DMV were different, and he failed his first exam. Now, he is extremely leery of taking the exam again. I understand why.

Do you know if there are other ways to prepare for the knowledge test? I’m happy to continue helping him. He speaks and understands English well. But those 50 pre-exam questions were nearly useless. Any ideas?

Terah James

A: For those renewing a license with a knowledge test requirement, the DMV offers multiple options. In addition to the standard in-person knowledge test taken at a DMV office, the DMV also offers a remote version of the traditional knowledge test and an interactive eLearning course. (The online options must be chosen after filling out the online driver’s license application and paying the fee.)

Here are a few suggestions for preparing to take the knowledge test:

Review the California Driver Handbook. Give yourself a few days to get through it.

Read the test questions carefully. There are no “trick questions.”

All test questions are taken from the handbook. If you miss a question, a field office team member can tell you where to find the correct answer.

Don’t be nervous. Many people do not pass the exam the first time. You can take it up to three times without having to reapply.

Take a sample test. The actual test contains different questions from those included in the practice exams so that the test integrity is protected.

Q: My husband and I are in a discussion regarding this. His license renewal was due. He went online, registered and paid the fee. His renewal letter says that he needs to “take a knowledge test,” have photo taken and have vision test.

Does he not have to go in for any of these, since he’s over 70 years old, and has a printed copy of this temporary driver’s license?

M.A.S., Santa Clara



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