Are you looking to advance your driving career by entering the truck driving niche? If yes, you’ll need to meet several requirements to start your trucking career. One of the essential requirements is writing and passing the Commercial Driver’s License Permit Test. Although many people consider this test pretty complicated, you can still pass it. In fact, we’ve also seen people testify to the simplicity of the test. It boils down to adequate preparation. If you don’t know where to start, here’s an article that explains everything you should know. But first, what’s the test about?
What is the CDL Permit Test?
The CDL here stands for Commercial Driver’s license. It is usually a license issued to commercial drivers showing that they are physically and mentally fit to drive. As you’ve probably guessed, writing and passing the permit test qualifies you for the certificate, otherwise known as the Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). It’s legal proof of your qualification to practice driving under a CDL instructor’s supervision. Of course, it can be scary to learn that you’ll need to pass an exam before entering the trucking world. But the knowledge you’ll grab from this article should improve your confidence as you prepare for the test.
What’s Covered In The Test?
As expected, the test covers a wide range of topics that you should know before entering the trucking industry. The topics include braking techniques, aggressive driving, cargo safety, drunk driving laws, road and weather conditions, emergency preparedness, and safety backing. Other complex topics include hazardous materials, air brakes, and combination vehicles. While the test questions can come from anywhere, you are typically expected to study these topics before the test date. Are you wondering how you can cover it all? Don’t worry; we have all the information you need in this article.
How Many Questions are on the CDL Permit Test?
Although the topics covered in the CDL permit test are pretty encompassing, the test itself is not as complex as most people think it to be. The overall structure of the test is straightforward, and the CDL test answers are easy if you’ve studied properly. The CDL permit test is usually divided into general knowledge, air brakes, and combination vehicles. There are 100 questions divided into three sections, and you must score up to 80% or above from all three sections to practice driving buses, semi-trucks, or any vehicle above 26,000 pounds. Here, let’s break down the sections and what they contain:
- General knowledge: this section tests you on what you know about driving and safety measures for transporting cargo. Questions can range from anywhere, including vehicle controls, accident procedures, securing cargo, and driving in inclement weather. The section contains 50 objective questions where you’re to select the best option that answers each question.
- Air brakes: tractor-trailers and most other commercial vehicles use air brakes. This section tests your knowledge of the airbrake systems and features 25 objective questions.
- Combination vehicles: since you’ll be driving combination vehicles, it is apparent that you’ll get questions on the topic. This section focuses on safe driving and thorough inspection of tractor-trailers. Again, there are 25 objective questions in the section.
How Long Do You Need to Study for the CDL Permit Test?
The CDL Permit Test may not be the most straightforward test, but it is passable with the right amount of study. This leads to the question, “how long is enough for studying?” Unfortunately, there’s no one answer for how long you should study. It is pretty subjective and depends on you. What are your study habits? How long can you devote to studying? What study materials do you have available, and which can you access? We typically suggest getting your state manual cover long before the test and reading it from cover to cover.
While doing that, take CDL practice exams at intervals. These practice exams are available on the site and are designed to give you an idea of the test. It’ll also give you an idea of your weak points, so you can return to those chapters and study them adequately. Remember, each person will have a different experience with preparation. But the time frame will depend on how much time you can devote to studying. You can be ready for the exams in a few weeks if you devote enough time to them. But if you combine studying with work or are less motivated to study, it can take months to cover everything that needs covering before the test date.
What Should You Study for the CDL Permit Test?
If you’re curious about what to study for the CDL exam, take a look at the DMV CDL study guide available in bookstores across the country. This study guide serves as a CDL manual, breaking down the test section by section. However, while the CDL study guide is an excellent resource, you shouldn’t stop there. We recommend focusing your study on topics related to the type of CDL you wish you intend to receive. You can also browse practice guides online to get a glimpse of what you should expect in terms of structure. The practice guide also helps to build your confidence going into the exam. Bear in mind that some states will require you to complete a CDL training course before getting officially licensed. So, in addition to preparatory books, research the exam’s website and find out what’s applicable in your state.
5 Best Ways to Study for the CDL Permit Test
Now that you know so much about the test, you’re probably feeling pumped up to take the test. But there’s more – you need adequate preparation to ace the test. Since you need a minimum of 80% score to pass the test, you can already tell that you require enough hard work to excel in it. Fortunately, we’ve researched tips that will not just help you prepare better for the test. These tips can also help to improve your confidence and get you mentally ready for the test. Here, check them out.
Study the right material
Each state has its unique CDL handbook, and you must get one specific to your exam state. These handbooks come with a wealth of information you’ll need for the exam. They also feature answers to common CDL test questions, so you can know exactly how to interpret and answer questions. Some of the subjects contained in the state’s CDL DMV handbook include:
- Air brakes
- Applying for a CDL
- Cargo and passenger transporting
- Combination vehicles
- Tank vehicles
- Towing trailers
- On-road driving exam
- Hazardous materials transportation.
Be sure that the information you’re reading on these topics is accurate, and that’s why we recommend buying the most up-to-date handbook.
Although often underrated, this is one exam tip that cannot be overlooked. Cramming a day or two before the CDL exams is a way to expose yourself to disaster. Besides the sleep deprivation that comes with this study style, it also causes you to easily forget essential materials that you ordinarily should understand as a responsible, safe driver. Once you’ve picked a date for your test, start studying right away to be fully prepared when the time comes. If you’re new to the test, consider taking a training course. There are so many of such courses available online and in physical training centers. There are so many programs to choose from, so you can pick one that suits your motive and stay true to it.
Have the necessary documentation
While you’re running around studying and searching for practice materials, don’t forget documentation. As a fresh applicant for the CDL, you’ll need to apply in person at the local DMV office in your state. This is where you’ll take the exams, so it’s better to register in a DMV closest to you. You’ll also be required to provide specific documents, including proof of ID, passport, and current immigration documents. The next step after verifying your identity is to show proof of legal presence or evidence of residency. Any of the following would do for this:
- Tax records
- Mortgage documents
- Lease arrangements
- Current weapons permit
- W-2 form
Finally, don’t forget that the federal law requires that you have a regular driver’s license from the past. You’ll be disqualified for the exam if you’ve never been licensed.
Test your knowledge
Now that you’ve successfully registered for the exam and reviewed everything you need from the CDL manual, it’s time to test your knowledge through additional practice questions and flashcards. There are so many online platforms that offer flashcards and practice test questions based on specific subjects. You can search for these platforms online or go to the exam body’s official website to find practice questions. There are also a number of apps available to help you study on the go. If you have family members or friends who have written the test, that can be an additional advantage. Simply tell them to help quiz you based on the contents of the study book. They can even help you through your areas of difficulty by offering tips and tricks that can help.
Confirm your test location and arrive early
The last thing you want is to get lost on the test day trying to locate your test location. So, it’d be best to make sure you know where you’re taking the exam before the test. Consider driving the route once or twice before the exams so you’ll be used to it.
One of the main reasons why we recommend knowing the route well is so you’ll arrive early on the exam day. You want to be settled before the test starts. Besides, you can use the extra time you’ll have before the test for some last-minute studying. You can also take a quick stroll around the venue to ease tension and get yourself mentally ready. More than anything, encourage yourself to give your best when the test starts.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study for CDL Permit Test?
There you have it, a detailed look at everything you should know about the CDL permit test. Remember, you must take and pass this test to qualify for a license to drive commercial vehicles. The test features multiple-choice questions, but that doesn’t take away anything from how complicated it can be. Nothing about this test should scare you. At least, not when we’ve reviewed practicable tips and tricks that can help. Remember that it all begins with deciding to pass and putting the necessary effort to back your decision. There are so many materials available for this test online, but you can contact us if you’re unsure about which to get. Otherwise, you can check our CDL Permit Test guides review to see what we recommend for the exam.