So, You Failed the Written Driver's License Test: Now What?

By: Staff Writer August 1, 2012
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Take heart. All is not lost. Failing a written drivers license test happens. There's no shame in it.

Even with the motivation of a new Range Rover as a 16th birthday gift from Usher, Justin Bieber failed his first written test.

So, what do you do?

When to Retake the Permit Test

When you can take the permit test again depends on your state and, in some instances, your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

For instance, North Carolina requires waiting five business days before trying again. Ohio has a seven-day waiting period. California allows you to take the written test up to three times in one day. The waiting period in Tennessee depends on the score, which, at worst, could last 30 days.

After failing, ask the moderator when you can again prove your traffic sign acumen. If you must wait, go home and prepare for attempt number two.

Take a Practice Test

There are two ways to strengthen your grasp of traffic signs and road rules:

  • Study your state's drivers manual. If, for some reason, you did not use it as a study aid for the first permit test, get your hands on one. Every question is directly based on information found in the handbook. You can obtain a copy from any DMV office, or download version from your DMV's website.
  • Take a DMV practice test. Actually, don't just take one, take as many as needed until you feel supremely test-confident. Some driver license handbooks contain practice tests in the back, including road sign practice tests. Or better yet, search for practice tests online. You'll especially find a wealth of  road sign practice test options. Online tests mirror the actual driver tests in both content and form, allowing you to accurately gauge your readiness.

After your imposed waiting period has passed, return to the DMV to try again. Depending on your DMV, you may have to pay another test fee.

Did you fail your first driver's license test? What did you do to prepare for the next one?

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