Step 1: Pass the Written Test
Before taking the practical portion of California’s driver’s test, you must first pass a written exam. The written exam isn’t too difficult, although you should study for it by reading the California Driver Handbook and taking a few practice tests. The test can be taken at any California DMV office.
Because you can’t take the driving test until you pass the written test, there’s no reason to worry about the practical portion until you have passed the written portion and have your permit.
Step 2: Practice Driving
After taking the written test, get as much practice as you can. Minors in California are required to spend 50 hours driving, including at least 10 at night. Although not a requirement, this is a fairly good guideline for adult drivers preparing for the driving exam.
Every time you practice, pretend it’s a driver’s test. Ask the person with you to point out any mistakes you make so that you can correct them, and talk through any challenging situations with them.
Step 3: Take a Behind-The-Wheel Course
Enrolling in a behind-the-wheel course before you take your road test will have multiple benefits for you. First and foremost, you’ll get additional practice behind the wheel. As you drive around with an instructor, they’ll be able to help you practice each maneuver that you’ll need to do on your driver’s test. They’re particularly knowledgeable about the exam, so they can point out any mistakes you make that would result in point deductions on your test.
For older drivers, you can attend a CA traffic school to lower your auto insurance premiums, and to get a traffic ticket traffic ticket dismissed after finishing the program. If you get a ticket while you have a permit, lowering your auto insurance premiums and getting the ticket dismissed could net you significant savings.
Step 4: Work with Your Instructor
If possible, schedule a one-on-one lesson with your traffic school instructor for the day before your driver’s test. They’ll be able to alleviate any last-minute concerns you have and help you get one final practice in before the test. Working with the same instructor that taught your traffic school practice is preferable, as they’ll already be familiar with your particular strengths and weaknesses.
Step 5: Go to the Test
After taking the written test, practicing, going to traffic school and working with your instructor, you’ll have the skills and confidence you need to do well on the practical driver’s test. Go to the test in the same vehicle you’ve been practicing in, and you’ll be able to easily perform all the maneuvers you need to pass.
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