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The Driver Theory Test
The Driver Theory Testing Service started on 11 June 2001 and stipulates that a theory test certificate must be obtained before a Learners Permit in a particular vehicle category is issued. Prior to this time motorists in Ireland were not legally required to do any form of test on their knowledge of either the rules of the road or motoring regulations on Irish roads before they applied for an Irish Learners Permit, or completed their full driving test. The test is held at a nationwide network of 41 test locations and uses a user friendly computerised touch screen system. The test can be offered in Irish and in English and candidates with special needs or disabilities are catered for.
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Driver theory test questions
The driver theory test was revised in 2006. As part of this revision the number of questions in the driver theory test question bank was increased from 750 to 1250. A separate theory test was also introduced for candidates seeking a licence for motorcycles or mopeds.

The list of questions for car drivers was also revised. The changes include questions dealing with correct behaviour in illustrated traffic situations, taking emergency / corrective action, and information related to pedestrians. The bank of questions for truck drivers and bus drivers has also been expanded.

The new theory test includes a wider variety of questions and answers but the pass mark of 35 out of 40 questions remains the same.

European legislation now requires that citizens undergo a practical test of their knowledge of the rules of the road and motoring legislation, before gaining their licence to learn. A Learners Permit in essence is only a licence to learn and motorists on L plates must be accompanied by a full licence holder at all times on the road.

The theory test will check your knowledge in areas such as:

  • The rules of the road
  • Hazard awareness
  • Risk perception
  • Good driving behaviour
Categories of Vehicles and Theory Tests
If you are applying for a Learners Permit you must sit the theory test for vehicle categories A, B, M, W, You must study all of these categories as you will be tested. Its roughly two thirds of the official driver theory test book. You are then entitled to apply for a driving licence for category A1, A, B, M or W depending on your age. If you pass your car driving test category B, then you are entitled to go on for an EB licence, you are not required to sit the theory test again. If you want to apply for a truck driving licence, you must sit the category C driver theory test. This will entitle you to apply for a Learners Permit in categories C1 or C. If you want to apply for a bus driving licence category D, you must complete the category D theory test.
The driver theory test
There are three classes of test

Motorcycles, cars, mopeds, tractors and work vehicles ,Licence Categories A, B, M and W

There are two others, one for heavy goods vehicles ,Licence Category C, and one for buses

  • There are 40 questions in this test and candidates must answer 35 questions correctly to pass the theory. Time allowed is 45 minutes you must answer the 40 questions in the test.
  • The test is taken using a touch screen computer. Candidates can select their answers by touching the computer screen. A practice session can be taken before you take the actual test so that you can get used to the system. You don't need to be computer literate in any way.
  • If you want to do your test in Irish, this can be done no problem at your nominated test centre.
  • If you make a mistake or change your mind, you can cancel your answer. If you wish to skip a question, you can come back and answer it at a later time.. At the end of the test, you can check all your answers and make any changes if you wish.
  • If you have reading difficulties, this can be catered for using the 'voice over' option that will read out the questions to you. Appropriate pictures or colours will indicate the different answers on the screen and you select your answer by touching the picture or colour.

The test is scored automatically and results are made available to you straight away when completed. You will receive a pass certificate for your theory test at the test centre if you are successful.is scored automatically and results are made available to you straight away when completed. You will receive a pass certificate for your theory test at the test centre if you are successful.

Test materials
The full list of test questions and answers are only available in the “Official Driver Test” book and CD-ROM which are available from most bookshops throughout the country and from the Driver Theory Testing Service. This material is not free, its about 18 euro for the book and around 18 euro for the CD-ROM. Most public libraries in Ireland will stock this material. In 2004, the National Safety Council launched a sample online driver theory test which you can try on this page above. This online test consists of just 5 random questions taken from the question bank.

Questions or comments regarding the driver theory test materials and their unavailability online should be made directly to the Driver Theory Test Service by telephone at 1890 606 106. Or if you prefer you can write to the Driver Theory Test Service about this issue at the address under 'Where to apply'.

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