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What Should I Expect from the DMV Exam?

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  • Written By: R. Anacan
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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In many areas, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, is the agency that is responsible for providing driver’s licenses. The DMV exam is a test administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles that prospective drivers must pass before being issued a driver’s license, a commercial driver’s license (CDL), or a learner’s permit. As with most government agencies and offices, the first thing you should probably expect while taking the DMV exam is to be prepared to wait. DMV offices often serve large amounts of people and the examination process usually takes some time.

To save time and effort, those taking the DMV exam should be fully prepared to take the exam prior to visiting the DMV. Most DMV offices provide a clear list of what is needed to take an exam and it’s a good idea to review the requirements before attempting to take the exam. Most DMV offices provide little to no leeway in regards to the specific requirements that are needed to take and pass the DMV exam; therefore, it is a good idea to be well prepared.

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There are generally two types of exams given to those seeking a driver’s license; the written examination and the driver's test. The written examination is a multi-question test that is designed to test knowledge of traffic laws, traffic signs and other basic information that every driver should know. To help drivers prepare for the written test, many DMV offices will provide prospective exam takers with a handbook and a sample written test. Someone taking the written exam should expect to spend between 30 minutes to an hour taking the test.

The driver's test portion of the DMV exam involves actually driving a vehicle with a DMV driving examiner present. In most areas, you cannot take the driving test until the successful completion of the written exam. The purpose of the driving test is to ensure that the individual taking the test can drive safely and is able to understand and follow all traffic laws. The examiner will not attempt to trick the person taking the test, nor will the examiner ask someone to do something that is a violation of the law. The driving test usually takes about 30 minutes to complete.

In addition to the written and the driving tests, applicants should also expect to take a vision test at as part of the DMV exam process. The vision test is often performed after the successful completion of the written and driving test. The purpose of the vision test is to ensure that all licensed drivers are able to see clearly, with or without the use of glasses or corrective lenses.

Once all the tests have been completed and passed successfully, the newly licensed driver should expect to take the picture that will be placed on the driver’s license. Some DMV offices are able to provide licenses on the same day that all of the tests are completed, while in other areas, the driver’s license is mailed to the individual within a few weeks. In areas where the license is mailed, a temporary driver’s license is usually provided to use until the permanent license is received.

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