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Everything You Need to Know About Your HGV Theory Test

26 August 2022

There are 195,000 logistics businesses in the UK and 2.5 million individuals working in wider logistics positions. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the industry plays an important role in supporting the UK’s economy, development and standard of living. Therefore, if you’ve made the decision to enter the transport and logistics industry as an HGV driver – congratulations! You’ve made an excellent career choice since there are numerous benefits to a profession as a commercial driver for both men and women.

To become an HGV driver, you must acquire a Driver CPC qualification. Amongst other tests such as the HGV medical exam, part of the Driver CPC requires you to do an HGV theory test, and you’ll need to do it before you take your practical HGV driving test.

In this article, we’ll provide you with an extensive guide discussing everything you need to know when it comes to the HGV theory test, from what the test entails to tips on how to prepare.

Who Needs to Take the HGV Theory Test?

You should book your HGV theory test if you fall into the following categories:

  • Looking to get a PCV/HGV licence for the first time or moving from PCV to HGV (or vice versa).
  • Have acquired rights (those who didn’t have to take the initial Driver CPC qualification due to existing driving experience) and you’re now wanting to upgrade to a Cat C/C+E licence.
  • Acquired a Cat C, C1, C+E and C1+E licence before 10th September 2009.

Regardless of the type of licence, you want to obtain whether it’s a C1, C1+E, Cat C, or C+E, we can provide and support you with all your training needs to help you get there.

If you’re having trouble getting your head around driving licences, we’ve put together a guide on everything you need to know in order to help you understand your driving licence.

What’s Included in the HGV Theory Test?

Before your theory test begins, you’ll be informed on exactly how it works, and you’ll also be given the option to have a practice session, so that you know what to expect. At the end of this session, the real test will begin. The HGV theory test is made up of two parts:

  • Multiple choice – lasts just under two hours, and to pass you need to get 85 out of 100 questions correct.
  • Hazard perception – there are 19 videos in this part with 20 developing hazards to spot, and to pass you need to get 67 out of 100

Part 1a: Multiple Choice

When completing the multiple-choice section, a question will appear on the screen along with several possible answers. You’ll be prompted to select your answer by touching the screen / using the mouse. Some of the questions will require more than one answer – but this will be clearly stated if so. The questions in this section will comprise of 14 different topics, and some examples of these include (note this is a partial list):

  • General traffic laws e.g. signage and speed
  • Rules regarding working hours and necessary rest periods
  • How to acquire and maintain appropriate documentation
  • Driver responsibility for cargo
  • The correct loading and unloading techniques
  • Sharing the road with other drivers

Top tip – if you’re unsure of what the answer is to a question, you can flag it and come back to it later in the test (make sure to give yourself time to do this).

Part 1b: Hazard Perception

The HGV hazard perception test examines your ability to spot developing hazards – something that may require you as the driver to take action. For instance, a car pulling into the side of the road ahead classes as a developing hazard, since you may need to slow down and manoeuvre around it/stop.

Before the test starts, you’ll be shown a short video clip which demonstrates how the HGV hazard perception test works. Once you’ve watched this, you’ll then go through 19 video clips which feature everyday road scenes. In each clip, there will be at least one developing hazard. However, keep in mind that one of the clips will feature two.

There is a window of opportunity where a hazard is present, and you need to click it as soon as you see it. If you click the mouse at the start of this window (when the hazard has first appeared), you’ll score the maximum number of points. However, if you don’t click right away, you’ll score less points, and if you’re too late to click in the scoring window, you’ll score zero. The maximum points you can score on each hazard is five.

Examples of the types of hazards you may be shown include (but are not limited to):

  • Emergency vehicles approaching with flashing lights
  • Pedestrian suddenly appearing to cross the road from in between two vehicles
  • Parked vehicles on one side of the road
  • Children playing by the side of the road who may potentially step out into the road
  • Cyclists who fail to clearly indicate their intentions
  • Traffic restrictions e.g. traffic lights or speed bumps
  • Poor visibility due to fog or other extreme weather conditions
  • Dangerous driving conditions involving wet or icy roads

Preparing for Your HGV Theory Test

The best way to prepare for your HGV theory test is to make sure you get plenty of practice in beforehand.

There are also several useful books you can purchase which will help you swot up on everything you need to know before taking your HGV theory test:

Additional learning tips

  1. Link your learnings to your own experiences – consider where you’ve seen an example of a road sign and use this to help you recall what the sign means.
  2. Use mnemonics – sayings/stories can help you remember things e.g. ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’ reminds you of the colours in a rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).
  3. Practise the question formats – whilst knowing all the information is important, you’ll also need to know how the questions are going to be asked in the test. Do the self-assessment questions in ‘The Official DVSA Theory Test for Drivers of Large Vehicles’ so you can get to grips with how the questions are going to be laid out.
  4. Plan your revision – set yourself targets and deadlines so you can track your progress and make sure you’ve not missed anything.

Pass or Fail: When Do You Get Your Results?

The good news is that the day you take your test will also be the day you’ll get told whether you’ve passed or failed.

If you do happen to fail your test, you’ll be provided with important feedback regarding your test, including which topics you answered the questions incorrectly. So, when you’re preparing to take your test again, you’ll know which sections you need to revise more thoroughly.

Keep in mind if you want to book another theory test straight away, you’ll have to wait three working days. For example, if you failed your test on a Tuesday afternoon, you’ll have to wait until Monday morning before you can try again.

Your HGV theory test certificate is valid for two years from the date you passed the first part of the test (multiple-choice section). And if you fail to take your practical test within this two-year period, you’ll have to sit both the theory and hazard perception test again.

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help you with your HGV theory test, call us on 0808 178 9977 or chat to one of our agents right now