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When you earned your category B licence for driving a car or motorcycle, you had to pass a theory test to demonstrate you had the knowledge to operate a vehicle safely. Now that you are considering getting an HGV or PGV licence, you’ll have to do it all over again.

Before you can get behind the wheel of a heavy goods vehicle to begin your practical training, you must first take and pass the theory test. That means you’ll need to study hard, be prepared, and learn how to test well. If you can pass your theory test the first time, you could complete your training and earn your licence in as little as eight weeks.

Theory Test Format

The HGV theory test is broken down into two sections: general knowledge and hazard perception. Each section consists of 50 multiple-choice questions for a total of 100. Candidates have 115 minutes to complete the test with a minimum score of 85 required to pass. The types of topics covered in the general section include:

Keep in mind this is just a partial list. The general portion of the test is designed to assess your overall knowledge of operating a heavy goods vehicle. As for the hazard perception test, expect to cover topics like proper handling of large vehicles and recognition and avoidance of various hazards.

Practice Makes Perfect

Before you can sign up for your theory test, you must first apply for a provisional entitlement for your category B licence. Completion of the paperwork for your provisional entitlement can take a week or so, so that’s a good time to begin studying and practising for your theory test.

Fortunately, you can get practice tests online directly from several government sources. If you have a smart phone or tablet computer, there are apps for both iOS and Android that make practice tests available. If you prefer to use a computer and a website like GOV.UK, you can even take your practice tests online.

What to Do If You Fail

While it should be your goal to pass the HGV theory test the first time, some people do fail. Remember, it’s not the end of the world. You can always keep studying and take the test a second time if necessary. In fact, there’s no limit on the number of times you can take the test as long as you are willing to pay the fee (currently a combined £50 for both).

According to the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) you will receive a letter with your notice of failure. Use the feedback information in that letter to address your weaknesses through additional study. Also, keep in mind that you cannot retake the test until three full working days have passed.

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