Taking your Motorcycle Theory Test
You’ve got your provisional licence, you’ve probably been given a set of L-Plates as a joke present from a friend or family member, but what you need now in order to continue along your motorcycling journey is to pass your motorcycle theory test.
There are two parts to the motorcycle theory test. The first is a series of multiple choice questions - along the lines of ‘Why should you glance over your left shoulder before turning left?' or ‘What should you clean visors and goggles with?’.
Part One - Multiple Choice:
The questions aren’t particularly tricky or difficult, but some of the facts and figures need a little revision (prepare to memorise average stopping distances) and often the language used can feel a little clumsy or confusing.
Whilst you can buy a book (yep, people still do that!) the most common route to practice and revision now is through an app or an online quiz. The UK government’s website has a link to a website where you can take a practice motorcycle theory test - it’s always worthwhile to do it a couple of times to get your eye in and to get used to the mechanic that the test centres use.
The test has 50 questions and you need to get 43 or more right to pass. There’s only a pass or fail though, so nobody is going to judge you if you ‘scrape’ by with just the 43 or pat you on the back for a 100% score of 50. If you pass, you pass… And then you can think about the far more exciting part of the test - your practical, riding exam!
Part Two - Hazard Perception Test
But not so fast you! Because before you get to swing your leg over a bike on the roads with an examiner, you’ll also need to jump through the tricky and frankly strange hazard perception test.
It comes in the same format as it does for drivers, so it’ll be a format that you should familiarise yourself with; it’s essentially a video, shot from the perspective of the rider/driver and shows real-life traffic conditions. More often than not, these are filmed within a town or city and your job is to spot - and register that you’ve seen them with a click of a mouse - any ‘developing hazards’ that you might see on screen.
And - again - it’s not a particularly hard or tricky test, but the format of it can often seem confusing, so whilst you’ll be told that viewing some test clips is ‘revision’, in reality it’s more a case of getting used to the way the scores are made and how to register your spotted ‘hazard’ with the computer.
As an example, imagine being shown a video of a rider on a road and then spotting a school bus in the near distance. Whilst it's travelling it’s not especially a ‘hazard’, but when it begins to stop and the doors open, it would be reasonable to assume that you’re about to be surrounded by a swarm of hormonally charged children all of whom are about to step out into the road in front of you. That - my friend - is a hazard.
You’ll be shown 14 video clips of ‘everyday road scenes’. Each one of them will have at least one ‘developing hazard’ and one will have TWO! As soon as you think you’ve spotted one, click the mouse - you score up to 5 points per hazard, depending on how fast you’ve clicked. Be warned though, you only get one chance at each clip, and no, you can’t cheat by just clicking the mouse constantly… They’ve thought of that. And this isn’t Call of Duty so you don’t get any extra points for headshots!
The best way to really understand how the test works is to try it for yourself and there are plenty of online resources to help you become familiar with the type of videos being shown.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have a paid-for area with example of actual test videos and offer a few examples for free too. And whilst there are phone apps available, the set-up for this in the test centre is old-school PC, Monitor and Mouse - so we’d absolutely recommend going around to your grandparents house and using their computer to really get the full test experience!
Score 44 or more of the 75 points available in the Hazard Perception Test and you’ve passed.
Now you can start to prepare for the road-riding section… Good Luck!