CDL Exam – CDL Practice Tests & All CDL Endorsements Overview
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required before you can drive any large or heavy vehicles such as tractor trailers, buses, dump trucks, tow trucks, and semi-trucks. The exam is used to demonstrate that you understand the unique safety procedures and practice for operating these larger sized vehicles on the road.
Who Can Get a CDL?
In most states, you have to be at least 21 years of age before you can get your commercial driver’s license but some states allow drivers as young as 18 to get this license. If you are younger than 21, however, you will only be able to apply for a single-state CDL that allows you to drive these vehicles in the state where you got the license but not across state borders.
You will also need to prove that you don’t have any prior criminal offenses that disqualify you from getting a CDL. Only certain criminal offenses will disqualify you. Beyond age and criminal record, each state has its own requirements that you need to meet before you can take the CDL test.
In addition to applying for your CDL, you also need to apply for specific endorsements depending on which type of vehicle you plan to drive. For example, if you plan to drive busses, you will need a Passenger (P) endorsement. If you will be transporting hazardous materials, you will need a Hazardous Materials (H) endorsement.
What Will the CDL Test Be Like?
No matter which state you’re in, the CDL test will be composed of two parts: a written knowledge exam and a driving skills test. You need to take the written knowledge exam first in order to get your commercial learner’s permit (CLP).
Then, you need to have your CLP for at least 14 days before you can take the driving skills test. While you have the CLP, you can take driver’s training classes to work on your skills as a driver. It’s recommended that you train in the same type of vehicle that you plan to drive after getting your license. In fact, some states actually require the completion of a training course.
What Will Be Included in the CDL Test?
While it can vary from state to state, there will be at least 30 questions on the written knowledge CDL test. The written exam will cover highway safety and require you to identify the different parts of the truck.
The driving skills test will be composed of three parts:
- Vehicle inspection
- Basic controls exam
- Road test
You need to receive satisfactory scores in all three parts in order to pass the full driving skills test. There will also be additional written exam questions and skills test components based on any endorsements you are adding to your license.
Some industries allow you to waive certain parts of the CDL exam. For example, military veterans who drove military vehicles while serving may be eligible to skip the driving skills test. Other industries that waive some of the CDL requirements include:
- Emergency Medical
- Workers who remove snow and ice
CDL Exam Practice Test
What Scores Do I Need to Pass?
To pass the written knowledge exam, you need to answer at least 80% of the questions correctly. In order to pass the driving skills test, you need to receive fewer than 30 deductions during the evaluations. Deductions are given for things like swinging out too wide, failing to use mirrors appropriately and so on.
Many mistakes you make during the driving skills test will just result in a point being deducted, but there are some mistakes that result in an automatic fail. This includes obvious things like running a red light or getting into an accident as well as not so obvious things like going over a curb and rolling backward before taking off from your stop.
How Should I Prepare for the CDL Exam?
To prepare for the written exam, you should study for it like you would other exams. That means using great study aids like the Mometrix Study Guide. This tool includes a comprehensive review of not only federal requirements but also state specific and endorsement specific material. So no matter where you’re taking the test or which endorsements you’re adding, this tool will be the perfect way to prepare!
To prepare for the driving skills test, it’s highly recommended that you take a training course if you don’t already have experience from working in one of the industries that qualify you to waive certain CDL requirements. There’s nothing like practical, hands-on experience to help you get comfortable performing the proper procedures you need to demonstrate during this test.
CDL Study Guide
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