California Driver Handbook - The Examination Process

Where To Take The Tests

You may take the written, vision, and behind-the-wheel driving tests at any DMV field office that provides driver license services.

To save time, make an appointment online at: or call 1-800-777-0133 during normal business hours.

NOTE: The DMV will not administer written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m. to ensure you have sufficient time for testing.

Knowledge and vision tests are required when you apply for an original driver license or upgrade to a different class of driver license.


The use of testing aids is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: The California Driver Handbook, cheat sheets, or electronic communication devices such as a cell phone, hand-held computer, etc. If any testing aid is used during the written test, the written test will be marked as a "failure." An action may also be taken by the DMV against your driving privilege or the driving privilege of anyone else who assists you in the examination process.

DMV's Examinations

Your driver license examinations include:

  • A vision test. (Bring your eyeglasses or contact lenses to the exam.)
  • A test of traffic laws and road signs.
  • A behind-the-wheel driving test, if required. You must have an appointment to take the behind-the-wheel driving test. For the driving test, bring:
    • Your old driver license or instruction permit, if you have one.
    • A licensed driver age 18 years or older with a valid driver license.
    • Proof that the vehicle is properly insured.
    • A vehicle that is safe to drive, and has valid registration. The vehicle's brake lights, horn, parking brake, and electric signals must work properly. The vehicle cannot have bald tires, which would have less than 1/32 inch tread depth in any two adjacent grooves. The driver's side window must roll down. The windshield must allow a full unobstructed field of vision for you and the examiner. There must be at least two rear view mirrors (one on the left outside of the vehicle).
      You will be asked to locate the controls for the vehicle's headlights, windshield wipers, defroster, and emergency flashers. You must demonstrate how to use the parking brake. If you use a rental vehicle for the driving test, the driver's name must show on the contract as the insured driver. You must also wear your seat belt.

NOTE: The behind-the-wheel driving test will be rescheduled if the vehicle does not meet the above requirements or if you refuse to use your seat belt during the driving test.

For more information, refer to the DMV's How to Prepare for Your Driving Test (FFDL 22) Fast Facts brochure, DMV videos, and sample tests available online at

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