You’ve finished your training and now must set your sites on the exam, so let’s prepare you a little by taking a practice CDL test. More than likely you have seen dozens of practice exams floating around the internet. But how do you pick which commercial driver’s license practice exam is the best one?
On this page we will discuss how you should prepare yourself and what to expect when you sit down for the exam. We’ll discuss both the general knowledge part of the test as well as the road skills demonstration. We will also let you take a shot at some questions on our practice CDL test that you will most likely see on the real exam.
If you are looking for help on any of the endorsement exams, head over to this page. You will also find helpful hints on what to expect. We’ve also included some information about any of the endorsements you may want to add on to your CDL.
Are you ready to get started? Your new career is so close you can almost smell it. The only thing standing between you and it is successfully passing the exam. We know you can do it!
Why Do I Have To Take the CDL Exam?
Simply put, you need to pass the CDL exam in order to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) professionally. As we have talked about throughout this site, it takes more skill and knowledge to drive one of those big rigs than it does a regular car. Most people out there do not have what it takes to be able to drive a tractor-trailer down a busy freeway or a crowded city street.
The CDL test will show that you have reached the standards as required by state and federal governments. You have obtained the necessary skills to drive safely and efficiently down our streets. Plus, there is a bit of pride in knowing that you have climbed the mountain and can now call yourself a professional truck driver.
How hard is the Commercial Driver’s License Test?
To be perfectly blunt, it is as hard as you make it. If you took truck driver training, listened, followed directions, asked questions when needed and studied, it shouldn’t be that difficult. In fact, it should comparable to your last days in class when you spending so much time behind the wheel.
However, if you didn’t take training or just goofed off, then it might be a little more difficult. You will need to put some serious study time to be able to pass the general knowledge part. Not to mention how much wheel time you will have to go over before you can adequately be ready.
Don’t get us wrong, the CDL test is for real. It is stressful and fairly difficult. But you have to believe in yourself and you have to be ready.
Here are the top four reasons that you can make the CDL test more difficult on yourself.
Disillusioned with what a truck driving career really is like
Some people only think of the potential money they can make without thinking about the job itself. We recommend that you do some research and find out what the job entails. You should have some good idea before even stepping foot in to a classroom that this is what you want to do for a career.
We can’t tell you how many students go in to truck driving training with a big chip on their shoulder. They think it will be easy-peasy and don’t really put in 100% effort. This will cost you in the end since you will not be fully ready for the CDL test when the time comes.
The type training you will receive at any of the reputable truck driving schools should get you ready for the CDL test. However, if you come to training with a “know-it-all” attitude, then you are just wasting everyone’s time. Listen, learn and get the right training from the experts.
We all have certain driving habits that would make our driver’s Ed teacher squirm. Once you start your CDL training, you need to wipe those habits away so you can learn the safe way to drive a CMV. Think of yourself as an empty glass and learn from the bottom up. Get rid of those habits that can cost you when it comes time for your test.
The actual CDL test varies from state to state according and by classification (A, B or C). Basically though, there is both a written test (multiple choice) and a road skills test. Both of these must be passed in order to qualify for your commercial driver’s license.
|CDL Test Overview|
Tests for Endosements
Topics Covered on the General Knowledge CDL Test
The length of the general knowledge portion of the CDL test depends on your state rules. Generally speaking, you will have to answer 50 questions. You will need a passing grade of 80% to succeed. Even though we don’t want to hear the term “fail” when taking a test, rest assured that your choice of career does not end with one bad turn at the CDL test.
If you do fail the general knowledge portion of the CDL test, you will need to wait at least 72 hours before you can retake it. Additionally you are able to take the CDL test 6 times within a 12 month span. If you fail all 6 times, you will need to wait until 12 months after your first attempt before you can try again.
Some of the topics you can expect to see on the CDL test for general knowledge includes:
- Staying alert
- What to do in case of an accident
- Vehicle inspection
- Vehicle control
- Railroad Crossings
- Weight and Balance
- Safety Procedures
- Speed management
- Driving in different environments (fog, night, snow, etc…)
- Cargo inspection
- Hazardous Materials
- State and federal driving laws
- Driving in mountains
- Skid control and recovery
- Weight terminology
- Emergency procedures
- Log management
Skills Displayed During CDL Road Test
More than likely, you will need to schedule your road skills test. We suggest that you arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled start. You will also need to bring the type of CMV you are testing for along with someone who currently is a CDL licensed driver that is at least 21 years old.
Unlike the general knowledge part of the CDL test, you will have to wait longer to retake the road skills test if you fail. If you fail the first time, you need to wait 60 days before you can retake. If you fail again, you will need to wait 90 days.
There are three basic parts of the road skills portion of the CDL test. These are:
Pre-trip vehicle inspection
You will need to do an inspection of your vehicle to make sure it is safe to drive while explaining to the examiner why and how you are doing it. This pre-trip inspection includes:
- Checking the engine compartment
- Checking the cab
- Checking the engine
- Doing a brake check
- Inspecting the external part of the cab
- Checking the trailer
You will show how well you can control your vehicle on a closed course. These closed courses normally have traffic lanes lined with barricades, traffic cones, etc… You will be expected to do the following during this part of the CDL test:
- Go forward
- Go backward
- Turn your vehicle within an area
- Start and stop
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. You will be able to show your real skills by properly and safely driving in a variety of traffic situations. The examiner will give you directions so listen up. Some of the situations you may be asked to do include:
- Left and right turns
- Railroad crossings
- Driving up and down hills/grades
- Driving down streets and highways
How to Prepare for the CDL Exam
There are plenty of ways you can prepare for your CDL test. Some of our top suggestions are:
- Buy a study guide
- Try taking one or more practice CDL tests found online
- Read and re-read your notes
- Get plenty of practice behind the wheel
- Go through the steps of your pre-trip inspection
- Get a study group together
- Make an effort to study every day
- Make or buy flashcards
- Take an online CDL class as a refresher
- Get a copy of your state’s commercial driver handbook
- If you have a job lined up, ask your employer to help with the study
- Make sure you get enough rest
- Most of all, don’t stress it!
Practice CDL Test
Are You Ready?
So you’ve read what to expect and you’ve taken the practice test, how do you feel? Are you ready to take it on or do you still need more time? Learn from your mistakes or wrong answers so that you don’t make them again. In no time, you will be ready to pass the CDL test and start your career on the open road.