By Lucy Liu

Getting a driver’s license as a minor is not as difficult as it may seem; you just have to do a little research. Still, many students have questions about when and where to take the test and how to prepare; all of these answers come with experience. I am currently preparing for the written exam in order to earn my driver’s permit, and I’ll be going through the experiences I had so other students can use my experience as a reference for when they prepare for the exam.

The Written Exam

The written exam consists of 46 questions about driving rules and skills required to be a safe and responsible driver. All of the necessary information is on the DMV website, and there is a requirement where the student must have 30 hours of instruction, in a classroom or online, and a certificate of completion. I took an online course over winter break because it was simpler more flexible than going to a classroom. The entire course only has four units, each with subunits, and during break it can be finished within four days. Some online courses even offer practice tests in between each unit to ensure that a student knows the facts.
You must pass the written exam with no more than 8 errors and if you fail, you must wait another week before taking it again. The second time only allows 3 errors, so you should pass the first time because there are only three tries in total. The examination also costs money, so you should study hard and prepare well.

Online Drivers’ Education

Which online course should you take? Some are excessively expensive, but there are cheaper courses which teach you the information all the same. I advise students to find the cheapest one possible that guarantees a DMV certificate of completion. Even if that online course lacks information, the DMV website provides free public access to the information. However, you cannot simply study the public information because you will not receive the required certificate of completion.
I used and it is one of the cheaper websites (less than ten dollars online). Its information was denser than the DMV’s public information and more tedious to read, but it was an efficient course; the certificate arrived within two days after I completed the course! Cal-Driver-Ed also allows you to continue to access the information as long as they want, so even if your scheduled exam is a few months after you took the course, you can still review.

Other Advice

Some other advice would be to schedule your exam with the DMV as early as possible because plenty of other students want the same day and time as you do. The DMV is known to take a long time to process requests even if you show up in person, so be prepared. Also, most DMVs close in the early afternoon so students have to take their exam during the school day. Remember to look ahead in your schedule, because you wouldn’t want to miss a big exam.
Also remember, find time in your schedule to get two hours of behind the wheel driving because it is required in order for you to get your permit.
There are also plenty of practice exams online so it is not too difficult to prepare. Do not worry too much about the exam because it is not impossible. Plenty of people have passed the exam! I am nervous as well yet excited because it will be worth it. Good luck!