Think back to the time you took your first driving test as a teenager. Were you nervous? Excited? Afraid that you’d fail the test by coming to an incomplete stop at a stop sign? Imagine that experience now—only you’re driving a several-ton semi-truck, and your career is hanging on the results of that test. That’s a commercial driver’s license (CDL) driving test. To pass your CDL driving test without a hitch, learn how to prepare for a CDL driving test.
Study the Materials in Advance
A CDL driving test consists of both a written exam and a behind-the-wheel driving test. To earn your CDL license, you must adequately pass both. For the written test, study the materials well in advance of your test date—no cramming the night before! Make sure you have a good grasp of all material that will be on the test.
Take Advantage of Study Tools
There are plenty of study tools for the CDL driving test available if you know where to look. Check your local DMV’s website for the CDL manual, which will give you an overview of everything you need to know about getting your CDL license. You can also find plenty of useful resources like cheat sheets, study guides, and practice tests online.
Take a Practice Test
Speaking of practice tests… take a few! Trying a few practice tests before your actual written exam will help you familiarize yourself with the format of the exam and some sample questions so that the official test is not the first time you encounter them. Taking practice tests can also help you to identify which areas you struggle in, so you can fill in your knowledge before the written exam.
Practice Your Driving Skills
In addition to preparing for the written exam, you’ll need to prepare for the CDL behind-the-wheel driving test. Before the test, get some practice driving a commercial vehicle—the experience will be much different than driving a normal car. Practice all the skills that you’ll need, including driving on different terrains and in various types of traffic, backing the vehicle, and other skills like making turns and changing lanes.
When you know how to prepare for a CDL driving test, you’ll be ready for both written and practical exams. Remember that in addition to passing your CDL tests, you’ll need to do a few other things before being employed as a CDL driver, including having a pre-employment query made with the DOT Clearinghouse by your potential employer. Once you pass your tests and complete the other requirements, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a professional truck driver.