No one is born a truck driver. It takes specific instruction and lots of driving experience to confidently operate a powerful 18-wheeler. Truck driver training is not for those unwilling to go through a challenging program. It takes a winning combination of determination and courage to successfully complete the training program and pass the CDL exam.
However, men and women of every age, race, and personality credit their successful truck-driving career to their CDL training program. Although the final CDL exam can seem overwhelming and stressful, keep in mind that the CDL programs are designed to instruct new drivers with no previous experience to successfully pass the test.
CDL Skills Test
Driving Expectations: The driving examiner assigned to the test will be looking for correct execution in many different areas. These include: pre-trip safety check, sharp turns, backing up, maneuvering around traffic, appropriate use of mirrors, and many more. Making mistakes like not checking mirrors before merging, backing into a cone, or turning a corner too sharply will cost points on the driver evaluation. If the driver accumulates a certain number of points, he/she fails the test and will not receive a their CDL.
Format: The skills test is given in the class of vehicle the driver intends on using in their future career. An instructor will sit in the passenger seat and mark down notes and deductions as the drive performs the instructed directions. The instructor will tell the driver which route to take and give specific maneuverability instructions for the course.
Score Needed to Pass: In order to pass the skills portion, a driver cannot have more than 30 deduction points during their evaluation. Not sure if this is true for all states
How to Prepare: The best way to get ready for the CDL exam is to get behind-the-wheel training as much as possible. A well-rounded CDL program will provide prospective drivers with as much hands-on time as possible. Another great way to prepare for the exam is to go to the state’s CDL Manual. This will allows students to gather a better understanding of what maneuvers and procedures are expected during the exam.
CDL Knowledge Test
Question Expectations: The CDL Knowledge Test will ask for information regarding specific state trucking regulations and weight limitations.
Format: There are different CDL written tests to take depending on what type of class the driver is testing for. The general knowledge test has multiple-choice questions and is usually taken on the computer.
Score Needed to Pass: Students will need at least an 80% is needed to pass the CDL Knowledge Test.
How to Prepare: Taking good notes and asking questions during CDL training will make the information seem less overwhelming. The state’s CDL Manual is an excellent study guide. It is packed with valuable information like truck weight limits, test-taking procedures, description of CDL class types, and much more.
The best thing to remember is to stay calm and remember you have trained for this. Do you still have questions about the CDL Exam or want to hear more about CDL training in the Louisiana area? DDA campuses are located in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Little Rock. To learn more, head over to our Truck Driver Training Program!
*This blog was originally published in 2011 and has been updated to reflect current industry standards.*