CDL exams have changed. As of February 2020, you need to pass a federal level CDL exam that covers theory (classroom and bookwork), and drives on the road in an 18-wheeler. It’s important to know that no one is just born a truck driver. It will take study, diligence and practice to pass the CDL exam.
Do I Need Trucker School?
Yes, as of February 2020 you NEED to attend a formal training program. The good news is that trucking school will prepare you for the CDL exams. You’ll feel confident about passing a skills test and a written test.
What does the Written Test cover?
There is a free CDL practice test available for your use, but you can expect these topics:
- Weight & overweight trucks
- Securing Cargo
- What happens at scales
- General road rules: right of way, pedestrians, railroad crossings, trolleys & streetcars, 4 Way and 2 Way Stops, school buses
- Drinking and Driving / Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) rules for truckers, Drug and Alcohol testing
- Chaining up
- New Electronic Logbook regulations
- New Hours of Service regulations: 30-minute break in 8 hours, 10 hours of rest between shifts, 34-hour resets
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:
The best way to prepare for the written portion of the CDL exam is to faithfully attend your trucking school classes, take good notes and STUDY! Just cramming for this exam the day before the test is not going to be enough. You need to set aside time to really focus on learning the laws.
What does the Driving Test cover?
Again, the new tests aren’t public but you should expect these sorts of skills to be used:
- Backing up safely
- Making sharp turns correctly
- How to chain up
- Safe parking
- Execute a safety walk around your rig
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 markdown notes and deductions as the drive perform the instructed directions. The instructor will tell the driver which route to take and give specific maneuverability instructions for the course.
How to Prepare:
To prepare for the driving portion of the CDL exam your best bet is to get as much time behind-the-wheel as possible. Again, be present and alert during your driving classes. Practice checking your mirrors a lot! You will have a professional tester in the cab with you, so you might want to practice driving this way. Have a helper tell you which turns to take and where to park.
At Diesel Driving Academy our focus is you! We partner with numerous trucking companies that need drivers now! We want you to be successful, so we take a lot of one-on-one interest in our CDL students. Contact us for more information about the CDL test today!
*This blog was originally written in 2011 and has been updated according to industry standards.*