Your CDL test can seem overwhelming sometimes. However, there are steps you can take get started in the right direction. With the right training program, plenty of on-the-road experience, and some good old fashion studying, you will be well on your way to success.

CDL Skills Test

Driving Expectations

The driving skills test is usually broken down into three parts:

  1. The pre-trip vehicle inspection test: You will be tested to see if you know how to perform your pre-trip inspection for your vehicle. They will grade you on how detailed, correct and efficient you are.
  2. The basic control test: For this section, you will be asked to move the vehicle in several different maneuvers in specific areas. You will need to follow the directions given by the examiner.
  3. The road skills test: You will be asked to drive in a variety of traffic situations. This may include intersections, left and right turns, upgrades and downgrades, railroad crossings and highways. Be prepared for any real-life driving scenarios.


The skills test will be scheduled by the driver with a CDL third-party examiner. The driver will need to bring the type of vehicle that matches the licensure they are applying for, with proof of insurance for the vehicle.

Score Needed to Pass

The driver cannot lose more than 30 points in order to pass the CDL test. The test must be taken in the correct order and you must pass each section before you can move onto the next. You must pass all three sections in order to receive your CDL.

How to Prepare

The best way to prepare for the skills test is to practice on the road and with an instructor. The only way to get real-life driving experience is to drive in real life! A good CDL training program will prepare you for the test by giving you plenty of time to practice on the road. Another great resource is the state CDL manual, which breaks down which maneuvers and skills you will need for the test.

CDL Knowledge Test

Question Expectations

The general knowledge test has to be taken by every applicant. It covers the general information all truckers need to know, regardless of vehicle type. In addition to this test, you may need to take other tests in order to drive specific vehicles. For example, the hazardous waste test or school bus test.


The tests are multiple-choice and can be taken online.

Score Needed to Pass

The general knowledge test has 50 questions and you will need to get 40 (or 80%) correct in order to pass.

How to Prepare

The CDL manual is a great resource for studying, but nothing can replace the specialized instruction you receive in a driver training program. Be sure to take notes and ask questions in class to ensure the information is clear to you. On test day, take a deep breath and know you’ve received the proper training and that you studied hard.

For more information on driver training and how to prepare for your CDL tests contact us today.