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Learning to drive

Taking the theory test with dyslexia, anxiety or learning difficulties

The theory test can be a struggle even for people that don't usually have problems with taking tests, so if you have a learning difficulty or anxiety, it can be quite a worry.

But do not fear: there are a couple of ways to help make the test a better experience for you.

  1. Reassure yourself of all the details

  2. If you're worried about taking the test, it will help you to know exactly what's going to happen.

    If you suffer from anxiety, it may be possible for you to visit the test centre before your theory test, so you can make sure you know where you're going and what you need to do.

    What happens on the day of your theory test

    1. You show up - not too early of course, but definitely half an hour before the test starts
    2. You sign in, showing your provisional licence photocard
    3. You put your belongings, including your phone, in the locker you're given
    4. You wait to be called
    5. Your name is called and you have your ears checked for secret spy devices
    6. You go to the computer you're pointed to and sit down
    7. You use your 15 minutes practice time to get used to the system
    8. Then you get 57 minutes to answer 50 multiple-choice questions
    9. You flag questions you're not sure about and you can go over the questions as many times as you like
    10. When you're done, you get some time to have a bit of a rest
    11. You then start the hazard perception bit of the test, where you have to click when you see a hazard
    12. When you're done, you end the test and leave the test room
    13. You're given your test results before you leave
    14. If you don't pass, you're told the areas you need to do more revision in
    15. If you do pass, you get your pass certificate and skip off home
  3. Book extra time

  4. It's possible for people with dyslexia to be given double the usual 57 minutes to complete the theory test. All you need to do is provide a letter from your doctor or a teacher that says you have dyslexia.

    To get the extra time for the theory test, email the DVSA's test agency at with your proof attached.

  5. Choose to have the test questions read to you

  6. If you think you'll find the format of the written test questions difficult, you can choose an audio version of the theory test. Just book online and choose that option.

    If you don't choose the audio theory test when you book, it is possible to ask on the day but make sure you're early. You don't need to provide evidence that you have dyslexia to have the audio theory test and it comes in 20 languages.

  7. Request a one-to-one helper

  8. If you know you'll really struggle with the test format (if you have problems with your sight, for example), you can request extra help. This would be someone to sit with you for the test, who'll read you the question and record your answer.

    You'll need to contact the DVSA's test agency directly to request this, with proof of your learning difficulty.

If you need to ask the DVSA about theory test arrangements for any learning difficulties, email or call 0300 200 1188.


2 Responses

  1. Leslie says:

    If a young person has failed three times due to these difficulties is there any more help that can be offered ?

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Leslie,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Have you applied for extra time? Other than that I don’t think there’s any additional help, I’m afraid.