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Legal Tips

How Many Questions Are on the Permit Test

The learner’s permit test, commonly known as the permit test, is the gateway to obtaining a driving permit in the U.S. It’s the first step for teens and new drivers to showcase their knowledge of traffic laws, driving practices, and road signs. However, a frequently posed question by these anxious test-takers is: “How many questions are on the permit test?” This article unpacks this query and delves deeper into the permit test’s intricacies.

The General Framework

While the core content of the permit test remains consistent, focusing on road rules and signs, the number of questions varies depending on the state you’re taking the test in.

State-by-State Variation

Each U.S. state has its Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent agency, which dictates the test’s specifics.

California, for instance:
In the Golden State, those under 18 will face 46 questions, needing 38 correct answers to pass.

In New York:
The state has a written test of 20 multiple choice questions where one must score at least 14 right answers.

Texans face a 30-question test with a required 70% to pass.

This state-by-state variation is a testament to the localized nuances in driving laws and the emphasis each state places on certain driving principles.

Nature of the Questions

Regardless of the number, the questions’ essence revolves around:

  1. Road Signs: Recognizing and understanding the meaning of standard U.S. road signs.
  2. Traffic Laws: Rules that every driver must adhere to while on the road.
  3. Safe Driving Practices: Protocols for safe driving, like the three-second rule or what to do in inclement weather.
  4. Situational Judgement: Hypothetical scenarios that test one’s judgment in specific driving situations.

Preparing for the Test

While the quantity of questions varies, quality preparation is universally crucial. Utilize resources like:

  • DMV Handbook: Every state has its driver’s handbook. This should be your primary study material.
  • Online Practice Tests: Many websites offer state-specific practice tests that simulate the actual exam’s format.
  • Mobile Apps: There are several apps tailored to help aspiring drivers ace their permit tests with mock questions and timed quizzes.


  1. Is the permit test the same as the driver’s license test?
    No. The permit test is written, focusing on theory. The driver’s license test, or road test, assesses your actual driving skills on the road.
  2. How many times can I retake the permit test if I fail?
    This varies by state. Some states might require a waiting period between attempts, while others might limit the total number of tries.
  3. Is there a fee for taking the permit test?
    Yes, most states charge a fee, which might be bundled with other administrative costs. If you need to retake the test, there could be an additional fee.
  4. Are the questions the same for everyone?
    Generally, no. While questions come from the same pool of information, the exact set of questions may differ between test-takers.
  5. Can I use the DMV handbook during the test?
    No, the permit test is closed-book. You must rely on your knowledge and preparation.


In essence, while the number of questions on the permit test fluctuates by state, the overarching goal remains the same: to ensure new drivers have a foundational understanding of driving principles. Whether you’re faced with 20 questions or 50, thorough preparation is key. Embrace the resources available, give the test your best shot, and remember, it’s just the first step in your driving journey!

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