Learn About Commercial Driver License Exams

A senior driver must pass a commercial driver license test to obtain a commercial drivers license, or CDL, to operate commercial vehicles. The CDL test tests a driver’s knowledge and skills of the vehicle he or she is planning to operate. Passing a CDL written exam is not as easy as cramming all night and memorizing the answers. Depending on the type of commercial vehicle you plan to drive, the type of CDL license test you are required to take will vary. You might need to only take the CDL knowledge test, or you might also need to take a road skills test. By knowing ahead of time how to pass the CDL exam, you will be able to spend your time studying the right material at your own pace to get a better overall score on your CDL license exam. Learn more about the exam for CDL license types in the sections outlined below.

How Seniors Can Prepare for the CDL Test

The first step toward passing the CDL license written exam is to get a copy of your state’s Commercial Driver’s Licensing Manual. Most states make their CDL testing manuals available online, so you will be able to download and print the manual at your convenience.

When it comes to studying for the CDL test, examiner manuals and tests that uphold federal standards are sent to each state, but it is up to the individual state DMV whether to use this material or not. After you have obtained your state’s CDL manual, you should prepare for the CDL written driver exam by thoroughly practicing both the inspection tests and maneuvers. When you take the CDL examination, you will be paired with a qualified instructor, so it is essential to be prepared and well-studied.

About the Commercial Driver License Test for Seniors

Once you receive your CDL test manual, it is time to decide which type of vehicle you want to drive. The exam for CDL licenses depends on the class of vehicle(s) you plan to operate.

Whether it is a tank vehicle or a school bus, you are going to need to decide before you set out to learn how to get your CDL license, since the CDL commercial license test varies, depending on the commercial vehicle you plan to drive.

To obtain your CDL, you are required to pass a CDL written exam, which is known as the knowledge test. Depending on the type of vehicle a senior driver wishes to drive, he or she may also be expected to take a road skills test.

Which CDL test do I need to take as a senior?

The CDL knowledge test is required for all senior drivers who plan to drive vehicles that fall under CDL endorsement codes: T, N, H and X. For endorsement codes P and S, seniors must take the knowledge test and the road skills test.

It is essential when taking a commercial drivers license test that each senior driver passes all the required tests. Failing to do so can put a driver at risk of having a restriction placed on his or her CDL. You can expect to get your CDL after you pass the CDL knowledge and skills tests related to the type of vehicle(s) you plan to operate.

What is the knowledge test for senior CDLs?

Each state develops its own CDL test required to meet the minimum federal standards, with the CDL driver knowledge test covering 20 general areas and containing at least 30 items, in total. For a senior driver to pass the CDL written test, general and endorsement, he or she must answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly.

After a senior driver passes the CDL written exam and a skills test is not required, he or she must take the documents to the front desk of the DMV for processing. Some states will provide you with your CDL the same day you pass the exam, while other states are required to mail it to you. Before submitting your documents, it is your responsibility to make sure all the information is accurate. Changing information on your documents can be time-consuming and costly.

What is the senior CDL road skills test?

If the CMV you plan on driving requires you to take a road skill test, along with the CDL license written exam, you must perform all of the skills successfully to be able to pass. You must also pass all three parts of the CDL skills test, which include the basic controls test, the roads test and the vehicle inspection test. Some states allow drivers to use a “training aid” during the test. This aid can be used as a guide to remember items on the vehicle inspection checklist.

It is important to note that there is no guarantee that you will pass the CDL written exam or the road skills test. A driver must take a CDL skills test in a vehicle that is representative of the type of vehicle he or she plans to operate with his or her CDL. Failing to do so can result in restrictions being applied to a senior driver’s CDL.

States have the authority to wave the road skills test section of the CDL test to military service members and recent veterans if they have at least two years of safe driving experience in a similar vehicle.

The skills sections of the commercial driver license test may be conducted by a third party, if authorized by the state. This third party can include a private driving institution, department, agency or agent of a local government. The test must be the same as the one in the state in which the driver lives. More restrictions and provisions may apply.