Tennessee Permit Test – One of the Hardest Tests in U.S.
The first thing you should know about the Tennessee knowledge test for a learner’s permit or regular driver license is that it is hard.
The latest numbers showed that only 50% (1 out of 2) passed the written test the first time. Since there is a mandatory 7-day waiting period if you fail the test, you want to prepare well and pass the on your first try.
What You Should Know about Tennessee Permit Test
There are 30 questions on the Tennessee permit test. The test is in English, but TDOT also offers the test in 3 alternate languages: Spanish, Korean or Japanese.
By Tennessee law, at least 25% of the questions (8) must deal with topics regarding alcohol, drugs, and driving.
Tennessee legislators are very serious about educating new drivers on the tragedies of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
With this in mind, you should pay extra attention to this chapter in the manual.
Another 25% of the test deals with traffic signs and traffic signals (7-8 questions). Surprisingly many first-time test takers miss some of these questions. One theory is that they don’t pay enough attention to the descriptions since all signs are already familiar to them.
But being familiar doesn’t always mean that you fully understand the meaning of the signs or signals.
Questions about rules of the road and Tennessee driving laws make up another 25% of the questions on your test. This perhaps the toughest part to learn. There are many details you need to learn.
The last 25% of the official permit test deals with safe driving principles and how to share the road with others.
To pass the official permit exam, you need 24 correct answers (all areas are counted together).
The test has multiple-choice questions and you cannot bring the manual. All forms of cheating, including talking or reading on your cell phone, will result in a failed test and a mandatory waiting period of 30 days before you can take the test again.
There is only one correct answer to each question and there are no trick questions. With our help, we think you will pass the test. Should you fail, you must wait 7 days before you can try again. In such a case, use the time wisely and take more practice tests.
You will find additional tests at Driver’s Prep.
But if you aren’t there yet, follow these steps to prepare and pass the test the first time.
The First Step: Get the Manual
Yes, you need to read the TN Comprehensive Driver Manual. Don’t even think about ignoring this manual.
TDOT draws all questions from your permit test from this manual. It is your life saver. Everything you need to know to become a responsible driver is in this manual.
Sure, you will meet people who says that they passed the knowledge test without reading the manual. Most of the time, you should mistrust them. People who think that rules of the road are just common sense are usually the worst drivers. These know-it-alls generally feel very confident in their driving abilities but aren’t always as safe as they believe themselves to be.
So, approach your knowledge test with the right attitude. You haven’t deserved your learner’s permit or regular license yet. There are things Tennessee Driver Services really want you to know before they issue you a license.
The Second Step: Read the Manual
You probably already know this, but one of the most important factors affecting your concentration is your environment. Find a good, quiet place to study.
Your bed doesn’t count!
The information you should focus on for your Tennessee permit test is found in section B and C of the manual.
This is a summary of what these sections contain:
- Good driving practices
- Rules of the road
- Traffic signs and signals
- State driving laws and penalties
- Driving conditions, impaired driving, and other important information
- Safety tips
- Defensive driving
- Sharing the road safely
We think it is a good strategy to get a first overview of the contents and then divide the manual in smaller chunks.
Learning everything in at once is often impossible, if driving and rules of the road are new to you. Our working memory can only retain limited information at a time. So, decompressing the manual in smaller chunks and mastering them one at a time, often becomes an effective way of learning.
Experts also recommend you to be active when you study new information. This can include discussing the information with friends or family. Putting your own words to things often helps.
The Third Step: Verify Your New Knowledge
Simply reading and re-reading the manual or your notes is not enough! For long-term retention, you need to actively engage in the material.
People who frequently ace different test have learned to formulate questions and problems around their study topics. They don’t just scribble down facts from the study material, they reason in their notes and try to explain things with their own words.
After reading the chapter about alcohol in the manual, you can try this experiment:
- Put the manual away!
- Body weight and fat are factors that determine how you are affected by alcohol.
- Can you describe with your own words how these factors affect you and others?
- Try to formulate at least four complete sentences.
Then, continue with this!
- Stash away the manual again!
- Now, create for 2 quiz questions based on your own descriptions from above
- Try the questions on someone nearby, like a friend or family member.
- Can they answer the questions correctly?
You’ll probably find that asking someone these questions will result in a discussion about how alcohol affects you based on body weight.
After this small experiment, you will probably not forget the facts about body weight, fat, and alcohol.
You have also given yourself an example of what is known as active learning!
The Fourth Step: Practice for the Exam
Active learning also includes being asked about the material by others.
If you study together with a friend, you can easily make up your own quizzes and ask each other questions based on the Driver Manual. This is an effective way of learning and better than any permit test cheat sheet.
You can also use the practice tests at FreeDMVTest.org.
Not only will you get test questions and answers that are directly related to the Tennessee permit test, you will also get a feel for how a real multiple-choice permit test works.
The computerized knowledge test at TDOT is like this practice test.
Aim for a full score on each test. It gives you a good margin for errors on the real exam.
If you miss a question, it may be because you didn’t concentrate and just answered too quickly. This is easily done when you do the practice test on a computer or phone.
If you think that it won’t happen on the real test, think again!
People who fail the official exam often claim that they knew the correct answer but just happened to pick the wrong answer because they didn’t read carefully enough.
To get the most out of the practice tests, read carefully. It is all about pacing yourself. Then approach the real exam the same way. Read everything at least twice. But don’t read too much into a question. There are no trick questions on the official test.
The Fifth Step: Don’t Cram
Don’t cram the last few days before the exam. When you have completed the steps above, hopefully over a period of some weeks, relax.
Your brain needs time to store everything in its right places. Cramming the night before the test is probably tempting. But it may do more harm than good.
Feel confident in what you know and do something else. Try to get rid of that nervous feeling. The world won’t end even if you fail the test.
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