Video clips will replace written scenarios in the car driving theory test, bringing the test up to date and making it more accessible for everyone, from 28 September 2020.
The new video clips in the multiple-choice part of the test will show up to a 30-second scenario of different driving conditions. This includes driving through a town centre or on a country road. Learners will then need to answer 3 questions about the clip.
The changes follow research done with learners who have reading difficulties and disabilities. It showed learners felt more comfortable and confident with video scenarios, rather than written ones, as they were better able to process the information on screen.
DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Mark Winn, said: “DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving.
“Being able to drive can be life-changing and the DVSA is committed to helping everyone access the opportunities driving can offer.
“We have worked closely with road safety experts and learners to create a theory test which fully tests a candidate’s knowledge of the rules of the road and is more accessible.”
As well as making the test more accessible the changes make the test more realistic, as it mirrors the way candidates take in and react to information while driving.
DVSA worked with the National Autistic Society, the British Dyslexia Association and British Deaf Association amongst other stakeholders to develop the changes.
John Rogers, from the Disability Driving Instructors, said: “A picture paints a thousand words, especially for candidates with special educational needs. Having to go back and forth between the text in the written scenario and the written questions and answers was a big obstacle to understanding what was required.
“Video scenarios should prove much easier to follow and the questions will hopefully appear more relevant.”
Previous improvements made to the theory test to make it more accessible, include the added option of taking the test with a pre-recorded voice-over, and specially trained members of staff acting as readers.
Learners can practice for free in using the new video clips by visiting The Stationery Office's website: https://www.safedrivingforlife.info/take-free-video-clip-test.
The Official DVSA learning materials also include new video clips to help learners practise this part of the theory test:
- The Official DVSA Theory Test app
- The Official DVSA Learning Zone
It is estimated that over the last 10 years, 17 million theory tests have been conducted in the UK. The introduction of the new video clips on 28 September only applies to the car theory test.
The new video clips will not replace the hazard perception part of the theory test. Learners will still sit a multiple-choice and a hazard perception section. The rest of the test is not changing.
Learners will still:
- be asked 50 multiple-choice questions in total
- need to get the same pass mark
- get their result at the test centre after taking the theory test
Learners can practice their driving theory by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/take-practice-theory-test.
The same changes will apply in Northern Ireland.
DVSA also offers learners with reading difficulties, disabilities or health conditions other support such as:
- extra time to take the test
- someone to read what’s on the screen and record their answers
- someone to reword the questions for them
DVSA announced the changes to the theory test in February 2020 but had to delay the implementation of them due to the coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of driving and theory tests.
The change is also supported by Driving instructor trade associations and Pearson VUE that deliver the test for DVSA.
Carly Brookfield, chair of the National Associations Strategic Partnership, said: “NASP are happy to support any measures which enhance the theory test and make it more accessible to everyone, without weakening the integrity of the test.”
Dr Gary Gates Senior; Pearson VUE Vice President for Global Business, said: “Since 2004, Pearson VUE has delivered the computer-based driving theory test to over 25 million candidates in partnership with DVSA. Video clips have replaced text in case study questions to make the theory test more accessible for all candidates.”