As with any type of exam, passing your commercial driver’s license (CDL) test will take effort and preparation.
You are going to be tested on various pieces of information. Trying to simply memorize all the information contained in the manual will not work and is an inefficient way to prepare.
CDL drivers need to understand and follow specific guidelines while doing their jobs. They need to be able to do them in a safe and efficient way, that’s why it is important to obtain your CDL. Though testing for your CDL will vary a little state by state, below are some of the top tips to help you have the best chance of passing your exam.
1. Review your state requirements for getting a CDL.
Your first task should be to review the requirements of obtaining a CDL in your state. Some of these requirements will include physical requirements and a minimum age requirement. It is important to understand whether you meet these basic requirements before applying to ensure everything goes smoothly during the process.
2. Obtain the CDL Manual for your state.
Each state has a different manual to study from before you take your CDL exam. Be sure you obtain the correct one to review. You may choose to download the manual from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website, or you may be able to pick up a hard copy by visiting your local DMV. Start by reading through the entire manual at least once so you get a quick overview of the information you need to learn. It can be tough to memorize everything in the manual, so find a way to learn through memorization and by using practice exams to study.
3. Memorize and understand.
It’s impossible for most people to memorize all the information in the testing materials. While memorization is a good tool to use for definitions and certain information in the materials, it is more important to understand the material you’re learning. Understanding all the materials for earning your CDL license is the key to being prepared for the test.
The better you understand the material, the easier it will be to answer any question that may be asked on the exam. Simply memorizing material can get you confused when questions are worded in alternate ways.
4. Practice, practice, practice.
An age-old saying is that practice makes perfect. Studying for your CDL exam cannot be done at the last minute. If you try to rush the learning process, nothing is going to stick. Once you have all your study materials with you, study a little bit at a time and test yourself on the knowledge you’re retaining.
5. Find easy study strategies that work for you.
Once you’ve reviewed the CDL manual, it is time to start testing what you know. This can be done using practice questions, songs, unique phrasing, rhymes, flashcards, or practice exams. You might look for some helpful apps to help you study and learn as you go. Many people find it helpful to ask friends and family to quiz them on the materials as well.
6. Be focused and alert when you take the exam.
When your exam day arrives, it’s important to be fresh and alert for testing. It is never a good idea to take a test while you are too tired or without having food in your stomach. The night before your exam, go to bed at a decent hour so that you get plenty of rest to be alert the next day. The morning before your exam, eat a filling and nutritious breakfast so you will have energy while testing.
7. Take different CDL testing modes for effective exam preparation.
Trucker Country offers individuals studying for their CDL exam a variety of practice tests to help them better prepare for exam day. They offer three different test modes to complete. Their testing system is designed to help you pass the official exam without having to study in a “normal” fashion.
- Classic Mode: Classic Mode has tests to take with multiple choice questions on a single page. This is a quick and easy way to give students an idea of how much preparation they still need before moving on to the Practice Mode section.
- Practice Mode: Once you’re ready to move on, it’s time to try Practice Mode. The test in this section offers more intense preparation for the actual exam. Each time the test taker makes an incorrect answer, the correct answer will be given with a CDL reference to review. Being able to note exactly where the information came from in the manual will help you remember it easier. It is suggested to take each practice test that correlates to the section in the manual you are studying for best results.
- Exam Mode: Exam Mode offers takers 600 questions to practice with. Each practice test in this mode is timed just as it is in the actual exam. After you finish each practice test, you’ll receive a grade on it that is like the official state exams. Once you complete all the practice tests, you’ll recognize what you need to study further.
These are just some of the tips to take into consideration for passing your commercial driver’s license test. Keep in mind that there is no substitute for putting in the effort and hard work to make your dreams of obtaining a CDL license come true.
What comes next?
Once you obtain your license, you will be able to apply for one of the many fulfilling careers available to CDL drivers only, including company driver jobs, and starting your own trucking business as an owner-operator.
Many owner operators get their start as company drivers before leaping into independence, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start your trucking career as an owner operator. The driving knowledge and skills you need for each job are essentially the same.
Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for CDL Consult. She often produces content for a variety of CDL blogs.
Reference in this site to any specific product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Truckstop.com.