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How to pass your motorbike theory test

Published: 11 February 2019

The theory test is the second element of passing your full motorbike licence, occuring before the two practical modules and after the CBT.

It requires a provisional motorcycle licence before booking, and this must be taken along to the test centre. Here MCN explains what to expect from the theory test and how to prepare for it.

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The theory test is made up of two elements – a multiple choice test and a hazard perception test. Both are conducted on a computer, at specialist test centres.

The motorbike theory test: multiple choice

You'll have 57 minutes and will be asked 50 multiple-choice questions - though you don't have to use the full allotted time. The questions are based on three books: The Highway Code, Know your traffic signs and Riding - the essential skills.

You're also able to take practice tests online.

When you arrive, you'll be informed you can't take personal items in with you and offered a locker to keep them in. Examples are earphones, smart devices, watches and bags. A member of staff will check what you have on your person, and it's worth noting you'll be breaking the law if you cheat in the theory test.

Before the test begins you can expect instructions on how the test will work and a chance to try out some practice questions to familiarise yourself with the screens and software.

When you begin, you'll get questions with a set of possible answers. The format will be based on a case study, which takes the form of a short story. For example, you may watch a film and then be presented with a number of questions to answer.

The whole test should be about a real life situation you could come across while riding.

If you're struggling with a particular question, you can 'flag' it and come back later to have another go. You're also able to change your answers at any time during the test.

To pass this portion of the theory test, you'll need to score 43 out of 50.

At the end of your test you'll get a three-minute break before you move on to the hazard perception test...

The motorbike theory test: hazard perception

The hazard perception test consists of 14 video clips, each about a minute long, showing real riding situations. You have to identify the hazards that appear on the screen as they pop up in front of you.

Each clip contains at least one 'developing hazard', which you'll get points for spotting as soon as they occur. One of the clips will feature two of these hazards. A 'developing hazard' is defined as something that would cause you to take action, such as having to change direction or slow down.

You are scored on how quickly you identify the hazards. You can score a maximum of five points per hazard, and won't lose points if you get it wrong. Don't simply click away, though - you won't score a thing if you click continuously in one place or in a set pattern.

Unlike the multiple choice test above, you only get one attempt at each clip and you can't change your response once entered.

You can practice for this test by downloading an app from this page. You can also test yourself whenever you are on the road - scan the street for potential hazards and see how many you can spot.

You'll need to score 44 out of 75 to pass this part of the motorbike theory test.

Passing or failing to motorbike theory test

You will find out if you have passed on the day of your test.

If you're successful you'll receive a letter saying so, and you'll then have two years to take both modules of your motorcycle test. If you don't do this, you'll need to pass the theory test again.

Should you fail, you'll get a letter to that effect. It will outline the parts you struggled with so you've got a chance to get extra practice in. You will then need to wait three working days before booking your test again.

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