Taking The Permit Test: A Guide

Taking The Permit Test: A Guide

Hannah Kim, Staff Writer

I am almost 18 and barely got my permit- I know, embarrassing. I don’t mind too much though, since we are all on our own time, but there are some things I wish I knew about the DMV and applying for a permit before I did so. I was so sure I would fail my written test, as I remembered about 2 solid facts from the driver’s ed I completed almost a year ago. Somehow I passed, and I thought I would share some useful tips and websites with anyone struggling with permit tests. 

In my experience, I had bought the driver’s ed package from Juans driving school (which also includes the 3 mandatory driving lessons after you pass a permit test). They gave me around 3 months to complete the tedious 35-ish lessons, each of which had 50-120 slides. Each slide had a timer you had to stay on for, accompanied by a button you press to get to the next slide. It was honestly terrible, and though it had useful information for a first-time driver like myself, there were certain lessons about road rage I found rather annoying. After completing the course, they sent me a driver’s ed completion certificate, since I passed the final test. It was super easy, most of the questions just need some common sense. Some questions need to be memorized, like certain fines and crimes. Main point: I am pretty sure the only way to fail the driver’s ed test is to actively try and miss questions. 

If you’re smarter than me, you’ll probably take the permit test right after you pass driver’s ed. Set an appointment as soon as possible, the DMV (at least the one in Norco) closes at 5 and they make you take the test at least 30 minutes before (chances are you’re going to be there for a while). They close on weekends, so it is kind of a hassle unless you don’t have a 5th or 6th period or we aren’t on break. I don’t have a 6th period so I set my appointment for 12:30 on a Tuesday. Already they had me log on to put in my information for a Real ID card, but I ended up having to wait around an hour anyway for them to call my number. 

The woman at the stand set me up with my ID, which admittedly took quite a while, and it was mostly her checking all of my documents (all of which you should bring or check the DMV website to see which government documents they accept): my bank statements, W2 form from my job, and passport (not expired). I believe they also accept water/ electric bills but the parent whose name is on those has to be there and has to be able to prove relation to you. 

I always hear complaints about how the DMV workers are rude and mean, but I honestly had no complaints. The women at Norco DMV were kind and funny and made me feel very welcome. I will say however there was one man who kind of shooed my mom away while I was making my way to take the ID picture (which came out horribly. I look like my dad), but he did congratulate me after I had passed my exam. The computers are all separated by small gray walls, and all of them are pressed against the far left wall. They were also the computers where I had originally filled out my ID information when I got there. I was next to a kid who seemed 10 times more nervous than I was and a man who kept hawking up a loogie or was humming either a song or each question and answer. I guess just be prepared to deal with unideal test conditions, you never know what medley of people are going to be there. 

The written test is simple, don’t stress yourself out. I highly recommend using DMV practice tests, they are the only reason I passed since I forgot almost everything from the driver’s ed lessons I had taken almost a year ago. The website I mainly used was https://dmv-permit-test.com/ and I had no issues. The DMV and learning how to drive can be a rather significant moment, one packed with anxiety. For me, it signifies my coming of age and is a milestone to show that I am growing up it’s terrifying. But to anyone stressing about the test, I promise you got it. If I can pass, anyone can.