An tástáil teoirice

What you need to know about this key knowledge test for learner drivers. There are also theory tests for RSA approved driving instructors and professional drivers (CPC).

Driver theory test

The learner driver theory test was introduced in 2001. By law, before applying for a learner permit, candidates must complete and pass a test of their general road safety knowledge and motoring legislation. It applies to anyone applying for a first learner permit in any vehicle category.

The test is designed to check knowledge of topics such as:

  • Rules of the Road
  • Risk perception
  • Eco-driving
  • Hazard awareness
  • Good driving behaviour

The test is computer-based but, like the fast check-in kiosks at airports, is designed for those who have little or no experience of using computers as well as those who do.

You will have a chance to take a practice session on the day before starting on the actual test. If you have special needs please contact the Driver Theory Service and explain your requirements.

Driver Theory Service contact:
1890 606 106 (English language)
1890 606 806 (Irish language)
1890 616 216 (text phone – for the hearing-impaired)

There are separate theory tests for driving instructors and for professional bus and truck drivers:

Approved Driving Instructor (ADI)
Driver CPC (Certificate in Professional Competency)

Latest version

A significant revision of the driver theory test came into effect on 30 May 2009. Approximately 10% of question bank was refreshed and updated across all licence categories.

All exams for car, motorcycle, bus and truck categories contain new and amended questions.

These include:

  • A number of legislative changes to licensing regulations, the introduction of digital tachographs, and changes to speed limit rules
  • New stopping distance information
  • Updates to hazard perception questions, which test a candidate's ability to analyse a potentially hazardous situation and pick the correct course of action

The complete list of updated questions is published in the Official Driver Theory Test Book (4th edition, May 2009) and CD-Rom. These are available to purchase online at www.theorytest.ie and in book shops nationwide.

Test categories

There are four categories of theory test (see table below). Each test cateogry corresponds to a driver-licence or learner-permit category. If you take a test listed in the first column, you are covered for all the licences or learner permits in the corresponding column.  

Theory test certificate Driver licence or learner-permit category
B and W Covers cars, land tractors and work vehicles B, EB and W
A and M Covers motorcycles and mopeds A, A1 and M
C Covers vans and trucks over 3,500kg C1, C, EC and EC1
D Minibuses and buses D, D1, Ed and ED1

If you are applying for your first learner permit you must:

  • Include a theory test certificate for the relevant category along with your learner-permit application, unless the certificate has already been submitted 
  • Present the certificate within two years of the date of issue (date of passing the test)

Note: you will be regarded as an applicant for a first learner permit in respect of a particular vehicle category if you have not held such a licence in the preceding five years.

Cost

A driver theory test for motorcycles and mopeds (category AM), cars, work vehicles and land tractors (category BW), heavy goods vehicles (category C) and buses (category D) costs €35.60.

Booking a test

The theory test is managed on behalf of the RSA by a test partner, which operates a number of lo-call helplines to answer queries about the test and take test bookings:

1890 606 106 (English language)
1890 606 806 (Irish language)
1890 616 216 (text phone – for the hearing-impaired)

The postal address of the testing service is:   

PO Box 788
Togher
Cork
 
Application forms are available from the testing service and from all local motor taxation offices.

Tests are held in 41 driving test centres around the country.

The test is offered in both Irish and English and candidates with special requirements can be accommodated.  A Polish voiceover is available for the category BW, AM, C and D test on request.