The Most Important Test Day Tips to Pass Your CDL Exam

"Finished Testing" sign at DMV for CDL testers

Test day has arrived, and you probably have a little anxiety. Passing the written CDL exam and getting your Commercial Learner’s Permit are the first steps towards becoming a truck driver.  That’s why we’re providing the top tips, so you can feel ready and confident that you can (and will) pass the written CDL exam.

Before the CDL Exam

  • Be aware of any fees and documents that you need to bring with you on test day. This is different from state to state so make sure you grab what you need before making the trip to take the exam. Most likely you will need two forms of Identification. Some states require a valid Medical Examination Report and Medical Examiner’s Certificate. Make a checklist to make sure everything goes smoothly.
  • Get a good night’s rest. Your studying should be done by now, and you’re not likely to retain any information that you cram into your brain at 4:00 AM. Passing the written CDL exam requires your full attention, so you want to be well-rested on test day. You will be at the testing facility for several hours.
    Man with earplugs
    Ear plugs can save you from a noisy test center.
  • Eat a good nutritious meal before taking your exam. Do not drink too much caffeine or overdo it on the nicotine. You do not want to “crash” while taking the test.
  • Bring ear plugs in case the facility is noisy. You want this to go as smoothly as possible. Concentration is key! If you bring ear plugs and don’t need them, then it’s no loss. But if the facility is noisy and distracting, you may not pass the CDL exam.
  • Dress comfortably. Prepare yourself if the facility is either too cold or too warm. A chilly room can interrupt your concentration and take away from the time that is needed to take the exam.
  • Be patient. If you have to wait a little while at the facility to take your exam, this is a great time to look over any material that you are unsure about or need more practice on. At this point, you should feel confident that you’ll pass, but it is ok to look over the manual to make sure your mind is ready.

During the CDL Exam

  • Once you have studied and gotten your test placed in front of you, make sure to only focus on the test. Do not be distracted! Even though there are no trick questions, read each question and answer carefully.
  • Do not rush. Even though time is a factor, you don’t want to time limits to affect your concentration. Answer each questions to the best of your abilities.
  • Confidence is important. Nerves can cause you to make errors. If you prepared accordingly, then you are on the road to passing this exam with little-to- no problems.

After the CDL Exam

  • You can breathe a sigh of relief because you have made it through one test. Now you have to get ready for your next test. Decompress for a bit. We recommend that you take the general knowledge test, the air brakes test, and all the endorsement exams.
  • If you pass the tests, depending on what state you live in, you may receive your CLP (Commercial Learner’s Permit) the same day or the facility may mail it to you. Congratulations!
  • If you fail the test, you may have to wait a certain period of time before retaking the test and you may have to pay an additional fee. The good news is that you can take it again. The waiting period depends on what state you reside in.

If you pass on your first try or had to try several times, remember that quality is always better than quantity. Keep at it until you know you are ready. Good luck!


About The Author
Contributor: Sade Turner (Logistics for 5+ years and technical writer).