This post has now been updated and can be read at https://simanndriving.wordpress.com/2021/03/30/preparing-for-the-theory-test-updated
One question I always get asked when I first speak with a student is regarding the best books to get to revise for the Theory Test. There are a multitude of books and DVDs available, so how do I know what to get?
There is a page on my website which details most of the best study aids for the theory test, each image linking through to the relevant page on Amazon.co.uk, but I thought I’d detail the best ones on here to make it simple.
Firstly, there are two books which I would consider absolutely essential, read and understand these two and you’ll pass the theory test with no problems. The first is The Highway Code.
First published in 1931 (check out a digitised copy of the first edition here), The Highway Code has been updated a number of times to reflect various changes on our roads. The latest revision was published in 2007 and costs £2.50 (currently £1.99 on Amazon). It contains various rules and laws for any road users, from pedestrians up to motor vehicle drivers. Any rule which includes the red words “Must” or “Must Not” is a legal requirement and failure to observe can lead to points on the licence, fines and driving bans, some of the most serious leading to a prison sentence. Whilst other rules (identified with the words “Should” “Should not” “Do or “Do not”) are not legal requirements per-se, failure to adhere to these rules could be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts to establish liability.
The Highway Code is also available online for free at https://www.gov.uk/highway-code
The second book is The Official DSA Guide To Driving, The Essential Skills.
Costing £12.99 (currently £8.93 on Amazon), this book gives advice and tips on driving, above and beyond the rules laid out in the Highway Code. Although quite a thick book, The Essential Skills is quite an easy read, broken down into logical sections and is a recommended read for experienced drivers as well as learners.
Between these two books you will gain enough knowledge to pass your theory test, although don’t forget that you aren’t just studying for the test – this knowledge is essential for driving in general.
As an addition to these two books, I highly recommend the series of DVDs published by Focus Multimedia. In particular I’d suggest getting All Tests which covers the Theory Test, the Hazard Perception Test and various aspects of the Practical Test. Currently £7.14 on Amazon, this is readily available in various supermarkets and Staples for about £5-6. It is also available as an online subscription at http://www.simanndriving.co.uk/training/dts/ for up to £10 for a 6 month subscription. Also available are versions for various smartphones at http://theorytestapp.co.uk/ These are very handy for studying wherever you are, but lack some of the more advanced features of the DVD version. If you intend getting the phone apps, I’d suggest you also invest in the DVD.
Using this DVD (or online subscription), you can take mock tests, keeping track of your progress. The software will chart your results over time and details the various subjects within the test so that you can see where your strengths and weaknesses are, allowing you then to focus tests on specific areas.
Don’t forget, however, that the DSA have, over the last couple of years, changed the way that study aids help in your revision. Previously all the questions that you could be asked were published in software such as this DVD as well as various Theory Test Books. This is not the case any more – to prevent people learning by rote, published questions are not identical to those asked in the test. The idea behind this is to ensure students study and understand the subject properly.
Beyond the above three essential products, I would also recommend Know Your Traffic Signs.
This book is currently £3.74 on Amazon, but is also available as a free PDF at http://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/uploads/3/2/9/2/3292309/know-road-traffic-signs.pdf – very handy to download onto your smartphone so you can revise on the go. A short history of road signs and a section on the system used on British roads precedes images of most of the signs you will ever come across. It is clearly laid out and it won’t take long before you understand any road sign you see.
So, for about £15 you can get all the essential material you need to successfully study for your theory test. Read, understand, practice and it’ll be a doddle.