How To Study Drivers Handbook

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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How To Study Drivers Handbook

For good reasons, every study guide for the written test will tell you to study the driver’s manual. Many local DMVs have online or physical copies available for free, making studying for this important exam easier and more accessible to a wide range of test takers. Your state driver’s manuals will likely provide a wealth of information. In fact, most of what you need to know for your permit test will be in the manual. Below is a how-to-guide for studying your driver’s manual that will make your studying experience easier and more efficient.

REMEMBER: Studying for your permit test will require more of you than just “reading” the manual. You should complete multiple practice tests on our website and/or attend a driver’s education course as well.


Much of what you read in your local driver’s manual will be laws you already knew or facts you could use common sense to figure out. However, there are some small details that are easy to miss. You should plan to read your driver’s manual, at least twice. On your first read, make minimal notes and pay attention to which laws you don’t know and what information you will have to learn more thoroughly.


You will want to write down or highlight specific passages in your driver’s manual that mention speed limits for specific areas, traffic fines, approved distances for parking, blood alcohol content levels and traffic punishments. Highlighting these specific passages will give you nice short excerpts to review on subsequent read-throughs. You’ll be particularly thankfully to have those excerpts when you need to refresh your memory the night before your permit test. If you have the time and note cards, write these facts and numbers on study note cards. You can use these note cards for a quick study session throughout your day. 


Usually, the traffic signs are all listed in the same area of the driver’s manual. Figure out a way that makes sense to you to distinguish the informational signs from the warning signs from the prohibitive or regulatory signs. Bookmark the pages where the signs are located so you can easily access them on subsequent study sessions, and draw the signs on a separate piece of paper or on flash cards. Your goal with studying the traffic signs is to develop a method that will help you remember these traffic signs effectively.


The rules of the road are important to know for your permit test, but also for your safety. Come up with ways that make sense to you to remember these rules. Use numbers, rhymes, mnemonics and other memory tactics to help make remembering the rules of the road easier. As you read about the various rules of the road, try to visualize each road rule and imagine situations in which these rules were broken. By actively thinking about these traffic rules, you are avoiding passively learning, and you are increasing your chances of remembering this very important information.

permit test study guide

  1. Try to schedule to take the test earlier in the dayTaking the test in the beginning of the day will allow you to have more energy and to get it over with sooner, rather than later.
  2. Be observant when driving with family or friendsThe test questions revolve around good driving habits. Make sure to pay attention to how your family or friends react in different situations, as well as other drivers. By doing this, it will help you visualize each question during the test.
  3. Review the official DMV handbookThe official DMV handbook has all the answers you need, and is where all the test questions come from. From specific numbers and information, to traffic signs, make sure to review these directly from the handbook.
  4. Get your sleep the night beforeGetting a sufficient amount of sleep will help your body and mind function at its greatest potential. Make sure you feel 100% going into your test with 7-9 hours of sleep the night before.
  5. Hydrate and fuelDrink enough water and have a healthy meal for breakfast on the day of your test. Research shows that eating a hearty breakfast results in better exam performance, due to the nutrients delivered to the brain.
  6. Fully read each question thoroughlyWhile you go through the test, make sure you read each question thoroughly. The DMV test questions are straightforward, and making sure to read the entire question will help you choose the best answer.
  7. Use multiple choice test strategies and tipsUtilize multiple choice test strategies, such as eliminating all but two answers and making an educated guess, sticking to your first guess, and answering the questions you know first.
  8. Stay relaxed during the testStress is natural in a testing environment. Make sure to relax yourself during the test, that so you can make the best decisions possible without distraction.

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