California Permit Study Guide

Taking the DMV permit test in Calidornia does not have to be intimidating.  Using this study guide and taking the permit practice test will help to ease the process.

To study for your written permit test, it is important to thoroughly read the California DMV Driver Handbook. All the information on the test is covered in the handbook.  Read it carefully and reread any section about which you are not completely clear.

The test will cover information from the entire handbook.  However there are certain sections that you may want to give special attention.  Much of the Handbook is devoted to administrative details such as licensing which are not likely to be found on the written test.  The permit test focuses mainly on driving laws and actual driving situations.  Therefore, you will want to focus on the sections of the handbook that relate to the driving process:

  • The permit test may include questions about permit restrictions and requirements for new drivers.  Study the Special Section on Minors starting on page 10 in the handbook for details.  
  • The written test usually contains questions asking you to identify road signs, so study the section on Traffic Controls beginning on page 23 carefully.
  • Laws and Rules of the Road on page 30 covers the nuts and bolts of California traffic laws that you will need to know.
  • Lane Control (page 39) and Turns (page 43) discusses how to maneuver your vehicle properly.
  • The chapter on Safe Driving Practices covers important concepts for driving proactively, starting on page 53.
  • Good driving entails much more than just steering your vehicle down the road.  The Section on Vehicle Positioning (page 56) discusses strategies that are vital for safe driving.
  • Sharing the Road, starting on page 59, gives pointers for how to drive around, large trucks, busses, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
  • Since not all driving occurs in sunny dry conditions with no traffic, new drivers should understand the concepts presented in the chapters on Special Driving Situations (page 68) and Handling Emergencies (page 75).
  • Finally, count on seeing question on the test that ask about the rules and consequences of driving while intoxicated, found in the section Alcohol and Drugs that starts on page 81.

Since you are studying for the permit test, you should be familiar with any rules concerning teen driving.  The table of contents in the handbook has conveniently highlighted any sections that relate to underage drivers with brown text. Study these sections carefully.  However be aware that questions on the permit test may come from any part of the Driver Handbook.

It is also a good idea to take the online practice test to help you prepare.  It contains questions similar in content to the actual California permit test, and will build your confidence by practicing with the format of the test.