Hawaii Permit Study Guide

Taking the written permit test in Hawaii does not have to be intimidating.  Use this study guide, and take the permit practice test to help you pass the knowledge test.

In order to receive an instruction permit for driving in Hawaii, new drivers must first pass the knowledge.  This short written exam is designed to assess driver’s responsibility and knowledge before hitting the road with a permit. Fortunately, the state of Hawaii offers a free online copy of the Hawaii Driver's Manual as a tool to help prepare for the exam.  The state driving manual is an important resource for learning the rules of the road. The manual contains valuable rules and instruction, and offers details on vehicle operation, road signs and all aspects of driving safely.

About the Test

In the state of Hawaii, the written knowledge exam consists of 30 questions covering the specifics of Hawaii driving laws and identification of road signs. To pass, you will need to score an 80 percent or higher.  The questions are presented in multiple choice format, with 4 answers to choose from.  You may also be required to pass a vision exam before being issued your learner's permit.

What to Study

It is a good idea to read the entire Hawaii Driver's Manual when preparing for the knowledge test.  When reading the manual, there are a few sections you will want to study carefully in order to have the best chances at passing the first time around.  

  • New drivers may first want to review the rules for driving by minors on pages 13-14.

After that, it is important to keep in the mind that the subject matter of the permit test is mostly related to actual driving laws and driving strategies (as well as road signs).  As a result, some of the more administrative chapters on licensing and registration are not as important to study.  Some of the more important chapters include:

  • Chapter V: Traffic Laws, Ordinances, Rules and Regulations – Gives detail on the nuts and bolts of Hawaii traffic laws such as the rules for right-of-way, and when it is OK to pass.
  • Chapter VI: Signals, Signs and Lane Markings – Along with recognizing all the pavement markings and traffic signals in the manual, pay special attention to the traffic signs illustrated on pages 44-49.  Studying the color standards for signs on page 43 will help you identify the meaning of road signs by their shape and color.
  • Chapter IX:  Alcohol and Other Drugs – There will most likely be a few questions concerning the laws and consequences of drinking and driving on the test.
  • Chapter X: Safe Driving Techniques – We know that being a responsible driver involves more than just being able to operate the controls to move the car down the road.  This chapter discusses important concepts such as driving habits, defensive driving, choosing the proper speed, and driving in challenging situations, such as freeways or inclement weather.  Read this chapter thoroughly.
  • Chapter XI: Trucks, Busses and Motorcycles – Learn how to properly share the road with other vehicles, including bicycles and pedestrians.

By studying these sections, you will be better educated on safe driving, traffic laws and road signs. These categories typically comprise the majority of the questions on the written exam.

Another useful resource for test takers is the online practice test.  Taking the Hawaii permit practice test will help you feel comfortable answering questions that are similar in format and content to the actual permit test.

Be sure to keep the above tips and advice in mind as you prepare for your written exam so that you will be able to pass the test the first time you take it and get on the road soon.