Iowa Permit Study Guide

Taking the MVD permit test in Iowa does not have to be intimidating.  Using this study guide, and taking the permit practice test will help make the process easy.

If you wish to obtain your Iowa driver's license, you will need to begin by obtaining your learner's permit.  You will need to take a knowledge exam before you will be granted your permit.  Those who want to have the best chance of success on the knowledge exam should take the time to study the official Iowa Driver's License Manual. Doing so is the best way to review important material that will most likely be on the exam.

Exam Specifications

The state of Iowa is unique in that its driving knowledge exams can vary in content and length. Each individual testing facility may have different copies and questions on the exam itself. However, all questions are multiple choice and most exams are around 35 questions long, and a passing grade in Iowa is an 80 percent score; it is possible to retake the exam if not passed the first time around.

Most of the questions on the Iowa driving knowledge exam are related to state traffic laws, driver's safety and road signs. Therefore, these are the most important parts of the manual to study for the exam.

Important Sections to Study

The entire Iowa Driver's License Manual spans nearly 60 pages long, so it is wise to pick and choose the most important parts to study that will most likely be covered on the exam itself.  The permit test covers all the traffic laws in Iowa as well as safe driving strategies. 

Therefore Section 1, for example, is not as relevant, as it is mostly administrative information.  The exception is that you should know the rules and restrictions of the graduated license, instruction permit, minor’s restricted license and the minor’s school license on pages 6, 8 and 9.

By focusing your studies on these three main sections of the manual, you will have a better chance of passing the exam on the first try.

Section 2: Traffic Signs and Rules of the Road provides the nuts and bolts of Iowa driving laws that you should understand.  Pay special attention to the road signs and markings on pages 13-18, as these will be tested.  You should be able to recognize the meaning of signs by their shape and color.

Section 3: Safe Driving Tips provides good information on how to handle a variety of driving situations.  Study these.

Section 5: Be in Shape to Drive.  You can expect questions on the test concerning the information on driving while impaired on page 50.

Also take a look at the Self-help Review on page 52 for the kind of information the test will be asking about.  You can also take a Iowa permit practice test to help familiarize yourself with the structure and content of the questions.