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Knowledge Tests

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Each person applying for a Class P commercial or noncommercial instruction permit for Class A, B, C, or M driver’s license shall pay the applicable license fee prior to attempting the knowledge test for the instruction permit sought. If said person fails to achieve a passing score on the knowledge test, the license fee paid shall be considered a testing fee and retained by the department. Any person failing to achieve a passing score on the knowledge test for an instructional permit shall pay the applicable license fee on each subsequent attempt until successful, at which time the fee shall be his or her license fee.

You will have to take one or more knowledge tests, depending on what class of license and what endorsements you need. To qualify for a license class, a person must obtain a passing score on all knowledge tests required for that class. The CDL knowledge tests are all multiple-choice and include:

  • The general knowledge test, taken by all applicants.
  • The passenger transport test, taken by all bus driver applicants. The passenger transport skills test must be taken and passed by all applicants in order to obtain this endorsement.
  • The air brakes test, which you must take if your vehicle has air brakes, including air over hydraulic brakes.
  • The combination vehicles test, which is required if you want to drive combination vehicles.
  • The hazardous materials test, required if you want to haul hazardous materials as defined in 49 CFR 383.5. In order to obtain this endorsement you are also required to pass a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check (go to for additional information).
  • The tanker test required if you want to haul a liquid or liquid gas in a permanently mounted cargo tank rated at 119 gallons or more or a portable tank rated at 1,000 gallons or more.
  • The doubles/triples test, required if you want to pull double or triple trailers.
  • The School Bus test required if you want to drive a school bus. The school bus skills test must be taken and passed by all applicants in order to obtain this endorsement.

The passing score for all knowledge tests is 80%.

With the exception of adding the Passenger (P) endorsement or the School Bus (S) endorsement, a driver who already has the required license class may add the endorsement(s) after passing written tests requisite to the endorsement(s) being applied for. To obtain a Passenger (P) or School Bus (S) endorsement, the driver must pass both CDL knowledge and skills tests.

If you do not have the license class required for an endorsement but are seeking that class while also seeking the endorsement, the endorsement is only granted if the knowledge test for the endorsement is passed and all other requirements for the license class also are met.

If you fail an endorsement test, but have otherwise passed the knowledge tests for the license class, you can still take the applicable skills tests. If you pass the skills tests, you should be given the appropriate license, but without the endorsement. You can then retake the endorsement test later without further skills testing except for obtaining a P or S endorsement (P and S endorsements require a skills test be performed in a bus).

Upon request the examiner will provide you with your score for each knowledge test taken. All test material is derived from the CDL Drivers Manual.

After you have passed the knowledge test(s) for a license class, you then must pass the skill tests. No class of CDL or CDL upgrade is granted solely on the basis of passing the knowledge tests. If a driver fails one or more of the knowledge tests required for a license class, you must retake and pass the failed test(s) before taking the skills tests. The retest waiting period is:

  • 1st failure – one day
  • 2nd failure – one week
  • 3rd failure – one week
  • 4th and subsequent failures – one week

Current active Duty Military, Guard and Reserve members or military personnel that have not been out of the military more than ninety (90) days can apply for a Military Skill Test Waiver. Please visit the DDS website at to download the Military Skills Test Waiver application.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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