What and How to Study for the CDL Permit Test/Exam

By Roehl.Jobs October 18, 2023

What and How to Study for the CDL Permit Test/Exam  Teaser

Truck driving is a rewarding career offering many a promising future. Before you can begin your life as a truck driver, you'll need to obtain your CDL (Commercial Driver's License) Learner’s Permit (CLP). Securing this permit requires passing the CDL permit exam, which is designed to ensure road safety for both truck drivers and other vehicles. To successfully pass the exam, you must showcase a thorough understanding of commercial trucks, how they operate, along with safe driving practices. If you're gearing up for the CDL permit exam, here's what you need to know.

What Is the CDL Permit Exam? What Does the CDL Permit Exam Consist Of?

The CDL permit exam comprises multiple tests, each evaluating different aspects of your knowledge and skills. For most states, you’ll take three tests.

  1. General Knowledge (50 questions)

  2. Air Brakes (25 questions)

  3. Combination Vehicles (20 questions)

General Knowledge

The General Knowledge test is considered the most extensive section of the exam, encompassing fundamental, commercial vehicle-related knowledge. This segment assesses your understanding of a wide array of topics, such as vehicle inspections, driving in diverse weather conditions, essential vehicle controls including braking and shifting, adherence to mileage limits, mandatory rest break regulations, cargo securing procedures, appropriate actions in the event of an accident, emergency protocols, and crucial safety measures.

Air Brakes

The Air Brakes test focuses on the braking systems and their application in commercial vehicles. It assesses the test taker’s knowledge of the maintenance schedule and procedures, understanding of the system's functionality, and familiarity with the various components of the air brake system, along with their respective functions.

Combination Vehicles

The Combination Vehicles exam section will test your knowledge of various procedures as they relate to combination vehicles. Combination vehicles are different from a straight truck; a combination vehicle has one or more trailers connected to the vehicle. You'll need to have a thorough understanding of how to inspect combination vehicles, how to un/couple trailers, how to turn, how to brake, procedures for backing, and what situations constitute a dangerous driving situation.

Some states may have additional requirements or even some questions that are specific to a state. For example, Texas has a Texas Commercial Rules test.

What to Study

  1. Study Your State’s Commercial Driver’s License Manual. All of the test questions on the written exam are taken from topics covered in this manual. Standard topics you’ll encounter include vehicle inspection, communicating with other drivers, speed and space control, the dangers of distracted driving, shifting gears, railroad crossings, braking, night-time driving, accident procedures, etc.

  2. Use Free Resources from Roehl. Use Roehl's Free CDL Practice Tests . Take the practice tests several times to become familiar with the way questions are structured and written.

How to Study

Vary the way you study for the test to ensure that when you take it, you're comfortable with the material and confident in your answers. Everyone responds to different methods of studying, so you can choose the study techniques that work best for you.

Use Flash Cards. You can make your own flash cards, or use an online source for virtual flashcards on the topics that most interest you. Quizlet is a good source for online flashcards. Keep in mind that any time you're using an online source for flashcards, they likely will not provide state-specific rules and regulations that you're likely to see on the test. For this information, you'll have to make your own flash cards.

Take Notes. Take notes on the material that you're studying, then review those notes periodically. These notes are like your own personal study guide. Highlight the parts that are most important to you, or parts that you have the hardest time remembering.

Study with Others, Study Alone. Studying with others can be motivating and fun, and can help you feel like you're not alone with issues that you struggle to learn. At the same time, most people also need time to study alone. Lone study sessions should focus on topics that you find especially challenging. When you're studying alone, you can control the pace and dig in deeper on topics as needed.

Mimic Test Conditions When Taking Practice Tests. Take practice tests under the same conditions as you would during your real test. Sit in a quiet room, turn off your phone or leave it in a completely different room. Set a timer.

Study Tips

  • Create a Study Schedule. Create a study schedule, setting aside a specific time each day (or, every other day) for studying. Break down all the material you plan to cover into segments, and schedule each segment for a specific day, to ensure that you're able to review all the required material. Don't wait till the last minute to begin studying. In fact, you can start studying well before you've even scheduled the exam. The more time you give yourself, the better.

  • Avoid Distractions During Study Sessions. Set aside your phone when you're studying. Study in a quiet room, free of distractions, with adequate lighting.

  • Keep Study Sessions Manageable. Plan to study for about 45 to 50 minutes at a time, or if you must study for longer, give yourself a 5 to 10 minute break sometime during your session.

Tips for Taking the Test

When the day of the test arrives, relax! You've worked hard for this moment. These tips can help you get through the test:

  • Review All the Material One More Time the Day Before. The day before your test, go over the material that you've been studying one more time. Then, at the end of the day, put away your study materials and let yourself relax.

  • Show Up Ready to Test. Get plenty of sleep the night before the test. Eat a good breakfast. Clear your schedule for the day to ensure that you'll show up free from distractions and ready to think about nothing but the test.

  • Read Test Questions Carefully. Once you're sitting for the test, read the test questions carefully. Don't overthink your answers.

Find the Right CDL Training or Truck Driving School

The CDL training program you choose can make all the difference. Not every trucking school is invested in your success, and even the ones that are may not adequately prepare you for your CDL test. Make sure the programs you consider are meeting the Entry-Level Driver Training Requirements (ELDT) ; Roehl is a registered training provider on the Training Provider Registry (TPR) and Roehl’s Get Your CDL program has a very high CDL exam pass rate. Roehl Transport is one of the safest and most successful trucking companies in North America . We have more than 30 years of success training new truck drivers, and remember, we'll pay you as you're training to get your CDL .

Ready to get started? Read our “6 Steps to Getting Your CDL” and apply today ! Include the apply now button code.


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This page was last updated on 10/17/2023