Passing the Exam

It can get extremely stressful when it comes to passing your truck driving exam. There are two parts to the exam, the first part is the written test and the second part is your actual road test.

Written Exam

When preparing for your written exam it is a good thing to spend lots of time reading through your provincial drivers manual. The nice thing about these manuals is that after each different section they have a page that gives you the key points to remember which are the major things that you should learn about operating a tractor trailer, and most likely will be on the test.

It’s also a good idea to go online where you can find plenty of sites that will have practice tests, the tests might be more aimed at American tests but most of the tests have some relevance to the provincial test. The biggest thing is not to let the amount of information that you read and study through overwhelm you.

Most of the questions on the test are pretty straightforward. Chances are there will be a few questions about distance and measurements but the thing to remember is that in most provinces the test is a multiple choice. The key is to read over each question carefully and read over each of the answers and pick the one that makes the most sense. There is no time limit when it comes to how long it takes to do the written part of the exam so it’s easy to take the advice of taking things slow and making sure that your answers make sense.

written exam

Road Sign Test

In most provinces the written exam will include a sign test, which has 20 road signs on it, which is multiple-choice, where you match the answer that best describes what sign it is.

There is also a written test, which consists of 20 multiple-choice questions. Most provinces require a person to get 16 questions correct to pass the test.

Air Brake / Z Endorsement

The same holds true for the test you do for the Air brake/Z endorsement in most provinces it is a 20 question multiple-choice test, which you must have at least 16 of the answers correct to pass.

Most schools teach the Air brake endorsement class on site during your schooling. It takes one day to complete in which there is a ton of information covered and it is a lot to take in over a short period of time. It’s a good idea to get your provincial air brakes manual ahead of time and read through it so that the information overload is lessened and the info taught that day will be easier to grasp.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there isn’t something that you don’t understand, it is the instructor’s job to make sure everyone understands the information that is taught during the course of the day. The biggest thing to remember is to stay relaxed and calm during the test and try not to stress out – if one question is stumping you, pass on it and go to the next one.

The reason for this is that there could be a question later in the test that kicks your brain into gear to remember the answer for an earlier question. Just like the other two written tests there isn’t a time limit on the test, so like mentioned earlier take all the time you need, read over each question carefully and make sure after your finished your test that you read over your answers to make sure that they make the most sense to you.

Road Test

Once you’ve passed all your written tests, it’s time to focus all your attention to learning how to drive the truck. If one isn’t familiar with a manual transmission it can be a difficult skill to master and learn. Like everything else, some can master learning how to shift easier than others. Shifting can be the biggest obstacle for some when it comes time to pass the road test, a helpful hint – shifting gears while making a turn in an intersection on the road test is an automatic fail.

The key thing is not to let the information overload of what you’ve learned during your in-truck sessions overwhelm you, most instructors treat your last week of in-truck tests as a mock road test and some even use some of the road test routes that the provincial examiners use during the test. Your instructor will also point out what area is your weak point and then will take your time going through your weaknesses to help you improve so that you’re ready to hopefully master it over the course of the test.

When it comes to the day of your road test make sure you go into it with a good attitude. Having the feeling of confidence in your ability is a huge asset when it comes to what an examiner looks for during the test. Remember, if you make a mistake don’t get angry or frustrated, and don’t let it get to you because it will cause the rest of your performance during the test to suffer and possibly lead to a failed test.

driving test

Pre-trip Inspection

The first step you will need to do on the road test is a pre-trip inspection, do it just like you have during your on the road sessions during your schooling as your instructor will have taught you to do a systematic pre-trip. Not only is it a good idea for the road test but also once you’re out on your own it’s a good way to insure that your pre trips are consistent and that you are not missing things on it. The worst thing you can do during the pre-trip portion of the exam is to not follow a prescribed system and jump from item to item as it shows the examiner that you don’t know how to do a competent pre-trip inspection.

The best tip for doing a pre-trip inspection is to start on the driver’s side of the vehicle and work your way to the passenger’s side of the vehicle and making sure you’re telling the examiner what exactly it is that you are inspecting.

Do the same thing when it comes to your in-cab inspection, describe to the examiner what exactly it is that you’re inspecting as you go through all the in-cab items that you’re examining. Remember the biggest thing during your pre-trip portion of the exam is communicating to the examiner what it is that you are doing. Not communicating what you are doing is the best way to fail your road test.

Once you’re done the pre-trip portion of the test it’s time to get on the road. One of the most important parts that the examiner is looking for is that you can show that you can competently maneuver the truck and trailer safely through traffic while out on the test.

Remember to check your mirrors often during the test and to stay calm. If you make a mistake don’t show your frustration, like I mentioned earlier, don’t let it get to you. If you miss a shift don’t let it stress you out, stay calm and find the gear you need and keep on driving.

One tip, during your in-truck sessions, your instructor will have most likely drilled into your head that when you come to an intersection with a traffic light and you have to make a left turn do not go beyond the crosswalk line on your side of the intersection until the car in front of you has cleared the intersection. Entering the intersection while the vehicle in front of you is still in the intersection is an automatic fail.

Most examiners will have you do the alley backing up part of the test at the end of the road test. Be cognizant of your setup. Remember what you learned in your in-truck sessions during school. Chances are your instructor will have taught you multiple ways to set up and it is up to you to use the one that you were more comfortable with.

Some examiners will have cones set up to back up between, and some, like the one that I had will have objects that you have to back between. Don’t rush the backing up. If you are not sure how close your trailer is to hitting an object or cone get out and look. Hitting a cone or object that outlines the alley dock also results in a failed test. Keep track of where the front of your truck is while backing into your spot, a front tire rub on an object or a cone counts as a fail as well.

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