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Taking your theory test with dyslexia

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

April 17, 2019

Driving test Learning to drive 4 min read

When learning to drive, there are two big tests to take – the practical test which measures your ability to drive, and the theory test which determines your knowledge around the rules of the road. Whilst both take a lot of time to learn and master, some people can struggle particularly with the theory test because of the way it is taken. If you have reading difficulties, for example are dyslexic, then sitting, reading and answering questions on a computer can prove difficult, even if you know all of the answers. Luckily, there are special requirements that can be made.

The following can be requested before taking your theory test, should you need additional help. You can either decide which you would like, otherwise you may be suggested which special requirement would work best for you.

via GIPHY

Voice over assisted tests

These are a common help for those cannot read or understand written English very well.

The voice over lets your hear the theory test instructions, questions and multiple answers on headphones provided. The question is read out automatically and you can click on the possible answers to hear these too.

Voice overs are available in English, Welsh or British Sign Language.

Extra time

If you have dyslexia, it’s likely you’ll need extra time on the theory test and this is something that you can request. It’s important to remember that extra time is only for the multiple choice part of the test and not the hazard perception.

Can I have someone with me when I take my theory test?

Yes – you can also request to have someone read what is on the screen to you, and to record your answers.

What if I don’t understand the question?

If allowed, you can request to have someone reword the questions and answers for you. It may not make sense straight away how it’s written on the screen, but having it reworded can really help!

To qualify for the additional help, you must provide proof of your reading difficulty from either a teacher or other educational professional, or from a doctor or medical professional, to the theory test customer services.

How do I access the special requirements?

When booking your theory test, you should let the DVSA know. This will allow any reasonable adjustments to be made. They will also select the best type of support for you, unless you state what you’d prefer.

What do young people want?

We asked David, a young driver with dyslexia, how he feels about the theory test, after struggling to pass.

“Struggling with the theory test has really impacted my confidence – I struggle with academic subjects at school, especially ones that involve lots of reading and the theory test is no different. I find it hard to read the questions, and often end up rushing and guessing the answers! I’ve failed it three times so far which is a little disappointing. My mum has bought a car that I want to drive so I can see my girlfriend more often, but I can’t do this without passing the theory test first! I’m going to take on some additional help and hopefully pass next time – I can’t wait to drive on my own and not have to rely on lifts anymore.”

via GIPHY

If you’re looking to contact the theory test customer service team for those additional requirements, or for more information, you can call them on 0300 200 1122 or email [email protected]

If you have a requirement that is not met by the facilities above, you should contact the DVSA to explain your needs – they will be able to tell you other options that may be able to help you.

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Chloe Martell profile

By Chloe Martell

'As a new driver, I'm so eager to share my driving journey with you all - from when I was a learner, going through my test and all the aspects of my driving life now, including my love of cars!'  See more posts by Chloe

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