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Learner Permit Information

Learner Permit general information
Categories of motor vehicles and minimum age of drivers
Driver Theory Test
Learner driving permits for cars and work vehicles
Learner driving permits for motorcycles in Ireland
Learner driving permits for buses and trucks
Learner driving permits for trailers
Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged driving licence or learner permit
Disabilities requiring a medical report for a driving licence

Driving Test Information


Driver Theory Test

Driver Theory Test


A driver theory test was introduced in Ireland in 2001 to supplement the practical driving test. A motorist must pass the driver theory test before applying for a first learner permit (formerly called a provisional licence). Prior to this, motorists in Ireland were not required to undergo a test of their knowledge of either the rules of the road or motoring legislation in Ireland before they applied for a driving licence, or completed their driving test.

EU legislation governing this area now requires that citizens undergo a practical test of their knowledge of the rules of the road and motoring legislation.

Your theory test will check your knowledge about areas such as:

  • The rules of the road
  • Risk perception
  • Eco-driving
  • Hazard awareness and
  • Good driving behaviour.

The test is conducted at a nation-wide network of 41 test locations and uses a user-friendly computerised system. The Driver Theory Testing Service is operated on a basis similar to the basis on which the National Car Test (NCT) is run. The test can be offered in Irish and in English and candidates with special needs are catered for.

A theory test certificate must be obtained before a first learner permit  in a particular vehicle category is granted.

The Test

There are four classes of test:

  • Motorcycles and mopeds (Licence Category A, M),
  • Cars, tractors and work vehicles (Licence Categories B, W)
  • Heavy goods vehicles (Licence Category C)
  • Buses (Licence Category D).

There are 40 questions in the test and candidates have to answer 35 questions correctly to be successful. You have 45 minutes to answer the 40 questions in the test.

The test is a computerised test taken using either a touch screen or a mouse and keyboard. A practice session can be undertaken before you take the actual test so that you can get used to the system. You don't need to be computer literate in any way.

If you have any difficulty with reading, there is a 'voice over' option that will read out the questions to you. Appropriate pictures or colours will indicate the different answers on the screen and you select your answer by touching the picture or colour.

If you wish to complete your test through Irish, this can be facilitated at your test centre and during your test.

If you make a mistake or change your mind, you can cancel your answer. If you want to skip a question, you can come back and answer it at the end of your test. At the end of the test, you can review all your answers and if you wish, change them.

The test is scored automatically and results are made available to you immediately. You will receive a pass certificate for your theory test at the test centre.

Categories of Vehicles and Theory Tests

If you are applying for a first learner permit, you must sit the approriate theory test for vehicle categories A and M, or B and W. If you are sucessful, you are then entitled to apply for a learner permit for category A1, A, M, B or W as appropriate (depending on your age). If you go on to pass your (car) driving test (category B), then you are entitled to apply for an EB learner permit without being required to complete the theory test again, providing your theory test certificate has not expired.

If you wish to apply for a truck driving licence, you must sit the category C driver theory test. This will entitle you to apply for a learner permit in categories C1 or C. If you wish to apply for a bus driving licence (category D), you must complete the category D theory test. Read more about categories of vehicles and driving licences here.

Test Questions

The questions you will be asked in your driver theory test are based on the Rules of the Road and current road traffic legislation in Ireland. The Driver Theory Testing Service has a bank of questions. For each test, a random selection of 40 questions will be used from the question bank. This means for example that if you fail the test and have to re-sit, it is unlikely you will be asked the same questions again.  Since 21 October 2006 new test questions have been added to the question bank to reflect recent legal changes, such as, the expansion of the penalty points system, introduction of the LUAS, expansion of the motorway network, etc. 

Test materials

The full list of test questions and answers are available in book and CD-ROM formats. They are available from bookshops throughout the country, by phone and online from the Driver Theory Testing Service (Locall 1890 606 106). This material is not free (€17.99 for the book or the CD-ROM). Some public libraries in Ireland also stock this material. Contact your local public library to see if you can borrow these items.

At present, there is no official online driver test service where you can practice the test, view sample questions or check your knowledge. Queries/comments regarding the driver theory test materials and their unavailability online should be made directly to the Driver Theory Test Service by telephone at 1890 606 106 (Lo-call rate). Alternatively, you can write to the Driver Theory Test Service about this issue at the address under 'Where to apply'.

Minimum age and driver theory test

There are specific minimum ages at which you may hold a learner permit for certain vehicles in Ireland. For example, drivers of Category A1 vehicles (i.e., certain motorcycles) must be at least 16 years old to obtain a provisional licence. Drivers of Category B vehicles (i.e., certain cars) must be at least 17 years to hold a first provisional licence.

In theory, you may take a driver theory test at any age. However, you must submit your pass certificate to your local Motor Taxation Office with your application for a first learner permit within two years of passing the theory test. So for example, if you wish to apply for a learner permit for Category B vehicles, you must be at least 15 years or older and have passed your driver theory test in order to obtain a first learner permit when you reach 17 years.

Failing to submit your test certificate to your Motor Tax office within 2 years of passing your test will mean the certificate expires. This means you will have to do your test again. There is no maximum age at which you can complete a driver theory test.

Complaints procedures

If you are unhappy with the result of your theory test, you have the right to appeal this decision. Speak to the Driver Theory Test supervisor before leaving the test centre. You may also fill out an appeal form, available at each of the Driver Theory Test Centres. Your application form requests that your test is re-marked. There are some rules regarding appeals; You must;

  • Make your appeal within ten working days of your test
  • Enclose a further €35.60 fee.

When your appeal is received, your test will be re-marked and you will receive the result within five working days. Your test will not be re-marked by staff in the test centre where you conducted your test. Instead, the Theory Test Centre head office will review your test and conduct the re-marking.

If it emerges that the original marking was incorrect your fee will be refunded and your theory test certificate will be issued. You can read more about the Driver Theory Test Customer Charter here.


Anyone who applies for a first learner permit has to do the theory test.

Anyone who applied for a first provisional licence between 25 April and 10 June 2001 and passed the practical driving test must also pass the theory test before they can get a full driving licence.

You must bring with you a valid form of identification (i.e., passport, student ID card, travel card, etc. that has your photograph and name on it).

Replacing a lost driver theory test certificate

If you have lost or misplaced your driver theory test certificate, you can obtain a duplicate copy. Simply write to the Driver Theory Testing Service (see 'Where to apply' below) to request a duplicate certificate.

You cannot request a duplicate certificate over the telephone. Your request in writing must include your name,address,date of birth and PPS Number along with a €15 fee, so your record can be identified. This fee must be included as a cheque, postal order or bank draft made out to Prometric Ireland Limited. (Do not send cash).


Driver theory tests cost €35.60.

If you wish to appeal the decision of a Driver Theory Test, there is an additional charge of €35.60. This fee will be refunded to you if your appeal is successful.

A duplicate driver theory test certificate costs €15.

How to apply

Apply and pay for your driver theory test online. It is also possible to download and complete an application form for a driver theory test (pdf) here.

You can also book a test by telephoning the call centre below. You will be asked for your PPS Number (formerly known as your RSI number) so remember to have this to hand. If you have a credit/laser card, you can apply and pay for your test over the telephone. Alternatively, you can telephone and request an application form by post. Your completed application form together with the €35.60 fee should be forwarded to the address below.

When your application has been received, you will receive notification of the date, location and time of your test in advance. It is possible to re-schedule or cancel a theory test online or you can contact the call centre below to do so.

When you arrive at your test centre, all your documentation will be checked. You must remember to bring with you some form of identification (i.e., a passport, a student identity card, or any other authorised identity issued by the State or a bank (as long as they have a photograph attached). You will then be taken to a work station to complete the test.

Where To Apply

Driver Theory Test

P.O. Box 788
County: Cork
Country: IRELAND
Locall: 1890 606 106 Monday-Friday 8.00am-6.00pm.
Wheelchair Access:  

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