Found this useful? Help PuedoManejar.com help more drivers like you:

Is the Permit Test Hard?

ATTENTION!

Taking care of a task for your driver's license or vehicle? Be prepared to satisfy any auto insurance requirements.

Please enter your ZIP to get your insurance quote.

The DMV permit test is the first step towards getting a new license. 

And, it may be harder that you think – especially if you’re not prepared.

We’ll break down just how hard you can expect the permit test to be.

When Do You Take the Written Test?


You’ll need to take and pass your state’s written test when you:

Permit Test Topics

Everything you need to know in order to pass the written test is found in your state’s driver handbook. You’ll be tested on:

  • Rules of the road.
  • Driving safety.
  • Driving emergencies.
  • Traffic laws and violations. 
  • Road signs, traffic signals and lane markings. 

Written Test Format

Written tests take the format of either multiple choice or true/false options.

You’ll either take your test on a computer and receive your scores instantly or take it on paper and receive your score shortly after the DMV exam proctor grades it. 

Some states are even starting to allow new drivers to take the permit test online at home.

How Many Times Do Most People Fail the Written Test?

Pass/fail rates on the permit test vary around the country and even within each state, but typically range from about 30% to 60%.

Yup, 30-60% of first-time test takers fail the permit test on their first try!

Luckily, failing once is usually all it takes to get more serious about studying.

Luckily, you don’t have to become another statistic.

Be sure to spend some time preparing for the written test by:

  • Studying the driver’s handbook for your state. 
  • Taking some practice tests.
  • Studying the road signs and traffic signals. 

You can find some more tips for passing the written test here. 

Be sure to take some driver’s license practice tests and DMV permit practice tests so you can ace the real thing.

How Many Times Can You Fail?

In most states, you’ll have up to 3 chances to pass your permit test.

After that, you’ll typically need to start a new application and begin the process again.

Written Test Questions & Passing Scores

The table below shows a comparison of each state’s written test in terms of total number of questions and passing scores. 

StateNumber of QuestionsPassing ScoreCorrect Answers Needed
Alabama3080%24
Alaska2080%16
Arizona3080%24
Arkansas2580%20
California46 (under 18) or 36 (over 18)82% or 77%38 (under 18) or 28 (over 18)
Colorado2580%20
Connecticut2580%20
Delaware2576%19
Florida5080%40
Georgia4075%30
Hawaii3080%24
Idaho4085%34
Illinois3580%28
Indiana5084%42
Iowa3580%28
Kansas2580%20
Kentucky4080%32
Louisiana4080%32
Maine3080%24
Maryland2588%22
Massachusetts2572%18
Michigan5080%40
Minnesota4080%32
Mississippi3080%24
Missouri2580%20
Montana3382%27
Nebraska2580%20
Nevada5080%40
New Hampshire4080%32
New Jersey5080%40
New Mexico2572%18
New York2070%14
North Carolina2580%20
North Dakota2580%20
Ohio4075%30
Oklahoma5080%40
Oregon3580%28
Pennsylvania1883%15
Rhode Island2580%20
South Carolina3080%24
South Dakota2580%20
Tennessee3080%24
Texas3070%21
Utah5080%40
Vermont2080%16
Virginia3080%24
Washington4080%32
West Virginia2576%19
Wisconsin5080%40
Wyoming2576%19
Washington DC3080%24

Source: State Driver’s Licensing Agencies

How Many Questions Can You Miss on the Permit Test?

Depending on your state, you can get anywhere from 4-10 questions wrong and still pass your permit test.

After you take the test and turn it in, you’ll be able to see exactly which questions you missed.

If you didn’t pass, be sure to spend some extra time studying those topics.

StatePassing ScoreWrong Answers Allowed
Alabama80%6
Alaska80%4
Arizona80%6
Arkansas80%5
California82% or 77%8
Colorado80%5
Connecticut80%5
Delaware76%6
Florida80%10
Georgia75%10
Hawaii80%6
Idaho85%6
Illinois80%7
Indiana84%8
Iowa80%7
Kansas80%5
Kentucky80%8
Louisiana80%8
Maine80%6
Maryland88%3
Massachusetts72%7
Michigan80%10
Minnesota80%8
Mississippi80%6
Missouri80%5
Montana82%6
Nebraska80%5
Nevada80%10
New Hampshire80%8
New Jersey80%10
New Mexico72%7
New York70%6
North Carolina80%5
North Dakota80%5
Ohio75%10
Oklahoma80%10
Oregon80%7
Pennsylvania83%3
Rhode Island80%5
South Carolina80%6
South Dakota80%5
Tennessee80%6
Texas70%9
Utah80%10
Vermont80%4
Virginia80%6
Washington80%8
West Virginia76%6
Wisconsin80%10
Wyoming76%6
Washington DC80%6

Which State Has the Easiest Test?

Pennsylvania has the shortest written exam with only 18 questions. 

New York’s written exam is 20 questions with a passing score of 70%.

Utah allows test takers to use an open book if they’ve already been licensed in another state.

Which State Has the Hardest Permit Test?

Maryland has the highest passing score of 88% or 22/25 correct answers.

The most questions you’ll find on a written test is 50. States with 50 questions on their written exam include:

  • Indiana
  • Florida
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin

Next Steps

After you pass, you’ll receive your learner’s permit.

This will allow you to start practicing for the driving skills test under the supervision of a qualified, licensed adult.

Shopping Cart