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What Happens if I Fail my CDL Test?

Your Next Steps to Earning Your CDL

Updated November 2019

A lot of students are concerned with what will happen if they fail their CDL Exam. The truth is you are not alone. Many people have failed their CDL tests for a number of reasons. Some are not great test takers or some just get nervous. If you do happen to fail your CDL test, we are here to answer your questions and help you pass the next time!

1. Can I retake my CDL exam?

The answer is yes! In California, you can retake your CDL test up to three times with the same permit. If you do not pass the exam in three tries, you will need to obtain a new permit and start all tests over again.

2. Do I need to retake the written test?

No. In California, as long as you are still within your three attempts, once you pass a portion of the test, you will only need to retake the portions you failed. However, if you fail more than three times, you will be required to get a new permit which means starting the testing all over again.

3. How long do I have to wait before retaking the CDL exam?

3 Days. Failing either the written or driving portion of the CDL exam will mean that you have to wait three full days before you are eligible to retake the test. You can take your test again on the fourth day or wait as long as you would like to feel prepared.

4. What should I study?

The best way to study is to review your state’s CDL Exam section on the Department of Motor Vehicles webpage. They will give you details about what you will be tested on for the road test and the written exam. This is an excellent resource to help prepare you, so don’t let it go to waste. Additionally, be sure to understand which items would get you automatically disqualified.

Find California’s DMV CDL Road Test, Vehicle Inspection Test, and Written Test information here.

5. What skills should I practice?

Make sure to get yourself in a truck and especially practice:

  • Straight Line Backing
  • Offset Backing Right & Left
  • Alley Dock
  • Parallel Park Driver Side and Conventional

The test examiner is not looking to trick you during the exam. If you have practiced, be confident in the knowledge you have learned.

6. Study what you did wrong.

The good news about failing the test is that you already know what to expect when you go in to take it again. You will know the spot(s) in which you need to get right in order to pass. United Truck Driving School, is here to help you pass your test. Let us know the areas you need to work on and we will help you.

Passing the test on the first try is not always easy. Plenty of talented drivers have failed the CDL Test on their first attempt. It is not as big of a deal as you may think. Contact us today to learn more about our services and training options to help get you started at a full-time truck driver.

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