Taking the Driver’s License Exam? Learn How to Pass the LTO Tests

Venus Zoleta
·10-min read
LTO Exam Tips | Moneymax
LTO Exam Tips | Moneymax

All applicants for driver’s license in the Philippines are required to take the driving exams at the Land Transportation Office (LTO). This critical step to becoming a licensed driver ensures that only those who drive safely and responsibly are on the road.

The driver’s license examination consists of a written test and a practical driving test. You need to pass both LTO exams to get a driving license.

Read first: Complete Guide to Getting a Driver’s License in the Philippines

LTO Written Exam Guide

What Happens During the LTO Written Exam?

During your driver’s license application, taking the written exam is the next step after having your photo taken, creating a digital signature, and paying the applicable fees.

The LTO has made an LTO exam reviewer[1] available to the public through its website. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has directed the LTO to make the driver’s license exam more inclusive by making it available in different regional languages other than English and Filipino.[2] This way, you can choose to take the test in the dialect you can easily comprehend and are most comfortable with.

The written exam for driver’s license applicants has the following categories:

  • General driving knowledge

  • Parking

  • Driving emergencies

  • Handling and driving

  • Road signs and lane markings

  • Road position

  • Violations and penalties

Related article: LTO Violations Every Motorist Should Take Note Of

What is the Passing Score in LTO Written Exam?

lto exam tips - lto passing score
lto exam tips - lto passing score

If you’re applying for a non-professional license, you need to get 30 correct answers out of 40 items to pass the exam. Professional license applicants have to get 45 out of 60 items correctly.

Examinees who passed will be called and asked to proceed to the waiting area to move on to the practical driving exam.

How to Pass the LTO Written Exam

Here are a few helpful tips to help you ace the written exam.

Enroll in a Driving School

Before you apply for a driver’s license, it helps to get intensive training first through organized driving lessons. Make sure that your driving school is legit and accredited. You can easily check it with the LTO.[3]

Read more: 8 Reasons to Take Driving Lessons (And Where to Have Them)

Study the LTO Exam Reviewer

There are reviewers for both professional (for heavy and light vehicles) and non-professional drivers. You’ll also find a questionnaire for conductors, a Tagalog mock exam, and a manual of road traffic signs and pavement markings. You can visit LTO’s website to access these reviewers.

Use the LTO E-Learning Module

Through the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS),[4] you can access e-learning modules that can help you review for the theoretical and written exam. The mock exam in the module is also timed, a smart feature that will help you deal with the time limit.

Read more: How to Use the LTO Online Portal: A Guide for Motorists in the Philippines

LTO Practical Driving Exam Guide

What Happens During the Practical Driving Test?

lto exam tips - practical driving test
lto exam tips - practical driving test

Instagram photo by @shylamai__

The actual practical test happens quicker (around 5 minutes or longer, depending on the driver) than the waiting time for the next step of getting a driver’s license. You only need to make one round on an obstacle course, which involves driving straight on a flat and elevated road, parking, and making tight turns.

You can choose to take the practical exam using an LTO vehicle, your own car, or your driving school’s vehicle.

What is the Practical Exam Scoring System?

During the practical driving exam, the instructor will score you using a demerit point system. You’ll begin with 100 points. Each time you commit an error, the examiner deducts a corresponding number of points from your score and logs them onto a road test score sheet.

3 Criteria for Practical Exam Scoring

1. Pre-driving check-up (Total of 10 points)

  • Checking tires and batteries

  • Checking/cleaning/adjusting mirrors, light, and windshield wiper

  • Use of seatbelt or helmet

  • Checking hand and foot brake

  • Disengaging clutch when starting the engine

2. Driving skills (Total of 50 points)

  • Steering

  • Engine control

  • Use of brakes

  • Speed control

  • Turning

  • Backing

  • Parking

3. Observance of traffic rules (Total of 40 points)

  • Right of way to other vehicles

  • Stop lights, signals, and other

  • Right of way (for other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.)

What is the Passing Score in LTO Driving Exam?

When you’re done, the examiner will provide you with feedback and your test result. To pass the practical driving test, you need to get a score of at least 70.

How to Pass the LTO Practical Exam

Here are some tips for raising your chances of passing the practical exam.

Before and During the LTO Driving Exam Checklist: Ways and Tips to Pass the LTO Driving Test
Before and During the LTO Driving Exam Checklist: Ways and Tips to Pass the LTO Driving Test

Practice Driving

Ace your practical exam through constant practice. To better prepare for the actual exam, refer to the “Road Test Score Sheet” page at the back of the LTO Application for Driver’s License form before you start your practice driving. Try various driving situations, such as changing lanes, parking on various locations, and driving along narrow streets. Also, practice changing lanes and making a U-turn properly.

Bring Your Own Car

While driving your car to the nearest LTO office could be a bit of a hassle because of possible parking issues, it could help you pass the practical exam. It’s easier to drive a vehicle you’re already familiar and comfortable with, as opposed to renting an LTO vehicle that’s likely an old model with hard clutches and pedals.

See also: Complete List of LTO Branches in Metro Manila

Ask for Firsthand Advice

Do you have a friend or family relative who has just recently taken the LTO exams? You can ask them about their experience, so you’ll know what to expect when you get behind the wheel at the testing facility. They may even share with you some valuable tips.

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What to Do During the LTO Exams

Choose Your Preferred Language

The written exam can be taken either in English or Filipino. Choose the one you can understand better. To get an idea of the difference between the two languages, check the English and Tagalog questionnaires of the LTO exam reviewer.

Listen Carefully to the Guidelines

It’s easy to pass the LTO exam if you follow the instructions given to you.

Be Calm While on the Road

Panic makes you forget the basic things like wearing your seatbelt before you begin driving. Just relax and have the presence of mind.

Read the Questions and Situations Carefully

A lot of questions will be about different road scenarios and situations. To give correct and appropriate responses, read and understand each situation carefully.

Most importantly, never rush the written exam. After all, the goal is to get as many correct answers as possible, not to be the examinee who finishes the fastest in the room.

Avoid Conditions That Will Cause You to Automatically Fail

These include hitting another vehicle, a pedestrian, and the gutter or any fixed object. Any action that causes collision or near-collision with another car will also lead to failing the test.

LTO Exam FAQs

lto exam faqs
lto exam faqs

Photo from DOTr Facebook page

1. What happens if you fail an LTO exam?

One month after failing one or both of the writing and practical exams, a driver’s license applicant can retake the LTO exam.

Flunking on the second attempt means you can’t retake the exam and apply for a driver’s license within a year. Finally, failure to pass the LTO exams on the third try will have you waiting for two years before you’re allowed to retake the test and re-apply for a license.

See also: How to Get a Driver’s License Faster Without Dealing with Fixers

2. Are student permit applicants required to take the written exam?

Yes. If you’ll get a student driver’s permit, you have to undergo a formal training (consisting of 15 hours of seminar completed in three days), pass the theoretical or written examination, and take the practical driving course at an LTO-accredited driving school. The training has four modules, each with a corresponding theoretical exam.

The same rule applies to people applying for a New Driver’s License and Additional Restriction Code.

After passing the exams, you’ll be issued a Theoretical Driving Course certificate of completion,[5] which is one of the student driver’s license requirements in the Philippines.

Read more: LTO Student Permit Application Guide for First-Time Drivers

3. Am I required to take the exam if I convert my foreign driver’s license into a Philippine license?

If you have a valid foreign driver’s license, you can convert it into a Philippine driver’s license without having to take the LTO exam. However, if your foreign driver’s license is expired, you’ll need to take the written/practical exams.

Final Thoughts

Taking the LTO exam can be nerve-wracking. Suddenly, it’ll feel like you’re about to take a college entrance test or your final exam. However, proper preparations will increase your chances of passing. So make time for giving yourself enough head start.

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