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.
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 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. 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
Handling and driving
Road signs and lane markings
Violations and penalties
Related article: LTO Violations Every Motorist Should Take Note Of
What is the Passing Score in LTO Written Exam?
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.
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), 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.
LTO Practical Driving Exam Guide
What Happens During the 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)
Use of brakes
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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, which is one of the student driver’s license requirements in the Philippines.
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.
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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 LTO Exam Reviewer for Driver’s License Application (Official LTO website)
 DOTr: Driver’s License Exam to Be Translated in Different Languages (DOTr Facebook page)
 List of LTO Accredited Driving Schools (Official LTO website)
 LTMS Portal
 LTO Advisory (LTO Facebook page)
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