Prepare for your road test

How do I prepare and practice for my road test?

You must

  • obey the learner permit restrictions on where and when you may drive.  See Learner permit restrictions.
  • complete a 5-hour Pre-licensing Course or a high school or college Driver Education Course
  • get an appropriate amount of supervised driving practice. If you are under age 18, you must have a Certification of Supervised Driving (MV-262) completed by your parent or guardian.
  • If you are under age 18, you must wait at least six months from the date you received your learner permit to schedule your road test. See Learner permit restrictions.


 What is the Pre-licensing Course and how do I find one?

The Pre-licensing Course is a DMV-approved, standardized classroom course that provides useful knowledge that you will need as a new driver.  This course is often the first formalized training a new motorist gets. The course covers a number of important topics

  • the task of diving within the highway transportation system
  • driver habits and skills
  • feelings, attitudes and taking risks
  • alcohol, other drugs and driving

You can find the course curriculum and other information in Pre-Licensing Course Instructor’s Manual (MV-277).

The Pre-licensing Course is available through high schools, colleges, and many driving schools.  To find providers in your area, look online in your telephone directory for “Driving Instruction.”

When you successfully complete the course you will be given a Pre-licensing Course Certificate (MV-278). If you complete a high school or college driver education course, you receive a Driver Education Certificate (MV-285), and you do not need a Pre-licensing Course Certificate.

NOTE: You must have one of these certificates to schedule your road test. 1


For how long will my Pre-licensing Course Certificate be valid?

Your Pre-licensing Course Certificate is valid for one year from the date it is issued.  A Driver Education Certificate is valid for two years. If your Pre-licensing Course Certificate expires, you must complete another course to receive a valid certificate and schedule a road test.

Your certificate must be valid on the date that you make your Road Test appointment, but can be expired on the date you take your road test.


Do I need a Pre-Licensing Course Certificate to change my license from one Class to another?

No, you do not need a Pre-licensing Course Certificate or a Driver Education Certificate if you have a valid NYS driver license and you apply to amend to another license Class.


What should I practice to prepare for my road test?

Steering  Steer smoothly whether you are driving straight ahead, turning or backing up.

Acceleration Accelerate smoothly and moderately. Don't race the engine or cause it to stall.

Braking  Bring the vehicle to a stop gently. Start braking well before your stopping position to avoid abrupt stops. Make sure you stop your vehicle in the proper position of the lane.

Clutch/Gears:  Always be sure your vehicle is in the correct gear. With either an automatic or a manual transmission, shift into the proper gear at the right time without "grinding" the gears.

Speed:  Obey the posted speed limit, of course, but also adjust your speed properly due to weather, road, visibility and traffic conditions.

Following distance:  Keep an adequate space"cushion between your vehicle and those you are following. Use the "two second rule" described in the Driver's Manual. Be sure to increase your following distance in poor weather or visibility.

Traffic signs, signals and markings:  Know the meanings of signs, signals and pavement markings, and obey them consistently.

Stopping position:  If a stop is required, stop your vehicle before it reaches an intersecting street. If stop lines or crosswalks are present, stop before crossing them. If your view is blocked after stopping behind the crosswalk, move up until you can clearly see your way, then stop again if necessary.

Lane selection and position:  Keep your vehicle in the proper traffic lane, especially when preparing to make turns. Don't allow room for another vehicle to pass you on the side that you are turning toward.

Communication: Let other drivers and pedestrians know which way you want to go. Use your directional signals or horn consistently and at the proper times.

Observation:  Look for and identify potential problems or hazards in the traffic around you - not just straight ahead, but behind you and on either side. Check your mirrors frequently, but be sure to look over your shoulder behind you when changing lanes or backing up.

Anticipate and react:  Anticipate possible driving errors by others and be ready to react safely to make up for their mistakes.

How much supervised practice driving must I get with my learner permit? 2

If you are under age 18, before you take your road test, you must

  • wait at least six months from the date you received your learner permit to schedule your road test
  • have a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving with
    • at least 15 hours at night (after sunset)
    • at least 10 hours in moderate to heavy traffic

We recommend that all drivers of all ages have this amount and type of practice. We also recommend that you take a driver education course or professional driving lessons.

  • 1. If you lose your certificate, contact the school that issued it to obtain a replacement.
  • 2.

    If you have a motorcycle learner permit (Class M, MJ or Limited MJ), your supervising driver must

    • exercise “general supervision” of you while you operate the motorcycle, and
    • remain within one-quarter mile of you.

    The supervising driver should keep you in sight at all times. In addition, the only passenger who can ride with you on the motorcycle is your supervising driver. If you operate a moped with any valid class of learner permit, the same passenger rules apply.

For your convenience, many DMV PDF forms can be filled in online and then printed.