How to pass CDL test
If you are looking for your next career move in life and have thought about becoming a professional truck driver but don’t know what to expect when taking the CDL driving test, we've written this article to help you understand what to expect. Joining with a company that has a program to help new drivers get their commercial driving license (CDL) will be your biggest source of aid ensuring that you have guidance every step of the way in passing the Class A CDL test.
Requirements for Commercial Driver License
Before getting your CDL, you will need to have finished a written test for your commercial driver's instruction permit or (CDIP.) This test requires no driving and is a written test similar to the one that we've all had to finish to get our regular driving license for our personal vehicles. This shouldn't prove to be too difficult because all you have to do is prepare for a written test by studying your state's CDL manual and passing.
To receive your CDL license, next you'll have to pass a driving test and the CDL written test, which is an examination the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires for all commercial drivers in the US to take. Every state differs in its application process and the requirements for the full CDL license, but naturally, all the states follow the federal guidelines set by the FMCSA. Make sure to first research your state's requirements online and that you meet those requirements.
Most states will require you to have a current driver's license and meet the age requirement. You will need to be at least 21 years of age to obtain your full CDL license, allowing you to cross state lines across the entire US. If you are 18 years of age, you can apply for a provisional license to train in your home state until you are 21 years old. Some criminal offenses will deny you the ability to obtain a Class A CDL license, but each state has passed its laws on this subject so we advise that you look up your state's laws to better understand if a previous criminal offense will prevent you from obtaining your CDL.
The CDL A Exam
The CDL exam has three components: the written exam, a physical examination, and the road test. The written portion of the CDL exam consists of usually 30-50 questions. We advise you to learn and really understand this material instead of just memorizing it to pass the test because you will need to know all of this information for when you are out there on the road. While studying for the exam, you can expect to learn about all the different aspects of a career in the trucking industry ranging from proper log book maintenance, trip planning, map reading, proper logging routes, basic mechanical knowledge, scaling your weight, cargo safety, accident prevention, hazardous material regulation, drunk driving laws, braking techniques, weather conditions, and distracted drivers.
The Road Test
Once you pass your written exam, you will be able to take your road test. If you're inexperienced behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle, grasping the material that you've studied before rolling out on the road test is essential. During the road test, you will be tested on your knowledge of beginning your trips with a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle and backing into spaces using proper techniques. You will also need to be confident in your ability to drive in traffic and during different times of the day. At this point, you should have learned all the traffic laws that govern our roads.
Read below for our favorite tips on how to pass your CDL exam and road test.
Download Your State's CDL Manual
Each state has its own version of a CDL manual so make to select the correct option. Read through it once to get a general idea and remember that you can skip the parts that don't apply to the type of CDL that you are training towards. Jot down the problem areas that you have trouble with and review this sheet frequently leading up to the test.
Take a Practice Test
There are many resources online that you can use to simulate the test that you will be taking - both paid and free. You can also ask friends and family to test your knowledge of the material by creating quick flashcards for them to quiz you with.
Talk with veteran drivers
Knowledge learned through real-life experiences is much easier to remember than recalling information that you've read in a book. Most veteran truck drivers want to share their tips and tricks with drivers that are learning so we advise that you spend time with drivers you know have been trucking for a while to make passing your exam a lot easier and to boost your confidence when approaching the test. They will also be able to teach you that which you can't learn by just reading a book.
Eat a healthy diet leading up to the test
Your brain functions much better when you give it the right nutrition it needs in order to learn and remember the information that you've learned. Avoid eating junk food days before you take your test. Your mind will become much sharper and you will have a much easier time remembering in the moment of the test everything that you've studied. Plan to eat healthy foods such as leafy vegetables, quality protein, and healthy fats. We recommend salads, chicken, avocados, blueberries, broccoli, salmon, nuts, and eggs. Don't forget to stay hydrated with water while studying and before taking your exam.
Get a good nights rest
Getting deep rest the night before your test is undebatable. Studies have shown that not sleeping for 24 hours lowers your brain's functions of learning new information and recalling learned information so much that it would equal a drop of 10 IQ points! That is more of a decrease than if you were to be intoxicated under the influence of alcohol. Plan to be asleep 8 hours before you need to wake up. Skip the TV and news before sleeping to avoid emotional responses that affect sleep negatively and to stay focused on performing well on the test tomorrow.
You've Made the Right Decision
We congratulate anyone that decides to work towards acquiring their CDL license and we take great pride in each driver that has decided to become an important part of our country's infrastructure and commerce. If we would leave you with our favorite tip, it would be to spend time with drivers that you can learn from and will answer all of your questions to help you through every step of the way!
And for those of you inquiring about MigWay and new hires, we require a minimum of 2 years of experience to ride with us.