How to Prepare for the Written Portion of the CDL Exam

How to Prepare for the Written Portion of the CDL Exam

Are you ready to start driving a commercial vehicle, but not sure if you are prepared for both the written and on-road driving exams? You are not alone. Taking the written portion of the CDL exam takes preparation. Let us help you prepare.

How to Prepare for the Written Portion of the CDL Exam

There are a few steps that will prepare you for the written portion of the truck driving Class A CDL exam. These steps include:

Step #1: Review Practice Test Study Guides

On the Driving Tests website, there are study guides for those that want to study for the Class A CDL exam. These guides review actual questions that have been asked in the past on Ohio CDL exams based on 2023 Ohio Commercial Driver’s License Manual. The topics reviewed in these study guides include:

  • Traffic signs, signals, right-of-way rules, and speed limits
  • Trucking laws, vehicle inspection and basic commercial vehicle safety.
  • Emergency kit awareness, hazard identification, and driving safety
  • Air brakes, combination vehicles, doubles and triples, and school buses
  • Vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control skills test, and on-road driving

Step #2: Take Practice Tests

Before you take the official CDL written driving exam, it is important to take a few practice tests. This will prepare you for the test questions, the question’s format and how to prepare for the official CDL written driving exam. There are over 20 tests with more than 600 questions on the Driving Tests website. Take the time to answer every question and know where you struggle, so you can do additional study on those topics.

Step #3: Pass the CDL Written Exam

After studying for the written exam, there are three parts of the written test that must be passed: General Knowledge Test, Air Brakes Test, and the Combination Vehicle Test. There are other endorsements that you can receive, however, we recommend completing your training at a truck driving school before testing for the following:

Passenger Transport Test – taken by all bus driver applicants

Hazardous Materials Test – required to haul hazardous materials. This designation also includes a TSA background check

Tank Vehicle Test – required to haul any liquid or gaseous materials in a tank.

Doubles/Triples Test – required to pull double or triple trailers

School Bus Test – required to drive a school bus.

Step #4: Attending OBC’s Truck Driving

After passing the written driving exam, the next step in preparing for the CDL exam, to become a truck driver, is to attend our Class A CDL truck driving school, offered at our Dayton, Middletown, and Columbus, Ohio campuses. During this training, you will receive both textbook knowledge and valuable time behind the wheel to prepare you for the CDL exam.

During the Truck Driving training program GT III, you will study the theoretical skills necessary to drive a commercial truck. Within the 40 hours of classroom instruction, you learn about driver qualification requirements, hours of service of drivers, driver wellness, and whistleblower protection. This program includes the knowledge of how to inspect commercial vehicles prior to use and while driving. You will also learn how to plan routes using a Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas and maintaining official papers. Further instruction focuses on the driver’s daily log, bills of lading, and other shipping papers. OBC helps you prepare for the driving exam and even supplies a vehicle to complete the on-road test.

Step #5: Pass the Commercial Driver’s Licenses

In order to drive a commercial vehicle and obtain a Class A CDL, you must pass the required commercial driver’s license tests. They include:

Skills Test

The skills test must be completed for eligibility to drive a Class A vehicle. The three segments of the CDL skills test include vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control and on-road driving.

Vehicle Inspection – tests your ability to stay safe while driving a commercial vehicle. This will include a vehicle inspection of your vehicle. You must touch and name the items you are inspecting, and why.

Basic Vehicle Control – tests your ability to control the vehicle. You will move forward, backward, and turn within a defined area.

On-Road Driving – you are tested to drive safely in a variety of traffic situations.

Exercising Good Study Habits

There are some good study habits that you should adhere to when preparing for the written portion of the CDL exam. They include:

Not Waiting Until the Last Minute to Study

Nothing is worse than waiting until the night before to cram for a test. Make sure to space out your study times to better retain the information for the written portion of the CDL exam. You will find that shorter study sessions will benefit your memory more, as you give yourself time to store the information in your memory. Sleep is also a great time to imprint information in your memory. Try studying a few times before you go to bed so that your brain can store the information while it is fresh.

Find a Quiet Place to Study

Distractions can hinder your ability to remember the information that will help you pass the CDL exam. Turn off cell phones, televisions, and other electronics. Put up a sign that says studying in progress, so your family members don’t distract you. Find a quiet place to study, so you can focus on the study guides and exam materials.

Study within a Group

It is easier to study for the written portion of the CDL exam when you study with friends. Since everyone has the same goal, you can work together to prepare for the CDL exam. Especially if you are struggling with a certain section of the exam. Let your study group members support you with their perspective on the subject.

Take Breaks

It is much easier to study when you take periodic breaks between study sessions. You will tend to remember more if you don’t cram too much study into a single study session. Take breaks and clear your mind, so your mind is ready to remember ample information for the CDL exam.

Set Study Goals

Whether you want to complete a study guide or finish a practice test, it is good to set goals, so you know when you are studying successfully. Set small goals that are easy to attain to motivate you to the ultimate goal of passing the CDL exam.

Reward Yourself

It can be hard to study for an exam. A great way to motivate yourself is to plan a reward for passing the CDL exam. Maybe you will buy a new shirt, take yourself out to dinner, or do something you really enjoy once you pass the exam. This way you have more motivation to keep at it and study for the CDL exam.

Take Care of Yourself

Make sure to get enough sleep, eat nutritious meals, and relax when you are studying for the CDL exam. This will give you more brain power and a better memory to prepare for the written CDL exam.

Ask For Help

You have every reason to ask for help when you are struggling with a topic. Plus, instructors are available to answer any questions and offer guidance during our Truck Driving programs. Let the instructors help you prepare for the CDL exam because you are not alone. The instructors have been in your shoes and know what you need to succeed.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to prepare for the written portion of the CDL exam, it is time to learn more about Ohio Business College’s Truck Driving Academy. Contact our Dayton, Middletown, or Columbus campus to learn more about one of the most respected Class A CDL certificate programs in the Tri-State region.

Want to Learn More?

If you are ready to take to the open road, hauling inventory across the state of Ohio and potentially the rest of the United States, the CDL certificate program at Ohio Business College’s Truck Driving Academy is the perfect place to start. With Ohio locations in Dayton, Middletown, and Columbus, our Truck Driving Academy offers one of the most respected Class A CDL certificate programs in the Tri-State region.

If you are interested in a truck driving profession, let Ohio Business College answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to learn more about our Truck Driving programs.