How Many Questions Are On the Permit Test in New York?

By Danielle Smyth - Updated February 26, 2018
Pencil drawing selected choice on answer sheets

You’re ready to take the permit test in New York – congratulations! You may be wondering exactly what to expect from the exam and from the other tests you must pass to become a licensed driver in New York State.

Tip

The New York State learner permit test contains 20 multiple choice questions. You need to get 14 correct to pass. Once you have your learner permit, you are eligible to learn to drive under the supervision of someone 21 or older. After meeting New York State guidelines for new drivers, you are then eligible to take your road test and become a licensed driver.

What’s the Permit Test Like?

There are 20 questions on the written New York state permit test. All of the questions on the test are multiple choice. In order to pass, you must answer 14 questions correctly, which is 70 percent. If you miss more than six questions, you will not be eligible for a learner permit.

In addition to correctly answering 14 questions, you must correctly answer two out of four questions on the topic of road signs. These four road sign questions are included in the 20 questions on the test.

The New York State permit test is offered in 14 languages. If you are not a native English speaker, be sure to ask for the exam in whichever language you feel most comfortable.

The permit test must be taken in-person at a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles office. You cannot take the permit test online or remotely. It is not an open book test.

What If I Fail the Permit Test?

If you fail the permit test, you are allowed to take it again at no additional cost. In fact, in New York State, you are allowed to take the test an unlimited number of times. However, if you fail the test three times in a row, you are required to wait six months before re-taking the test a fourth time. Rather than rushing to take the permit exam again, study the New York State Driver’s Manual and take some practice tests to be sure you’re ready for your next test.

What About Motorcycle Permit Testing?

If you are applying for both a motorcycle learner permit and another sort of learner permit, such as for a Class D license to operate a typical passenger car or a CDL permit to drive commercial vehicles, first apply for the non-motorcycle permit. From there, you can apply for your motorcycle permit. However, it is not required that you have a New York State driver's license or permit of any kind before obtaining a motorcycle permit.

Before heading to the DMV to take your permit test, study the New York State Motorcycle Operator's Manual and be sure you are prepared to answer general driving questions as well as some questions specific to motorcycles. If you are taking the motorcycle permit test, you will need to correctly answer three out of five questions about motorcycles in order to pass. In all, the test is a 25-question, multiple-choice exam.

To move forward and get your motorcycle license (a Class M license in New York), you will need to schedule a motorcycle road test. If you don’t already possess another class of New York State driver's license, you must complete a driver education or pre-licensing course ahead of the exam.

What Comes After the Permit Test?

If you are under the age of 18, you will have to wait at least six months after you earn your learner permit before you are eligible to take your New York State driving exam, also called a road test. This test is offered in-person only and is not a written examination.

During the six-month waiting period, you will need to practice driving and be able to document the following:

  1. That you have completed a certified pre-licensing course or driver’s education class, 
  2. If you are under the age of 18, that you have driven 50 hours under the supervision of an adult over the age of 21, 15 hours of which must have been after sunset, and 10 hours of which must have been in moderate to heavy traffic. This information must be provided on an MV-262 Form and signed by your parent or guardian if you are under the age of 18.

What to Bring to Your Road Test

On the day of your road test, bring proof of your pre-licensing course or driver’s education course and present it to the licensing examiner. If you are under the age of 18, you will also need to have your MV-262 Form and an adult at least 21 years of age with you. Be sure you have or are wearing your contact lenses or glasses if you require vision correction. Lastly, make sure to have your learner permit on hand. You will also need a vehicle in which to take the test. The vehicle must be registered, inspected, clean and operable.

Your road test is the last step in obtaining a New York State driver's license. You will know as soon as the test is over if you have passed. If you have, you’ll receive a temporary license from the examiner. Your official license will arrive in the mail within two weeks. Good luck!

About the Author

Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. Her experience includes years of work in the insurance, workers compensation, disability, and background investigation fields. In addition to being the content writer and social media manager for Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group, she has written on legal topics for a number of other clients. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing legal articles and blogs for clients in related industries.

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