Everyone knows the old maxim: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. But are you allowed to do that with your knowledge test for your driving permit? Every state has its own rules about what happens if you fail your permit test, so you'll need to talk to people at your local DMV. Most states are very forgiving about missing a first attempt to ace the permit test and do allow you to do a repeat or two.
The Permit Test
You may be just 16 years old and have come into the DMV with your parents, or perhaps you're a mature adult just learning to drive. In either case, you probably need driving practice before wheeling out into San Francisco, Manhattan or Chicago traffic. To this end, all states set up permitting procedures that allow those just learning to drive to get behind the wheel legally, with supervision.
To obtain this type of driving permit, you have to go to the DMV, pay a fee and take a written test. In many states, it is the same knowledge test given as the first step to getting a driver's license. It is a multiple choice test and, if you get at least the minimum number of questions correct, you are given a learner's permit. This allows you to drive, but imposes conditions, including the presence of a licensed driver in the car with you.
To pass the test, you can study your state's driver's manual and take practice tests, sometimes online. So let's say you make an appointment, show up to take the test, and fail it. What happens next?
Read More: How Many Questions Are On the Permit Test in New York?
Try, Try Again
Lots of people pass the permit test the first time round, but many don't. What do you do? Of course, you try again. Your state will have rules about how soon you can retake the test, how many tries you get, and whether you have to pay for retries.
Each state provides opportunities for you to retake the test. For example, in Maryland, a prospective driver gets three attempts to pass the test. You must pass it within 90 days from the time you first apply. If you fail the test, you have to wait 24 hours before you try again, and you also have to pay a reexamination fee each time. The same rules apply in Indiana, where you need to get 28 of 34 multiple choice questions correct to pass.
In Oklahoma, you'll have to get 40 out of the 50 multiple choice questions correct to pass. If you don’t pass the permit test the first time, you may take it again, and again, and again, leaving one day between attempts. Each subsequent try is $4.
New York gives you as many chances as you need to pass the permit test. And the exam is only 20 questions, of which you must get 16 correct. California is not quite that generous. You only have three chances to get 38 of the 46 questions correct. and you must wait a week between tries.
Every state has its own rules for how many times you can take your permit test. But don't worry. You'll be allowed to take it a second time, and sometimes even a third.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.