The Complete Guide To The ADI Theory Test

The Complete Guide To The ADI Theory Test


To become a driving instructor, you’ll need to complete an ADI theory test. No one is exempt from this if you want to teach others behind the wheel of a car. Once you’ve passed your theory, it’s just the driving and the ability to coach elements of the test that remains.

There are many resources out there that can help you pass your theory. However, if you’re not putting in the time to improve your driving knowledge, then you’re more likely to fail than pass.

This guide will help you understand what the ADI theory test is, what it consists of and what you can expect during the test itself. That way, you’ll have all the information you need so that you can fully prepare. It’s always sweeter being able to pass the first time, right?

What is the ADI Theory Test?

The ADI theory test is the first part of becoming an approved driving instructor. It’s made up of two parts, the multiple-choice questions and the hazard perception test.

Just like the theory test you take to drive on the road, the test is taken on a computer at an approved test centre. To pass the ADI theory test, you need to meet the minimum pass mark of both sections of the test at the same time.

What Does the ADI Theory Test Consist of?

The ADI test is a familiar setup to anyone that’s got their normal theory test pass certificate. It consists of two parts, the multiple-choice questions and the ADI hazard perception test. So how do they work, and how do they differ from the original theory tests?

Multiple-Choice Questions

With these multiple-choice questions, advanced knowledge is required within the four categories; The Highway Code, Traffic Signs, Essential Skills of Driving, Official Theory Test Approved Driving Instructors Pack and the Driving Instructor’s Handbook. Questions cover topics including car control, mechanical knowledge, driving test, road procedure, traffic signs, instructional techniques, and much more.

You’ll be asked 100 questions, and the score needs to be a minimum of 80% in each of those categories mentioned above.

  • The Highway Code – Must have full knowledge of road procedures and the rules set out by the Highway Code.
  • Traffic Signs – An extensive knowledge of traffic signs will be required, much more than the original theory tests.
  • Essential Skills of Driving – You’ll need to understand the essential skills required for driving, such as the correct positioning, etc.
  • Official Theory Test Approved Driving Instructors Pack – As an instructor, you’ll need to know everything about driving on the road and all the elements outside of the car.
  • Driving Instructor’s Handbook – Publications and instructional techniques that will help you teach your future students with detail and success.

How to prepare for the multiple-choice test

In order to prepare for the multiple-choice test, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got all the online resources required to study properly. Take advantage of the official DVSA app to get all the basics like the Highway Code, the traffic signs and essential driving skills.

For the driving instructor’s element of the studying, you’ll need to purchase the Official Theory Test Approved Driving Instructors Pack and the Driving Instructor’s Handbook. These will give you the best opportunity to pass your ADI theory test.

Remember to study and give yourself plenty of opportunities to put in the time required to learn everything you need to know for the test.

ADI Hazard Perception Test

The second part of the theory test is the ADI Hazard Perception Test. This part of the test requires you to spot hazards.

You’ll be given a total of 14 video clips that feature everyday road scenes and developing hazards that occur as the video plays out. You’ll click the mouse to score up to five points on each developing hazard, depending on how early you spot the hazard.

To pass this section of the test, you’ll need to get a minimum of 76%. To become a driving instructor, the expectations are higher regarding the percentage you score on these tests.

How to prepare for the ADI hazard perception test

Preparing for the ADI hazard perception test proves to be a little more complicated as there’s only a limited amount offered officially. Once you’ve gone through these hazard test scenarios, doing them over and over again might not be so helpful.

However, many online sites offer similar hazard perception tests, even though they’re not strictly official. They can, though, be beneficial to test your hazard perception skills!

What Are the Requirements of the ADI Theory Test?

Like your theory test, when you were learning to drive, you had to hit a certain pass mark. The requirements for the ADI theory test are more stringent, of course, as you’re learning to teach other learner drivers to drive appropriately and safely on the road.

For your ADI theory test, you’ll be required to score 85 out of 100 overall but a minimum of 20 out of 25  in each category on the multiple-choice questions and a score of 76% on the hazard perception test.

This, compared to the theory test for learner drivers, is a lot higher, with an overall pass mark of 85 out of 100. So when it comes to driving instructor training, you’re going to need to study hard if you want to pass the first time.

What to Take to Your ADI Theory Test

To take your ADI theory test, you’re going to need the basics, which include your driving license (if you have the old paper version you will need to bring your passport as well). With the current state of the pandemic, at the time of writing, you’ll need to wear a face mask to the test. Failure to do so and a lack of a driving license could mean you get turned away from your theory test.

This can be a nightmare when you’ve paid to take the test. It’s money down the drain, and it means delaying your progress in passing your test overall.

How Much Does It Cost to Take the ADI Theory Test?

That leads very nicely to the costs of the ADI theory test. The ADI theory test is more expensive than the standard theory test. It currently costs £81 to take the test. Whilst this is an investment into your career as a driving instructor, you do want to somewhat guarantee your chances of passing, so it’s good to get your ADI theory test practice in.

Don’t get disheartened if you don’t pass, as it’s not often down to a lack of studying but nerves on the day. Remember that you will pass, and it just might mean that you will pass on the second or third go.

When Will I Get My ADI Theory Test Results?

Receiving your ADI theory test is a lot like when you went to take your learner driver theory test. After you’ve taken the test, you’ll make your way back to the front desk, where you’ll receive your confirmation of passing or failing.

If you pass or fail, you’ll be able to see clearly where you performed well and where you might not have performed so well. It’s good to have this information, especially when you’ve failed and need to know where you went wrong.

With your pass certificate, this is valid for the next two years. As long as you pass the driving test within two years, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency won’t be bothering you to retake the theory test.

Tips to Help You Learn for Your ADI Theory Test

Passing the ADI theory test is easier said than done, so are there any helpful tips for learning ahead of the theory test? Of course!

There are plenty of helpful tips that will increase your chances of passing your ADI theory test, whether that’s the first time or not. Here are a few pointers that’ll give you the best chance of passing.

Write flashcards for studying on the go

A good way of making sure that you pass the first time is by prepping yourself with flashcards. These can be extremely helpful for those who struggle to take in the information presented to them off the bat. It might need a few reminders before it goes into the brain.

Flashcards are something you can carry with you on the go and can be used when you don’t fancy staring at your phone. Study on the go with flashcards, and you’ll find the information will sink in a lot faster. Writing flashcards can also help you to let the information sink in.

Go over each topic several times before testing yourself

Where you can, go over the topic several times before you even get to the point of the mock test. Chances are you’ll already have a lot of that information retained from when you last took a theory test. However, it’s good to take away the pressure of an exam by revising over and over again.

Once you feel confident that you can score 100% on the questions, you’ll be ready to test yourself. Wasting time by doing the test when you’re not knowledgeable enough isn’t helpful.

Get family, friends or fellow instructors to test you

When you get to that point where you know a lot of the information, or you think you do, get others to test you. This could be fellow driving instructors that you know, family members or friends. Having someone familiar to test you can be very helpful in getting that information to stay put. It will also highlight how you perform under pressure and in an examination-type environment.

Nerves have a habit of causing you to answer questions incorrectly, even if you know the answers! So this can be a good one to help control your nerves ahead of the actual test.

If you’re not sure about the answer, relate to previous experience

As you’re training to become a driving instructor, you’ll already have lots of prior experience of being on the road. With that said, make sure you’re thinking about your own previous experience if you’re not sure about the answer, particularly for multiple-choice questions.

With multiple-choice questions, there’s going to be some reasonably obvious incorrect ones, and then you’ll have two or three that you’re stuck between. Think back to prior experience and what you’ve learnt on the road. You’ll be more likely to discover the answer through that!

The more DVSA revision questions you go over, the more you increase the chances of passing.


What happens if I pass the hazard perception test but fail the theory test?

You’ll need to pass both the hazard perception test and the theory test on the same test to get your pass certificate.

If you happen not to pass the hazard perception part but not the theory, or vice versa, then you’ll fail, and you won’t receive that pass certificate.

How many hours should you study for an ADI theory test?

There’s really no specific number of hours required when it comes to studying for your ADI theory test. For some, studying for a theory test can take many hours, whereas others can pick up and retain the information a lot quicker.

It’s entirely down to your ability to learn everything required in order to pass the theory test.

Can you ask for more time to do the multiple-choice questions part?

You can ask for more time to complete the test’s multiple-choice questions.

To do so, you must provide documentation of your reading difficulty to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). When you book your theory test, you will be given instructions on how to send proof.

This proof could be in the form of an email or a letter from a:

  • teacher or other educational professional
  • doctor or medical professional
  • an occupational therapist
  • an online dyslexia screening product

Can I have a translator for my ADI theory test?

In terms of a translator for your ADI theory test, you’ll need someone who can speak the language fluently. That might be a family member, friend, or even an old driving instructor. However, recent laws have changed this despite all this, whereby you can’t bring an interpreter to your test.