5 Study Tips for Your CDL Written Exam

When considering a career as a truck driver, you have to learn the rules of the road by way of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) exam. This test gives you the knowledge needed to thrive in the field, but nailing down the essentials of trucking takes extensive preparation. To pass with flying colors on your exam date, here are a few study tips that will help you get ahead.

Getting Ready for the CDL Exam


1. Use Study Tools

To prep for the CDL written exam, you need to hit the books—specifically your state’s Commercial Driver’s License Manual. All the topics covered on the test are pulled from this trucker’s bible, so brush up on all procedures and laws mentioned in this document. To get fully prepared, use study strategies to make harder material more digestible. Tools like flashcards, acrostics, and rhymes will help you not only to memorize but also digest the material.

2. Go to a Truck Driving School

Accredited driving schools can put you at a considerable advantage for the CDL exam. They not only provide in-class instruction, but they also get you behind the wheel of a truck for more

man studying for his written exam

immersive teaching. These schools also hold career fairs with top employers so that their students can graduate with a top-notch job. If you need classes to work around your busy schedule, some campuses will offer night classes for their program.

3. Take Practice Exams

Giving the CDL exam a test run is a surefire way to gauge your understanding of the material. Since it isn’t the real deal, you can work your way up to the actual exam by starting with an “open book” round, where you can reference your notes and study materials while you take it. To continue studying, you can begin to set time limits for the exam that slowly align with the real time frame. When the week of your exam date rolls around, you should be prepared to take the test, closed-book, in the allotted time; if you pass the practice at that point, you’re ready to go for the real thing.

4. Create Real-World Applications

Sometimes it can become difficult to understand what you’re studying instead of merely memorizing it—especially with the volume of material you’ll find on the CDL exam. To give your studying some context, try to create real-world scenarios that embody the laws and procedures you will see on the test. This trick will bring the facts to life and make the information you’re studying more relevant to you, which will help you pass the exam and work well on the road as a truck driver.

5. Rest the Night Before

Like with any big event, make sure you get a good night’s sleep the evening before your CDL exam so you’re fresh and ready to go in the morning. Your studying should be done at this point besides a final run-through your flashcards while on the way to the exam center. Before heading to your test, also take time to eat a filling, energizing breakfast that will give your brain the fuel to do your best.


If you need a little help getting ready for the CDL exam, our instructors at the Hamrick School have your curriculum covered. For over 30 years, our premier truck driving school has helped aspiring truckers in the Akron and Cleveland area develop the skills to succeed in the long-haul profession. Our program offers flexible, fast-paced programs and unmatched career services that incorporate behind-the-wheel teaching into test prep. For more information and to apply to our Medina, OH, based driving school, give us a call today at (330) 239-2229.

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