Before you can ever step up into the cab and start driving a truck, you must pass a CDL training exam and earn a permit. There’s a lot to learn along the way, but the process can go smoothly with some help. Here’s a look at how to prepare for the exam.
A Brief Guide to Preparing for the CDL Permit Test
What Is It?
Also known as the commercial learner’s permit exam, this test isn’t so different from the permit test you took to get your standard Class C driver’s license. The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions specific to commercial driving situations broken up over three sections covering general knowledge, air brakes, and combination vehicles. The test itself doesn’t require any driving, but it authorizes you to practice driving buses, trucks, and heavy vehicles.
This test is a required first step toward a career in trucking. There’s no other way to acquire a CDL, even if you have years of informal experience.
What Are the Requirements?
The exact requirements and prerequisites for the permit test vary by state, but a few necessities are true across the board. You must hold a current, valid driver’s license, and you will need to pass a medical examination to guarantee your health on the road. In general, you can drive intrastate routes at the age of 18, but you need to be 21 years old to drive a commercial vehicle across state lines. However, the recent DRIVE-Safe Act promises to open the field up to younger drivers to encourage them to start their careers early. Soon it may be possible for drivers as young as 18 to run routes across the nation.
How to Prepare
Because the job is so important and relies on drivers having a sharp knowledge of best practices and safety measures, the CDL permit test is rigorous and difficult. Your CDL training regimen must match it accordingly. The first step to preparing is to acquire and familiarize yourself with the CDL handbook. This book contains everything you’ll need to know for the exam and more, covering how to take the test, different types of vehicles, and how to transport both cargo and passengers.
Once you’ve covered the whole handbook, take CDL practice tests. These will teach you both the language and format of the real test, as well as which sections of the handbook to pay extra attention to and brush up on. You may even want to enroll in a CDL training program to aid you in sticking to the commitment and practicing regularly. The experience of the teachers in these programs will also be invaluable.
Always remember to rest and eat well before an exam. Being rested helps with memory and recall, and it will stave off nerves and anxiety.
Hamrick School provides both advanced and master CDL training programs and has trained over 10,000 drivers in the field. Call us at (330) 239-2229 to request information on classes and admission.
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