In order to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), you will need to pass a written exam as well as a skills test. Preparing to take the CDL test can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some tips for preparing to take the CDL exam
1. Attend Truck Driving School
The number one tip for preparing for your CDL test is to attend a professional truck driving school. While you can study on your own, being part of a CDL program gives you more support. You’ll have access to highly-skilled instructors and can ask questions if there is any material you don’t fully understand.
Additionally, many motor carriers prefer to hire truck driving school graduates.
2. Read the CDL Manual
The CDL manual contains all of the information you will need to know for the written exam as well as helpful information about the structure of the skills test. Although you’ll be going over this material in class, it’s helpful to read it on your own as well and to use it for studying. Reading the manual before your classes can help you pinpoint the areas that you find most challenging and you can prepare questions ahead of time.
3. Practice Pre-Trip Inspections
Pre-trip inspections are often one of the most daunting parts of the CDL test for students. This is because you will need to memorize a variety of semi-truck parts and be able to point them out while you check them. To help get it down, practice performing a pre-trip and make flashcards to help you out while you’re learning the parts. Actually going through the steps helps you commit them to memory faster than just reading about them.
4. Ask for Help
If there is anything that you aren’t sure about, ask one of your instructors for help. This may be a difficult section on the written test or a particular maneuver you can’t seem to get down while driving. You may be able to schedule time to practice a bit more or the instructor could have a tip that has helped other students in the past. You can also ask your fellow students or form a study group to keep each other motivated.
Many students feel nervous taking exams, even if they know the material. Before each of the CDL tests, take a deep breath and relax. Remember that even if things don’t go as planned, this is just the beginning of your trucking career, not its sole defining moment. If you fail the CDL written test or skills test, you will have the opportunity to try again. This can help take some of the pressure off you and may improve your performance.
Learn More About Our CDL Program
HDS truck driving school can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks. We can help you prepare for the CDL test and offer job placement assistance to support you in starting your new career.