To earn your CDL in California, all commercial vehicle drivers must take the CDL truck driving written test. Depending upon the specific endorsement you need, one or more knowledge-based, written tests are often required. To get an endorsement for your CDL in California, you must first pass the written portion.
You must pass the CDL truck written test in California for the specific class vehicle you plan to drive, plus you may need additional endorsements. However, if you are upgrading your Class C CDL to a Class A CDL, you can waive all knowledge and endorsement tests that were completed or waived on the previous application, including HazMat. The new application must have been started within 12 months of the previous renewal date.
The Class A CDL written test includes 3 parts: general trucking knowledge, driving safely and transporting cargo safely. You must answer all road sign questions correctly before going on to the general knowledge portion. Test questions are taken from this manual. We highly recommend you get a copy of the road signs book and memorize it. You must answer 80% or more correctly to pass.
Please be aware that there are additional restrictions with the CDL license in California. In addition to the truck driving written test general knowledge exam, you must take special tests for each of the following endorsements:
H – Drive a vehicle that transports hazardous materials
N – Drive a tank vehicle
P – Drive a passenger-carrying vehicle
S – Drive a school bus
T – Drive a double or triple trailer
Class A CDL written test covers any combination of vehicle with a gross combination weight of 26,001 pounds or more if the vehicle(s) being towed have a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds. Vehicles in this class include tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations, and tractor-trailer buses.
In California, the CDL Class A written test has 50 multiple choice questions on the general exam. Topics include safe driving, safe transportation, CDL rules and requirements and pre-trip vehicle inspections. The CDL written test is administered most commonly on a computer. In order to pass the written test, a score of 80% must be accomplished.
After you have successfully completed the necessary CDL truck driving written test(s), you can then take the CDL skills exam. This includes pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road driving. You must take the skills exams in the type of vehicle for which you wish to be licensed.