Top Tips for Studying for Your CDL General Knowledge Test

If you’re interested in a career in the professional truck driving industry, and you have met all CDL training requirements, congratulations! It’s a perfect option for those who favor the independence of the open road over the monotony of working in an office. It’s a field that can be very financially rewarding and relatively easy to get into, regardless of your prior experiences. You’re considering entering a growing profession with some incredible benefits.

Trucking can be a great career choice for many people. If you want to become a truck driver, you’ll first need to get a Commercial Driver’s License, also known as a CDL. You must go through a CDL driving school to obtain proper training, knowledge and skills for professional truck driving. A good CDL training program features experienced instructors that will provide hands-on training and knowledge needed to properly and safely operate a truck. The trucking industry requires responsible people behind the wheel. This responsibility is evaluated by several ways, including the CDL general knowledge test and skills test.

Not everyone passes these tests the first time, as failure can happen for a variety of reasons, even to the best potential students. Before you go in to take the CDL general knowledge test, you should know about some of the most common reasons for failure. Many of us go into trucking with a «do or die» attitude. Often students who enter the program have left their jobs and families with limited funds and feel cornered by the exam. «If I don’t pass, I’ll have nothing.» Others going to a CDL truck driving school are often working all day at jobs that they hate or ones that don’t pay the bills. By the time they take the classes at night, they can be exhausted from a long day and may not retain as much information. Failing does not make you some loser who will never be a trucker. Once you accept that, the exam will be so much less stressful and you can learn from your mistakes.

Take the following steps to raise your chance of success and easily pass your CDL license exam the first time.

Study, study, study

You probably took a ton of tests all throughout your primary school education. Studying for the CDL exam is really not all that different. To pass the CDL General Knowledge test, you must get at least 80 percent of the questions correct. Before you even sign up for the CDL truck driving program, you could pick up the study manual from the DOL and start studying the information presented. The more familiar you are with it, the less nervous you’ll be when it comes time to really learn it and take the licensing exam.

It may only take a few weeks to go through your CDL truck driving course, but there’s a lot of information you’re going to be expected to learn. We have made sure you’ll be well prepared for the CDL general knowledge tests and beyond.

Use Practice Tests

There are many you can find on the internet just by searching in Google or Bing, if that’s the search engine of your choice. One thing to remember is, although there are many, not all are updated. All the rules, laws, and regulations pertaining to trucking are constantly changing. The Resources section of our site provides links to the best CDL General Knowledge tests and apps that are updated with the most current information. And they are completely free to use. You can also download many apps for your iPhone or Android device which contains CDL General Knowledge practice test questions for various categories.

Stay focused

The CDL General Knowledge tests are not the most difficult tests. But people who don’t pay enough attention in class and don’t commit to studying will do poorly. Study when you are energetic; you won’t retain the information as easily if you study while tired. Study during a convenient time, when you don’t feel rushed. Also, study during lunch breaks if you work. Keep distractions, such as your phone or television, to a minimum. If it’s possible, lock yourself away from the rest of your family, if only for a couple of hours. When taking the practice tests, train yourself to thoroughly read each question and answer. There will always be those trick questions or answers thrown in to confuse you if you don’t know the material as well as you should. So take it slow, read each word carefully and thoughtfully, and pick the best answer.

What to Study

Your Commercial driver guide will probably be drilled into your head during your training. Remember that in Washington state you may test on a number of endorsement tests (and we recommend testing for as many endorsements as you can to increase the trucking jobs for which you qualify). To reiterate what you may already know, here are the main topics you’ll need to study and know for the CDL General Knowledge tests:

  • CDL General Knowledge test – CDL Class A, B, C.
  • CDL Combination Test (Class A) – if you’re planning on tractor-trailers.
  • Air brakes.
  • Double-triple rigs.
  • Tank vehicles.
  • Hazardous materials.
  • Passenger.
  • School bus.

Paying attention in class at your CDL truck driving school, studying the Commercial driver guide, working with fellow students, and taking the tests seriously are all keys to passing the CDL General Knowledge test.

The key to passing both the practical and road test portion of your CDL exam is to practice, study, rinse, and repeat. Take a deep breath, act confident, and pass that test!