District of Columbia DMV Practice Tests for Your GRAD Permit

District of Columbia Driver Knowledge Test

Quick facts for your driver license and permit test in Washington D.C.:

Number of Questions: 25 (standard non-commercial)
30 (GRAD or Learner Permit Knowledge)
Correct answers needed: 20 (standard non-commercial)
24 (GRAD or Learner Permit Knowledge)
Passing score: 80 percent
Time limit: 60 minutes (standard non-commercial)
75 minutes (GRAD or Learner Permit Knowledge)
Earliest retest upon failure: 4 days



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#1. The driver in front of you signals (left arm extended horizontally out of open window):

Left turn – left arm extended horizontally out of open window.


#2. Anti-lock brakes are of most use when you are:

Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) are designed to prevent your wheels from locking up when braking. This will prevent skidding and allow you to steer during an emergency braking situation.


#3. This sign added to a stop sign means:

This sign means there are four stop signs at the intersection. Traffic from all directions must stop. The first driver to stop is the first driver to go. Other drivers must wait their turn.


#4. You may always continue carefully against a yellow light if:

A steady yellow light means caution, the signal is changing from green to red. Its purpose is to provide time for approaching traffic to stop safely and to clear other vehicles from the intersection before the light turns red.

You must stop if you can do so safely. The law says: Vehicular traffic shall stop before entering the nearest crosswalk of the intersection, unless so close to the intersection that a stop cannot safely be made.


#5. Which of the following has always the right-of-way at a railroad crossing?

Trains have the right of way 100 percent of the time, over ambulances, fire engines, cars, the police, and pedestrians.


#6. When you are following another vehicle at night, at what distance must you dim your lights?

You must dim your lights to low beams within 500 feet of a vehicle coming toward you or within 300 feet of a vehicle you are following.


#7. A pedestrian has entered a crosswalk on your side of the roadway where there are no signs or signals. Who should be given the right-of-way?

Pedestrians in a crosswalk, whether marked or unmarked, have the right-of-way except when they enter the crosswalk on a red light or against the direction of a traffic officer.

You must come to a complete stop when a pedestrian crossing the roadway in a crosswalk is on your half of the roadway or approaching so closely from the other half as to be in danger.


#8. When a school bus with flashing red lights is stopped on the other side of a four-lane roadway with a median separation, you should:

Drivers are not required to stop when they are on a divided highway and the school vehicle is on the other side of the divided highway.


#9. What does a solid white line between lanes mean?

Solid white lines between lanes of traffic mean that you should stay in your lane unless a special situation requires you to change lanes. These lines also designate turn lanes and arrows are used to show direction.


#10. What is the main cause of car skids?

Skids are mainly caused by drivers traveling too fast for conditions. The best policy is to keep a skid from happening. Slow down to a speed at which you can control the car.


#11. You take away your own cushion of safety:

Tailgating a truck or car is dangerous because you take away your own cushion of safety if the vehicle in front of you stops short.


#12. A learner's permit is valid for:

The learner permit is valid for one year. If you are in the GRAD Program and your learner permit expires before you can move to the provisional license stage, you must renew your learner permit within 90 days after expiration to avoid taking the knowledge test again.


#13. What does this sign mean?

Merging traffic sign.

Merging traffic from the right is just ahead.


#14. When making a right turn you must:

Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. You must also yield to bicyclists traveling between you and the side of the road.

Make sure it is safe to turn. Check traffic to the front and rear of your vehicle.


#15. What should you do at the first sign of rain or snow?

Slow down at the first sign of rain, drizzle, or snow on the road. Turn on your windshield wipers, headlights, and defroster.


#16. Which factor is most likely to affect blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels?

Factors affecting blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels include:

  • How quickly you drink
  • Body weight
  • Alcohol concentration
  • Medications

BAC does not depend on what kind of alcoholic beverage you drink, how physically fit you are, or how well you can hold your liquor. Food in the stomach causes alcohol to be absorbed more slowly, slowing down the rate and the amount of intoxication. The kind of food is not a primary factor.


#17. If you violate any GRAD program restrictions during the learner's permit phase:

During your learner permit stage, if 8 points or more have been assessed against you or you have violated any GRAD program restrictions, you will be subject to a ninety (90) days suspension of your learner permit and payment of a reinstatement fee.


#18. During Sunday-Thursday, and except for July and August, a driver with a provisional license is normally not allowed to drive between:

102.14: A person holding a provisional permit shall not operate a motor vehicle between 11:00 p.m. on any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday until 6:00 a.m. on the following day during any month except July or August, and from 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. during July and August and on any Saturday or Sunday the rest of the year.

You can operate a motor vehicle during GRAD restricted hours under certain circumstances (for complete information, please refer to your manual).


#19. What is the biggest risk with air bags?

The biggest risk is being too close to the air bag.

Sit as far away from the steering wheel as practical. Try to maintain 10-12 inches from the steering wheel hub to the chest.


#20. Road signs with the horizontal rectangular shape are usually used for:

In the horizontal position, rectangular signs usually give directions or information.


#21. This sign tells you:

No Right Turn. You cannot make a right turn at this intersection.

Remember that a red circle with a slash means no. The sign shows you what is not allowed.


#22. If you run off the pavement, you can lose control of your vehicle if you:

Do not try to get back on the roadway until you have the vehicle completely under control. Overcorrecting might throw your vehicle off balance.

This question asked what you should not do.


#23. What should you do if you are involved in a traffic crash and someone is injured?

You must render assistance to any person injured in the accident. Depending upon the extent of the injury, assistance in most instances is accomplished by calling for an ambulance. Normally, you should not attempt to move a person who is unconscious or seriously hurt. Do not give an injured person anything to drink.


#24. Under the GRAD program, the first step for anyone under 21 years is to obtain:

If you are under the age of 21, you must operate under the Gradual Rearing of Adult Drivers (GRAD) Program. The GRAD program permits novice drivers to safely gain driving experience before obtaining full driving privileges.

The three steps are: the learner permit, provisional license, and the full license.


#25. What does this sign mean?

Divided highway ends. The road ahead has two-way traffic.


#26. When entering an interstate or other limited access highway it is wrong to:

Do not insist on the right-of-way.

Remember, traffic on an interstate or other limited access highway has the right-of-way. You cannot always count on other drivers seeing you or moving over to give you room to enter.


#27. You should check your rearview mirrors:

To keep aware of what is going on behind you, check your rear-view mirror periodically.

Remember, keep shifting your eyes from one area of the roadway to another, near and far left and right. Avoid staring straight ahead.


#28. Which of the following practices may help you save money on fuel?

By driving carefully, you will get better gas mileage and save money on fuel. Accelerate gradually. Drive smoothly and at moderate speeds. Anticipate stops to minimize hard braking. Avoid unnecessary driving. Combine trips and carpool when possible.


#29. To reinstate your license after a suspension, you must:

After a license suspension, you will be required to pay a reinstatement fee. Normally, you will not be required to take and pass the knowledge examination and skills road test.


#30. When can you legally park your car in front of a private driveway?

Parking is not allowed in front of or within 5 feet of a private driveway, public driveway, or alley.

See result

What is the Difference Between the Two D.C. Tests?

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in District of Columbia will give you one of two different tests.

The basic questions about rules of the road, common road signs, traffic signals, and safe driving are the same on each test. The test for graduated license (GRAD) or learner permit has additional question addressing driving restrictions during the graduated licensing phase, rules that apply to teenagers, and common traffic mistakes made by new drivers, including speeding and impaired driving.

On either test, you need a passing score of 80 percent.

Practice Tests for the GRAD Test

This practice test has 30 questions, just like the GRAD test.

If you want to skip questions related to the GRAD Program, you can take the 25-question test here: Practice Tests for Your D.C. Driver License

What You Should Know about the D.C. Knowledge Test

The test can be taken in many languages, including:

  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese

Audio assisted tests are also available for those who need assistance with reading.

If you fail the test, you must wait three full days before you can take it again on the fourth day. Use this time to study the manual and take more practice tests.

The District of Columbia DMV knowledge test is timed, but the allotted time is generous, and it is not likely that you will need more than 15 minutes to complete the examination.

Questions on the knowledge test are based on the information in the D.C. Driver Manual. You should always get a copy of the manual from a service center or download a PDF-version online . You are less likely to pass the test if you skip the manual.

Practice tests are just a supplement to manual. To increase you chances of passing the test the first time you should study the manual and use these practice tests to verify your knowledge.

The Gradual Rearing of Adult Drivers (GRAD) Program

District of Columbia DMV has introduced the GRAD program to help novice drivers under 21 years to safely gain driving experience before getting their full driving privileges.

If you are 21 years or older, the GRAD program does not apply to you. You can apply for a permit and after passing the necessary tests, you may practice driving with a supervising driver. You do not need to log your driving practice or wait a specific period before applying for a full license.

District of Columbia Learner Permit

You must be at least 16 years to apply for a GRAD learner’s permit in D.C.

You must also bring documents that prove you are eligible for a DC DMV learner permit. These documents include proof of:

    Identity and date of birth
    Your Social Security number
    Current District of Columbia residency
    Parental approval (if under 18 years)

Before District of Columbia DMV issues the permit, you must pass a vision test and the 30-question GRAD knowledge test.

After passing the knowledge test, a clerk will take a photo for your DC DMV REAL ID learner permit. The photo must be a full-frontal digital photo that will show either the ears, or up to the hairline without showing the hair.

You will also pay the fee for your permit.

The first proof of your new permit is just a temporary permit on paper. This temporary permit is valid for 45 days, but you will receive the real learner’s permit in the mail after just a few days.

Practice Driving with a Permit

With your the learner’s permit in your hand you can start practice driving.

You must be accompanied by and under the instruction of a driver who is 21 years or older, has a valid full driver license, and is seated next to you in the passenger front seat. Under no circumstances can you drive alone.

You must always carry the permit with you when you are behind the wheel. You must also make sure that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.

The learner permit also comes with these restrictions:

    No passengers other than the supervising driver
    No cell phone use
    Night curfew between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
    No driving for compensation
    You and the supervising driver must always wear seat belts

The learner permit is valid for two years and is non-renewable. If you are not a U.S. citizen, the permit can be valid for a shorter period, depending on your legal status.

If you let your permit expire without applying for a license, you must start over with a new application and take all tests again.

Provisional Driver License

A provisional driver license is the second step in the GRAD program.

To get a provisional driver license you must:

    Be at least 16 years, 6 months old
    Have held a valid learner permit for at least 6 months
    Have no pointable moving violations
    Completed 40 hours of driving experience with a supervising driver
    Pass the road skills test

The provisional license is valid for one year and is renewable.

Provisional Driver License – Restrictions

With the provisional license you can drive alone, but there are several restrictions placed on your license.

  Passenger restriction

You can only drive with one (1) passenger that is the holder of a valid full driver license who is 21 years of age or older, occupying the passenger front seat next to you and is wearing a seat belt, and any other passenger who is your sibling, child, or parent. You cannot drive, as an example, with friends under 21 years.

  Night curfew

Driving is restricted to:

  • September – June: Monday – Thursday, 6:01 a.m. – 10:59 p.m., Friday – Sunday, 6:01 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.
  • July and August: Everyday, 6:01 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.

You can only drive during the night curfew if you are driving to or from work, a school-sponsored activity, religious or an athletic event, or related training session in which you are a participant, sponsored by the District of Columbia, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility, or if accompanied by the holder of a valid driver license who is 21 year or older.

  No driving for compensation, unless you are 18 years or older

  You and passengers must always wear seat belts

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