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jordym84's avatar

What steps do I need to take to get my license?

Asked by jordym84 (4742points) September 24th, 2013

I’m hoping to get my driver’s license within the next month or so but I’m not too sure how to proceed. I live in Orlando, FL where I’m required to take a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course, which I’ve already completed. My next step is to take the written test but I don’t know how to study for it! I desperately need to have a car by the end of the year but I’m just so frustrated with myself. I’ve tried and tried to read the driver’s manual but the material is so dry and monotonous that I’m having a hard time getting through it as I keep getting lost in my own thoughts. Besides, my work schedule has been so hectic (working mandatory overtime every week) that, even if it were the most interesting material in the world, I still wouldn’t have the time to read it.

As soon as I’ve passed the written test, I’m going to enroll in a driving school for practical lessons.

What do I need to know for the written test and how can I study for it? Are there any online resources that can help me? How much studying would it take for a quick learner to pass the test? (I’m off on Thursday and I was hoping I could do a crash session tomorrow – Wednesday – and go in on Thursday for the test…not sure how realistic this is, but I won’t have another day off for a while).

The DMV book just isn’t doing it for me and I’m getting more and more frustrated with myself. Help!!

I asked a similar question a while ago, but this time I’m seriously desperate!

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18 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

I haven’t seen the book for Florida but if it is anything like the one in Oregon you can get through it in about two hours. You do need to read the book and comprehend it. I did and I failed but on my second try most of the questions were the same so I passed.

Turn off your phone and computer and xbox and go to the park and read the fucking book. Get away from distractions.

If you can’t even focus long enough to read the book you probably shouldn’t be driving.

jordym84's avatar

@johnpowell I was so not looking for a bashing!!

Not that it’s really any of your business, but the only “distraction” in my life right now is work. I can live without my phone, I’m hardly ever home to even go on the computer, I don’t own a TV as there is never anything on that I would care to watch, and video games are not my thing (I’ve never even owned a video game console). So there, now you can stop misjudging me. And your last sentence was absolutely uncalled for.

I downloaded and printed out the FL manual and it is LONG! I used to live in RI and the book there is much smaller and way more straight-forward.

JLeslie's avatar

@jordym84 Do you have an RI driver’s license? I’ll assume not, but if you do you may not be required to do all the testing. When I moved to FL years ago I had to do everything even with a license from another state, but things have changed over the years. Also, havong a license from another state will make reading the FL handbook go fast because you will already know a lot of laws and you will be reinforcing the.

Word of warning, make sure you bring all the ID’s they require when you go to motor vehicle for your license. The requirements are ridiculous now. Multiple forms of ID needed.

Just read the book and take notes, actually write down notes of specifics you don’t know by heart already. Writing it will etch it into your mind. It is a lot of detail, but a lot of it is easy. Here is a link to a FL DMV practice test. Maybe the handbook has practice questions too? I didn’t look at it. You can do it in two days. Do two hours a day block out the time.

They almost always ask about putting on lights in the rain (I think they changed this law to wipers on lights must be on. The old rule was rain drop on the windsheild lights on, but it might have changed again). When can you change lanes when passing (literally you might need to know how many feet). Four way stop questions. Shapes of road signs. What does a flashing red light mean. The differences between white solid line, dotted line, yellow double line, etc. yeah, you have to read through the whole book.

Have someone quiz you. Your mom, boyfriend, whoever is around.

Judi's avatar

I looked online for practice tests but couldn’t find any free ones. That’s crazy. Maybe someone else is a better googler than me.

johnpowell's avatar

So.. What the fuck do you want? A crib sheet? Seriously, take the test and fail it. Take it again the next day. If it is like our tests here it tells you what the right answer is when you miss a question. Remember the right answer.

This isn’t hard.

And I do stand by my last sentence. I downloaded the pdf of of the manual in Florida. It is 53 pages long. The one in Oregon is 128 pages. Granted, we use a bigger typeface.

You could have read it by now.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I personally think you’re going about this backwards; taking the driving course after you take the test. As practical as the safe driving course may be, it teaches a lot of what you need to know to take the written test, but whatever.

Here is the 2013 Florida driver’s handbook online—they don’t offer hardcopies anymore. Pay special attention to Steps 1 and 3 on pages 8 and 9: Primary Identification Requirements and Proof of Residential Address. These requirements have become much more stringent since 9/11/2001 and require extra documentation which will be closely scrutinized. Pages 8 and 9 will tell you what documents you need to have with you at the DMV in order to sit for your license test. A call to your local DMV will accomplish the same thing. Study the book. It is not difficult. The test difficulty can be judged by the morons you will be on the road with. But it is a bit embarrassing to have to go back and take the test twice—inconvenient as well, unless you enjoy waiting around all smiling faces at the DMV. So, read the book. And do us all a favor, be a conscientious driver.

Good Luck.

JLeslie's avatar

Do you have an appointment with DMV on Thursday? Or, just going to show up?

@Judi I linked a practice test right above your post.

DWW25921's avatar

The best way to pass a driving test is look at the questions and take the most logical answer. I never studied and I passed with 90 something my first time. Just relax and don’t over analyze the questions. My first license was in Florida, I’m sure you’ll do just fine.

JLeslie's avatar

@DWW25921 People fail the test all the time.

DWW25921's avatar

@JLeslie Yes they do. I suppose for me, being a nerd helps. I pass every test I take. Maybe “test taking” should be a class! Most tests are just pure logic and if you get a few of the factual questions right too, you’re golden. When I was in school, I found that the more relaxed I was the better I did.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m a great test taker also. But, many people aren’t. There are test taking classes. I don’t know if there are general ones, but there are for SAT, ACT, I took one when I took my real estate exam. I assume there are general test taking skills classes. People screw up tests all the time just because they did not really read the question well.

The DMV test can be tricky.

DWW25921's avatar

@JLeslie I think you hit the nail on the head about reading the questions well. Sometimes, if it’s a long question I’ll skim it and make a guess on an assumption. (Wrong!) You are very correct, reading everything before you answer helps a lot!

Sunny2's avatar

I find it useful to write down the details I need to learn. Numbers, in particular. Speed limits in different zones, for example. Writing it down seems to reinforce it in my memory.

Judi's avatar

On multiple choice questions there are usually two answers you KNOW are wrong. Eliminate those. After you eliminate two, and take your first guess. Yes I said FIRST! Studies have shown that if you’re guessing the right answer is usually your first guess.
I’m a great test taker too.

snowberry's avatar

I’m guessing that the OP is not fond of reading in the first place. And having boring material for such a person to read when they’re tired is indeed hard.

I still think you can do it. Lots of great suggestions above. Go get ‘em!

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t like to read either, so I empathasize. But, the rules of road are actually interesting in my opinion. Some of them anyway. People think they know everything, but they don’t.

My sister was just complaining a month ago that she will never be a passenger with a friend of hers again. Her friend is constantly angry at other drivers and she is the one who is wrong. She doesn’t know the laws for right of way, but she thinks she does. I hate to think she finally learns when she gets cited for an accident, God forbid.

jordym84's avatar

Thank you guys for the great suggestions! I took some practice tests online and, for the most part, I only got 1 or 2 answers wrong. I’m familiar with road signs/rules and whenever I’m in the car with my friends, they test my knowledge which I’m just now realizing has been very helpful.

The funny thing is, I’m an avid reader and can get through books that interest me in no time. I guess my issue with this manual is the way in which it is written, especially the text format (2 dense columns of information per page).

What I wanted to know is whether I really need to read the book cover to cover to successfully pass the test. I desperately need to get my license soon so that I can buy a car because the public transportation around here is quite bad.

snowberry's avatar

Yes, read the manual cover to cover. I remember taking one test that had some trick questions in it. I was quite irritated because I had to read those questions over and over to really get the meaning. For example, some states allow left turns on a green light when traffic allows. Others make you wait until you have an arrow directing you to turn.

So the format bothers you. Scan it into your computer or photocopy it and enlarge it so it is easier to read. If you’re handy, you could probably even reformat it yourself so it’s in a format that works for you.

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