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Special Needs and the Theory Test

When you book your Theory Test you should say if you’ve got special needs. In many cases, special arrangements can be made to help you during the test.

If you have learning difficulties, problems with reading or writing, or have required additional help with schoolwork or taking examinations at school or college, then you may be able to get help with the Multiple Choice Theory Test; this may be:

  • Extra time to take the test.
  • Spoken test – via the computer, (English speaking voice over using a head set is available for any test candidate – no proof of special needs is required).
  • One to one reader/recorder – where a person, provided by Pearson Vue (the company that administers the theory test), will read the questions on the computer screen word for word and then record the answer given by the candidate (they are not permitted to explain the meaning of the English language).
  • Oral Language Modification (OLM) – in exceptional cases, where the candidate has severe difficulty understanding the meaning of the language used for the test, the reader can explain the meaning rewording the questions to make them easier to understand; technical terms (e.g. anti-lock braking system) may not be reworded.
  • Private environment / separate room may also be available on request.

No special allowance is made when taking the Hazard Perception Test.

To apply for Special Needs Theory Test – if extra time is needed, if a one to one reader/recorder is needed or if an OLM test is required – the easiest way is to email your details to “DVSA/Pearson Vue Customer Care Team” (name, address, contact phone no, and driver number – from licence) and request a Special Needs Test. Attach proof of the Special Needs – a letter from School / College (stating what Special Needs provision was made when taking tests/exams) or from GP (detailing the medical condition and Special Needs requirements) on headed paper should be sufficient.

Agreement has also been reached with the British Dyslexia Association to accept the report from the on-line screening test “Spot Your Potential” as proof of Special Needs – this would be suitable for those out of education or those who have not been formally diagnosed.

For OLM tests evidence of severe difficulties in language comprehension will be required. This evidence would normally state that OLM has been required when taking exams at school or college and would take the form of a statement of educational needs from an educational professional or a report showing comprehension scores (which would need to equate to below 8 years of age) to warrant the service. For those out of formal education a report from any educational establishment attended or from a medical professional explaining the severe difficulties in language comprehension will be considered.

DVSA/Pearson Vue will consider the application and will then confirm back in writing that they have agreed to the request, this letter will give a reference number that must be quoted when booking the test. The best way to book the test is to contact the Customer Care Team by phone, quoting the reference and requesting extra time, a reader/recorder or an OLM test, whichever is needed.

If a reader/recorder or OLM test is needed the test will take place in a side room so that there is no interference or distraction from other people taking the test and so they are not distracted. If no side room is available then the test centre could be closed off for the duration of the test, in this case the waiting time may be longer. Side rooms are available at most test centres; please contact the Customer Care Team to confirm.

If any specific requirements are needed due to physical disability (e.g. wheelchair access to the building, a height adjustable desk or if a bespoke design of computer mouse is needed) these should be arranged when booking the test.

It is advised that the Special Needs request is made as soon as tuition commences. Once they reply with the reference the test can be booked, quoting the reference, whenever you are ready, there is no time limit.

DVSA/Pearson Vue Customer Care Team:

Tel: 0300 200 1188    Fax: 0300 200 1177    email: customercare@pearson.com

British Dyslexia Association:

Tel: 0845 251 9003    Fax: 0845 251 9005    web: www.bdadyslexia.org.uk