Virginia Commercial Drivers License Test

The Virginia commercial driver license test is composed of three parts, including a vision exam, a CDL written exam and a road skills test. While each CDL test is required at a different step in obtaining your Virginia CDL license, all three of these commercial driver license tests are required to be completed successfully in order to obtain your CDL license. Therefore, it is crucial that you understand the requirements for each CDL test so that you can be better prepared for your exam dates. For more information on the CDL tests, review the sections provided below.

Vision Commercial Driver License Test in Virginia

The first commercial driver license test that you will need to complete in Virginia is the vision exam. In order to successfully pass this CDL test, you must have at least 20/40 vision in both eyes, with or without corrective lenses, and a minimum of 140-degree horizontal vision. Keep in mind that if you do use corrective lenses to pass this commercial driver license test, you will need to use corrective lenses whenever you operate a motor vehicle, and this restriction will be displayed on your Virginia CDL license. If you are unable to meet the CDL test vision minimums, you may be able to apply for a disability waiver with the Medical Review Services if you have at least 20/40 visual acuity in one eye and a minimum of 120 degrees of horizontal vision. Should a waiver be granted, you will only be able to operate a commercial vehicle within the state of Virginia. Read more about CDL vision exams in our free, downloadable guide.

The Exam for CDL License Types in Virginia

The next commercial driver license test for you to take in Virginia is a CDL knowledge test that will be based upon the class of vehicle you intend to operate, and any additional CDL endorsements you will need. Your general CDL written test will cover road safety and information that is related to your specific CDL class. Each endorsement you seek – or if you are required to have an air brake restriction lifted – will require an additional CDL test.

It is crucial that you make sure that you are ready for this commercial driver license test prior to attempting, and that you have reviewed and studied the Virginia CDL Manual thoroughly. The state of Virginia has a “three-time failure” rule that would be optimal to avoid. Should you fail these CDL tests three times, you will be required to complete the classroom portion of an approved Driver Training School program, at your expense, before you will be eligible to attempt the commercial driver test again. For every three failures, you will be required to repeat the Driver Training School program.

A commercial driver license test can only be taken once per business day, and each retry will cost you an additional reexamination fee, should you attempt it again within a 15-day period. In order to pass the CDL written exam, you must score an 80 percent or better on the test. Download our complimentary guide to learn more about CDL written exams in VA.

Tips on How to Pass the CDL Exam in Virginia

This Virginia commercial driver license test is the test that most are nervous about, but it can be overcome by following a few simple tips. You should study the Virginia CDL Manual thoroughly for your CDL written exam. Make sure to review the following:

  • Sections 1 and 6: Class A, B and C general knowledge
  • Section 2: Air brakes
  • Section 3: Combination vehicles for Class A

Additionally, online resources can provide you with practice commercial driver license tests. These commercial driver practice tests can both help you study and help you determine when you are ready to attempt the real CDL written exam.

Road Skills CDL Test in Virginia

The last commercial driver license test in Virginia that you will be expected to take is the road skills test. This CDL test is a three-part, in-vehicle exam that is designed to test your knowledge and prove that you are capable of operating a commercial vehicle safely. This commercial driver license test usually takes about 90 minutes to complete, so be sure that you give yourself ample time to complete it. Ensure that you present the vehicle’s proof of insurance and registration, as well as your CDL learners permit.

Road skill CDL tests can be attempted after you have had your CDL learners permit for a minimum of 30 days, or after 14 days if you completed a Virginia-approved driver education program.

All commercial driver license tests for road skill exams must be scheduled ahead of time, and it is important that you notify the Virginia DMV beforehand if you need to cancel your appointment or reschedule in order to avoid additional fees. Make sure to bring the commercial vehicle that you intend to drive for your VA CDL test, or you may end up with the wrong type of license, as class vehicles must be tested, as well as some endorsements. You may be wondering about how to pass the CDL exam, but it is first important to understand what is going to be on this three-part test.

The first portion of the CDL test will be an inspection, during which, you will need to understand the basics of the motor vehicle you intend to operate. Not only must everything be in working order, but you will need to be able to identify different parts of the commercial vehicle. All of this information is covered in the Virginia CDL manual. The second part of your commercial driver license test will involve basic maneuvering, such as turning, backing up, coming to a stop and parking. Lastly, the Virginia DMV instructor will ride along with you in town as you follow basic directions in order to test your driving ability. Make sure that you follow all of the administrator’s instructions to the best of your ability and avoid distractions.

Should you fail any portion of this CDL test, it is crucial that you ask the instructor about your failing marks so that you can work on your areas of improvement. Similar to the CDL knowledge test, should you fail your road skills test three times, you will be required to complete the in-vehicle portion of an approved Virginia Driver Training School program before you will be permitted to retest. Review more information about CDL testing by downloading our complimentary guide.