Everything You Need to Know About the LTO Driving Test (and How to Pass It) – UPDATED 2018
(Updated last May 2018 )
Getting your LTO driver’s license requires you to pass through a written and practical test. They can be quite challenging for some people, but the truth is they’re easy as long as you’re prepared before you take your exam. Here’s everything you need to know about the LTO driving exam (and how to pass it):
Before the Examination
1. Read the Revised Rules
Before you take your test, make sure to read the revised LTO guidelines for issuing non-professional drivers’ license. It’s also good to read up on what other requirements and fees you need so you don’t forget anything when you take your exam.
2. Practice the Exam Reviewer
The new LTO revisions have discontinued the lecture-type seminars they conducted before applicants take their written exams. Instead, they’ve made “all possible questions” in the test public, and are available in English and Tagalog. Many say that the English version is easier to comprehend; however, it’s always best to choose the language you’re most comfortable with.
Familiarize yourself with the reviewer questions, since many of them — especially items pertaining to street signs and symbols — are quite similar to the actual test questions. Note that the reviewer is not a substitute for the actual test itself, so don’t use it as an excuse to get lazy and rely on these materials alone.
3. Practice Hands-On Driving
It’s important for those applying for first-time licenses to practice before the actual test itself. Ask your instructor or mentor to place you on various daytime and night-time scenarios, especially when you’re in these situations:
- Parking on various streets and locations
- Driving in narrow alleys and streets
- Stop-and-go driving, particularly on uphill and downhill roads
- Driving during bumper-to-bumper traffic
- Making a U-turn, changing lanes, merging, etc.
Many of these scenarios wouldn’t come up during the practical driving test. We just want you to gain as much experience as you can so you’re more confident when you take your exam.
Important Tip: If you want to know what you’ll face during the actual driving itself, the LTO application form has an attached “Road Test Score Sheet” that lists the driving points that will be covered during the exam. You can use that as a starting point when you do your practice driving.
4. Prepare the necessary documents
Make sure to bring all your requirements when you go to the LTO. If you’re a student applying for a non-professional driver’s license, it’s important to bring your Official Receipt (OR) together with your Student’s Permit with you. If not, then you will be forced to get an affidavit of loss, which will cost you an additional 2+ hours and a P400 processing and documentation fee.
5. Give yourself a lot of time
Go to the LTO office earlier than 8:00am, possibly two hours before they open. If you’re bright and chirpy early in the morning, be there at the crack of dawn, instead. We can almost guarantee that you’ll do a lot of waiting in between each process (especially on Mondays). For instance, the waiting time for the written test can take around 1-4 hours, while the practical driving test takes an estimated 1-2 hours. Once you pass both exams, you need to wait another 20 minutes to an hour for your license to be released.
Ideally, the entire application process itself should be finished within (or under) 4 hours, tops. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for the following reasons:
1) Queuing time is slow. Aside from the basic inefficiencies and red tape involved, some LTO employees prioritize fixers before others. So applicants who pay for their “special services” are asked to wait in line before those who were already there earlier.
2) Some examinees, particularly those who started out late, are asked to come back tomorrow to finish their exams. This further slows down the entire process.
So the important rule you need to remember is this: the earlier you are, the earlier you’ll finish everything.
During the Examination
The written exam is almost at the end of the application process itself, after you get your picture taken, write your electronic signature, and pay the Application and Computer Fees at the cashier.
The standard test is divided into seven categories: General Driving Knowledge, Parking, Driving Emergencies, Handling & Driving, Road Signs & Lane Markings, and Road Position. You have the option to choose which test you’re going take: English or Tagalog.
Non-professional license applicants need to get at least 30 out of 40 items to pass, while those who are applying for a professional license need to get at least 45 correct answers out of 60 items.
How will you know if you passed? They will call your name and tell you to proceed to the waiting area for your practical driving test. And how will you know if you failed the test? They’ll call your name and ask you to go back to the examination room once again. They’ll then inform you to retake the test after a month (and you will have to go through the entire application process all over again).
Here’s a valuable tip: LTO has observed that many of those who passed the written exam studied from driving schools first. So if you want to increase your chances of passing the test, then it would be good to enroll in a driving school before you get your license.
The practical driving test requires you to drive on a designated course. There are three ways to take the test:
1. Via your driving school
If you’re taking your test via your driving school, then you don’t need to rent out a vehicle because your school will provide one for you. Often, your school’s representative will ride at the backseat, while the examiner will sit on the passenger seat.
2. Via your own own car
This is our most preferred option. We suggest you bring your own vehicle for three important reasons:
- You get a much better chance of passing the test when you’re using a car that you’re already familiar and comfortable with.
- You don’t have to spend P250 to drive a rented car that takes less than an hour to finish.
- Your already “wrangled nerves” don’t need the added stress of adjusting to an unfamiliar vehicle.
3. Via an LTO vehicle
As we’ve said earlier, you need to pay the LTO P250 to rent out their car. Some of their manual cars are old, so prepare to do an epic battle with hard clutches and pedals from time to time.
Taking the Driving Test
The instructor will ask you what your car’s restriction is before you take your exam. You should already be familiar with this, since you’ve filled it up earlier in your Driver’s License application form.
The examination is done at a driving course, and often includes driving straight on a flat and elevated road, doing tight turns, and parking. It usually takes around 15-45 minutes, depending on the driver. Once it’s finished, the instructor will give you some feedback and read you the test result. You need to get at least 70 out of 100 to pass this test.
After the Examination
You will be asked to go to the Licensing Area and pay the License and Computer Fee at the cashier if you pass the driving exam. It will take approximately 20 minutes to an hour to release your Driver’s License.
Other Tips to help you pass the LTO driving test:
- You need to pass both the written and practical exams to get your license. If you don’t pass either one or both of the tests, then you can retake the test after a month. If you fail on your second try, then you will have to wait for a year. And if you fail on your third attempt, then you will have to wait two years before you can retake the test.
- Try to go there during non-peak working days, from Tuesday to Thursday.
- Be polite when you first meet your examiner. Greet him or her good morning or good afternoon, introduce yourself, and always listen to their instructions.
- Before you begin your driving test, check your tires, adjust your mirrors, wear your seat belt, and even remind the examiner to wear his. Use your turn signals, honk your horns at the appropriate time especially if there’s another examinee in front of you, keep to your lane, and avoid over-speeding. It’s also important to take your time on the road. Many drivers fail because they didn’t take the time to slow down and think about what they’re doing.
- Practice reverse parking, since you may have to do this when returning your rental car back to its place. Or you may be asked to do one when needed.
- A few examiners complain that they didn’t pass the written exam when they were confident of passing the test. Keep in mind that LTO changes a couple of words from the reviewer questions to confuse the examiners. So the examiners think they’re choosing the correct letter, but they’re actually choosing the wrong one. So be very careful when reading the questions, especially about traffic signs. And don’t be overconfident that you know everything, especially when you know you’ve studied the reviewer carefully.
- Don’t use fixers. Not only is this dishonest, but it can lead you to accidents on the road. You’ll also spend a lot compared to getting your license legally. Fixers normally charge P700 for a student permit, P2,500 for a non-professional driver’s license, and P3,500 for a professional driver’s license. On the other hand, it only costs less than P1,200 to get your license legally–and you get to sleep with a good conscience at night. Here is our breakdown of the LTO driving test costs:
|Medical Examination||Php 100.00|
|Application Fee + Computer Fee||Php 167.63|
|Driving Test Fee||Php 400.00|
|License Fee + Computer Fee||Php 417.63|
|TOTAL COST||Php 1,085.26|
*This is an old price list. LTO changed SOME of it fees last October 2016, and still hasn’t updated it in its website. Make sure to clarify with your specific LTO branch first.