Preparing to Take the CDL Test: Three Things You Can Do to Get Ready

Posted on: 13 July 2016

The commercial driver's test, or CDL, is your key to starting a career as a truck driver. There are several things you will need to do to prepare for the exam. Use this helpful guide to get ready for your test, and give yourself the tools you need to be a successful truck driver.

Enroll in a Truck-Driving School

One of the easiest ways to prepare for the CDL is to enroll in a trade school that offers truck-driving and CDL courses. You'll learn things that can help you pass the test as well as skills that will help you to become a skilled truck driver. Some of the topics that are covered might include

  • How to fill out your log book
  • Defensive driving skills
  • How to back up, hitch a trailer, and make wide turns
  • How to perform inspections on your rig
  • How to read the instruments on your dashboard

Take a Practice Test

Practice tests can sometimes be found online through your secretary of state's office, or you can find them at the back of many driving manuals. If you are enrolled in a trade school, taking a practice test may even be part of the curriculum. The practice test will prepare you for the types of questions that will appear on the test so you won't be left feeling unprepared the day of your exam.

Make Sure You Meet the Qualifications

You'll want to make sure that you meet all federal guidelines for acquiring a CDL before you take the exam. You can get a CDL at the age of 18, but you'll need to be at least 21 to cross state lines or to transport hazardous materials. The examiners will need to review your driving record to determine if you are eligible to get a CDL. Certain driving infractions, such as a recent DUI or a previously suspended license may prevent you from obtaining a CDL. You'll also need to provide medical records indicating you are fit to drive. In some cases, certain physical conditions may prevent you from becoming a licensed truck driver. You can check with your state to find out the specifics of the rules regarding truck drivers where you live.

If you are enrolled in a trade school, your instructors will help you with all the steps you need to prepare for your exam. Be sure to read through all the requirements for drivers in your state before you enroll so you are ready to get on the road with your truck-driving career.

Talk to organizations that do CDL testing, such as the Center For Transportation Safety, for more information about the test.