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Driver Training for Three Exam Failures

Driver's license applicants, including CDL drivers, who fail the knowledge exam or road skills test three times will be required to successfully complete the applicable knowledge or in-vehicle component of a driver education course before they can take the examination a fourth time.

  • Persons failing the knowledge test must take the classroom component of driver education.
  • Persons failing the road test must take the behind-the-wheel component of driver education.

Classes taken at a driver improvement clinic do not meet this requirement.

About Driver Training/Education Programs

Driver education programs are available statewide to students, adults and out-of-school youths. Public and private school programs are approved by the Department of Education. Driver training schools follow the same course content and are licensed by DMV.

The program consists of 36 fifty-minute classroom periods of instruction and 14 fifty-minute periods of in-car instruction (7 periods of driving and 7 periods of observation, including the final road skills examination).

If you are unsuccessful in passing the exam a first and second time, before re-taking the exam, study the driver's license manual; if you hold a learner's permit, practice your behind-the-wheel skills with a licensed driver or a driver training instructor. Additionally, if you failed the exam three times, you must complete the driver education class after your third failure.

Driver's Manual Course

You have the option of completing a DMV approved 8-hour course based on the Virginia driver's manual (i.e., Driver's Manual Course) exclusively for satisfying the three-times-failure requirement. This course is available at a driver training school. Please see the age-based requirements below.

If you are age 19 and older, you may opt to complete the driver's manual course. The completion date of the driver's manual course must be after the date that you failed the knowledge exam for the third time. When you have successfully completed the course and have provided DMV with your certificate of completion, you can re-take the knowledge exam.

If you are under age 19, you may opt to complete the driver's manual course if you have previously completed the classroom component of driver education. Before you can take this course, you must present your certificate of completion for the classroom component of driver education to the driver training school conducting the driver's manual course. The completion date of the driver's manual course must be after the date that you failed the knowledge exam for the third time. When you have successfully completed the course and have provided DMV with your certificate of completion, you can re-take the knowledge exam.

You can find a list of schools offering this course at Driver's Manual Course Training Sites.

Find a Driver Training School

To locate the driver training school that is closest to you, refer to Driver Training Schools (Three Exam Failures) by District.

Additional Information

DMV is committed to promoting transportation safety through the certification of quality driver training programs.

For information about the laws governing driver training schools, refer to the Virginia Driver Training School Regulations.

If you have comments or concerns about this course, call our toll-free number: 1-877-885-5790.