CDL Knowledge Exams

All commercial motor vehicle drivers (class A, B and C vehicles) must take the general knowledge exam.

General Test Information

The knowledge exams determine your familiarity with the operation of commercial vehicles, motor vehicle laws and safe driving techniques. Exam questions are taken from the information in the Virginia Commercial Driver's Manual, which is available at all DMV customer service centers.

To prepare for the knowledge exam, familiarize yourself with all information in the Virginia Commercial Driver's Manual and take the Commercial Driver's License exam online.

To pass the exam, you must answer at least 80% of the general knowledge questions correctly. When taking the knowledge exams, select one best answer. Once you pass the required knowledge exams, you can take the CDL skills tests.

The CDL knowledge exams are given in English or Spanish on a computer (except the Hazardous Materials exam, given only in English).

You may take the CDL knowledge exam(s) only once per business day. If you fail any knowledge exam, you must pay a $2 re-examination fee if you retake the exam within 15 days. If you use a cell phone while taking an exam, the exam will be terminated and you must wait until the next day to re-test.

Additional Knowledge Tests

Check the following chart to find out which exams you must take in addition to the general knowledge exam.

To Drive this Class of Vehicle Study this section of the Virginia CDL Manual
Class A, B and C Section 1: General Knowledge
Section 6: Transporting Cargo
Vehicles with air brakes Section 2: Air Brakes
If you do not take the air brakes exam, you will be restricted to driving vehicles without air brakes (K restriction)
Class A combination vehicle Section 3: Combination Vehicles

In addition to the exams listed above, you must take special knowledge exams for each endorsement:
Endorsement Special Knowledge Exam
H - Hazardous materials Section 9: Hazardous Materials.
The hazard materials endorsement test
cannot be taken using a translator.
This test cannot be administered orally.
N - Tank vehicle Section 7: Tank Vehicles
P - Passenger vehicle Section 8: Transporting Passengers
S - School bus Section 5: School Buses
T - Double-triple trailer Section 4: Doubles and Triples

Three-Time Failure

If you fail the general knowledge exam three times at a customer service center, you must complete the classroom portion of a Virginia approved Driver Training School program for commercial motor vehicles and bring the certificate of completion to a customer service center to satisfy eligibility requirements for re-examination. You must have completed the course after the date of the third exam failure.


It is unlawful to: