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CDL Exam Study Tips

Prepping to Ace the Exam

Attending CDL training classes is just one step to earning your license. After training, you’ll need to pass the exam to officially start your trucking career. Oftentimes, the idea of studying for this exam can feel daunting, as the manual alone is almost 200 pages long, and test questions can come from any part of it. Although passing is important, staying calm and following these study tips can help to ensure you ace the exam on the first try!

Remember Studying Basics

As with many other tests, cramming right before is not an optimal plan. To avoid this, be sure to plan ahead and schedule times to prepare and study. Study guides and flashcards are simple ways of learning and recalling the knowledge you’ve gained over the course of your training. The DMV has a free study guide as well as an online glossary of terms that may be on the test.

Studying in a distraction-free environment and taking breaks can also be helpful, keeping you from getting burned out too quickly. You may also want to keep yourself motivated by creating checkpoints and earning small rewards for reaching them.

Use the CDL Manual

Get your study materials straight from the source: the CDL manual. Exam questions will come straight from there, so using it to create your own study guides can only help. Reading through it during your downtime will also help to solidify what you’ve learned during training.

Take Practice CDL Exams

Find your weak spots by taking practice exams as soon as you start studying. This will save you time, figuring out where you need to focus your energy rather than studying things you already know.

Thankfully, there are multiple sites that have practice exams available. offers a free general knowledge practice exam that can be customized to your state. Another available resource is UnionTestPrep, which contains practice quizzes on many different topics, including:

  • Air Brakes
  • Combination Vehicles
  • Doubles/Triples
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Passenger Transport
  • Tankers

When in Doubt, Trust your Instincts

Your first instinct is usually the best. If you’re stuck on a question, go with your gut. Second-guessing yourself has been shown to result in more incorrect answers and lower test scores.

For more studying tips or to get started with your Class A CDL training, give us a call at 219-336-8722 and we’ll have you driving toward your future in no time!

Updated August 2023