WA State Written Knowledge & Drive Skills Testing Information

To get a Washington State driver license, applicants are required to pass a written knowledge and drive skills test. Nelson Driving School, LLC is authorized by the Department of Licensing to provide both written knowledge and drive skills tests to students and non-students of Nelson Driving School, LLC. Please visithttp://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/teens.htmlfor more information.

All Applicants must pre-apply online at https://secure.dol.wa.gov/home/ provided that they don't already have a WA State ID card, Permit, or expired driver license.  We will use your (WDL) license number that they provide to enter your scores into the DOL database. 

After pre-applying please print or write down your WA Driver License number or WDL that is given to you. Your WDL number, which is provided at the time of pre-applying, permit number, WA State ID card, or previous WA license number is required at the time of testing.  Please bring a photo ID to verify your identity.  Those under 18 will need a parent with a photo ID.


​The written knowledge test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions about traffic safety laws from the Washington State Driver Guide. Applicants must answer at least 32 questions correctly in order to pass the test.

The drive skills test will test applicants’ ability to drive legally and safely. Applicants must pass the drive skills test with a score of 80 or better out of 100 possible points. Applicants must also meet the eligibility requirements for taking the driving skills test at Nelson Driving School, LLC. If you do not meet the eligibility requirements you may need to go to the Department of Licensing to complete your license testing. For more information on what applicants will be evaluated on, please visit https://dol.wa.gov/driver-licenses-and-permits/driver-training-and-testing/what-expect-your-drive-test

Scores for the written knowledge and drive skills test will be reported to the Department of Licensing electronically within 24 hours. Passing the written knowledge and drive skills test does not guarantee that an applicant will be issued a driver license. The Department of Licensing will determine if an applicant has met all licensing requirements. The Department of Licensing reserves the right to retest applicants who complete tests through Nelson Driving School, LLC. Retesting is done at random at no cost to the applicant.

Applicants may provide their own vehicles* or use a Nelson Driving School, LLC’s vehicle for an additional fee (see price listing). All of our vehicles are Honda Civics with automatic transmissions.

Before your drive test can begin, there are a few items we need to see. You will be required to show us:
• Your identification.
• Proof of current liability insurance indicating the name of the policyholder, or vehicle description, and the dates the policy begins and ends. Staff cannot verify proof of insurance by phone. Faxing insurance verification to our office may result in rescheduling your appointment.
• Hand signals.

We will also check your vehicle equipment. If any equipment is not working, we will not conduct your test. We will check your:
• Brake lights (including the center light).
• Turn signals (front & rear).
• Seat belts (must lock and unlock properly).
• License plate on front and rear (must be valid & attached).
• Parking brake.
• Windshield (checked for any items or cracks that impair safe vision).
• Passenger door (must open & close from the inside & outside).
• Driver and passenger seats must not be broken
• Driver’s door window (must roll down far enough to allow you to use hand signals).
• Mirrors (outside left & inside rearview or outside left & outside right mirrors are required).
• Tires must be road-legal
• Windshield wipers, headlights (high/low), & defrosters (if weather requires use).

Rental vehicles may only be used by licensed driver the vehicle is rented to.

Only you, an examiner, a service animal, and an interpreter for the deaf or hard of hearing are allowed in the vehicle during the test. Sometimes a supervisor or one of our staff-in-training may ride along as an observer. If you have an objection, please tell us at the start of the test.
No weapons are allowed in the vehicle.

Applicants may retake both the written knowledge and drive skills test as many times as necessary with no waiting period to pass. We do recommend that if you do not pass either test that you wait 24 hours and review the driver guide and practice your driving skills.  However, each time you retake the written knowledge or drive skills test fees must be paid. All testing fees are non-refundable.

Knowledge and Skills Testing: Frequently Asked Questions
Q-How long is the knowledge test good for?
A-2 years from the day you take the knowledge test.

Q-How long is the skills test good for?
A-1 year from the day you take the skills test

Q-Is the written test the same as the knowledge test?

Q-Is the drive test the same as the skills test?

Q-Does Nelson Driving School, LLC do motorcycle exams?
A-No, You must visit the Department of Licensing.

Q-How long is an instruction permit valid for?
A.-1 year from the date of issue

Q-How many times can a permit be renewed?
A-Once, for an additional year. See DOL for more information regarding renewing for a 3rd time.

Q.-Do I Have to be 16 years old to take the Knowledge and Drive Skills test?
A.-No, you can take both test prior to the age of 16 however you are not eligible for your license until the age of 16 and/or all requirements have been met.

Q. - How many times can I retake the Knowledge and Drive Skills test?
A. - You can take them as many times as you would like. Test fees apply to retakes.

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