California CDL Practice Test

We've broken our California CDL practice tests into 16 categories which will cover the entire CDL permit exam, all of the CDL endorsement exams, and your job duties as a driver.

  • California Driving Rules & Regulations

    Driving Rules And Regulations will cover the basics like who needs a CDL, CDL classifications, CDL reqiurements and disqualifications, and why special CDL endorsements are sometimes required.

  • California Transporting Cargo Safely

    Transporting Cargo will cover the different terms related to truck and cargo weights, driver responsibilities regarding overweight trucks, the safe loading of cargo, and cargo securement.

  • California Safe Driving

    Safe Driving will cover the basics of a pre-trip inspection, basic control and backing, speed and lane control, managing space around your vehicle, and driving in poor weather conditions.

  • California Transporting Passengers

    Transporting Passengers is required for the passenger endorsement and will cover the basics of a pre-trip inspection for a bus, loading and securing passenger cargo, and school bus safety.

  • California School Bus

    The School Bus Endorsement is required in some states for driving a school bus. This section covers loading and unloading passengers safely, bus inspection, and regulations for passenger transport.

  • California Air Brakes

    Air Brakes will cover the various parts of an air brake system, air brake inspection, proper braking techniques, the differences between air brakes and hydraulic brakes, and stopping distance.

  • California Combination Vehicles

    Combination Vehicles is a requirement for driving a tractor trailer and will cover combination vehicle air brakes, coupling and uncoupling trailers, and combination vehicle air brake inspection.

  • California Doubles And Triples

    Doubles And Triples is an endorsement needed to pull double trailers or triple trailers and will cover coupling and uncoupling of doubles and triples, inspection, and air brake tests.

  • California Tankers

    Tankers is a required endorsement to pull tanker trailers or large totes of liquid and will cover the pre-trip inspection of tankers, tanker loading, and safe driving for tankers.

  • California Hazardous Materials

    Hazardous Materials is an endorsement required to pull hazardous cargo and covers labels and placards, loading and unloading hazardous materials, parking and routing, and emergency response.

  • California Pre-Trip Inspection

    Pre-Trip Inspection will cover the inspection of the outside of the truck, the air brake system, inspection of the trailer, engine start and check, and driver responsibilities.

  • California Driving Exam

    Driving Exam will cover the reqiurements for passing the CDL driving exam, the CDL driving exam scoring system, upgrades and downgrades, and the basics of the driving exam itself.

  • California Logbook Rules

    Logbook Rules is not a requirement for the CDL permit or endorsements but it's critical for doing your job. This is a very thorough section which covers all of the rules governing the logbook.

  • California Weight Distribution

    Weight Distribution is not a requirement for the permit or endorsements but is critical for doing your job. It will cover cargo loading, weight distribution, fuel calculations, and center of gravity.

  • California Flatbed Cargo Securement

    Flatbed Cargo Securement is not required unless you're pulling a flatbed. This section covers tiedown components, securing devices, working load limits, and requirements for different types of freight.

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California CDL Resources

Here are more resources related to getting your CDL in California:

Requirements to Apply for a California Commercial Learners Permit

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Obtain a California Noncommercial Class C DL (a temporary/interim DL is acceptable)
  • Complete a Commercial Driver License Application
  • Visit a DMV office (appointments are recommended)
  • Complete a 10 Year History Record Check form (DL 939) if you have been issued a license in the same or different name to operate any type of motor vehicle in another state or other jurisdiction within the previous 10 years
  • Submit a completed Medical Examination Report Form (MCSA 5875) and Medical Examiner’s Certification Form (MCSA 5876)
  • Provide proof of your social security number. It will be verified with the Social Security Administration while you are in the office
  • Verify your Identity
  • Present your acceptable residency document (more information below)
  • Pay a nonrefundable application fee
  • Give a fingerprint scan
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Have your photograph taken
  • Pass the applicable knowledge test(s)
  • If applying for a REAL ID CDL, you must provide proof of your Identity, SSN, and residency from the list of acceptable REAL ID document options
    • A REAL ID can be used to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility that requires identification, including after the new federal requirements begin on October 1, 2020
    • Get more information on the California REAL ID here

What are California's Residency Requirements to apply for a Commercial Learners Permit?

You must provide one form of acceptable residency when applying for an original California driver license. When using a mailing address that is a post office box or general delivery, you must provide an actual place of residence on your application. The address on the residency documents must match the residence address on your application.

Examples of Residency Proof:

  • Rental/lease agreement with signatures of the owner/landlord and the tenant/resident
  • Mortgage bill
  • Home utility bill (including cellular phones)
  • Complete Residency Documents List can be found here

What is the Cost to get a California Commercial Learners Permit?

  • Class A or B
    • Original license - $76
    • Driving or skill retest - $35
    • Removing an air brake or automatic transmission restriction (requires a driving test) - $76
    • Adding a passenger endorsement - $76
    • Adding endorsements tank, doubles/triples or hazmat - $45
  • Class C
    • Original license - $45
    • Driving or skill retest - $33
    • Adding endorsements tank, passenger or hazmat - $45
  • The fee is good for 12 months. (If all requirements are not met within 12 months, the application will no longer be valid and you must reapply.)
  • You get three attempts to pass each of the required knowledge tests. If you fail the same knowledge test three times, the application will no longer be valid and you must reapply
  • The fee also allows you a total of three attempts to pass the entire skills test (vehicle inspection, basic control skills, and the road test). Important: If you fail any segment of the skills test, all other testing will be postponed and it will count as one failure towards the maximum three attempts you are allowed. You must pay a retest fee of $35 for subsequent test(s) and schedule the skills test for another day. If you fail the skills test three times, the application will no longer be valid and you must reapply
  • If you are required to have a commercial driver license as part of your job, your employer shall pay the cost of the examination unless it was performed before you applied for the job (CA Labor Code §231)

Testing Locations and Hours

Commercial Licenses are handled at the following locations:

  • Arleta
  • Bakersfield
  • Bishop
  • El Centro
  • Eureka
  • Fontana Commercial Driving Test Center
  • Fremont
  • Fresno Commercial Driving Test Center
  • Gardena Commercial Driving Test Center
  • Lancaster
  • Modesto
  • Mountain View
  • Rancho San Diego
  • Redding
  • Salinas
  • San Luis Obispo
  • Santa Rosa
  • Santa Teresa
  • Stockton
  • Ukiah
  • Ventura
  • W Sacramento Commercial Driving Test Center
  • Yuba City

California has many offices throughout the state. Click here to find the latest location and hours information.

To allow you sufficient time for testing, DMV will not administer knowledge tests within 30 minutes of closing. See hours of operation for the field office you are visiting.

How long is the Commercial Learners Permit Valid?

Is valid for a maximum of 180 days from the date issued, and may be renewed for an additional 180 days, provided the CLP expiration date does not exceed a period of one year from the initial application date. (If you present limited term legal presence documents, your CLP may expire on the same date as your legal presence documents.)

Commercial Medical Examination

Commercial drivers in interstate commerce and drivers applying for, or who hold, a certificate to drive a School Bus, School Pupil Activity Bus, Youth Bus, General Public Paratransit Vehicle, or Farm Labor Vehicle must use medical examiners listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry). The National Registry is a Federal program establishing requirements for healthcare professionals that perform physical qualification examinations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. This program was developed to improve highway safety and driver health by requiring medical examiners be trained and certified so they can determine effectively whether a commercial driver's medical fitness for duty meets federal standards. Contact information for medical examiners is available online at the National Registry website. The National Registry website can be found here

After completing a commercial medical examination, applicants will need to submit the Medical Examination Report form (form 5875) and a Medical Examiner's Certificate form (form 5876) when applying for an original commercial learner’s permit. The forms must be dated within the last 2 years. School bus drivers 65 years of age and older must submit a new medical report to DMV every year.

The forms must be completed by one of the following providers who is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners as clinically competent to perform the medical examination:

  • U.S. licensed doctor of medicine (M.D.)
  • Doctor of osteopathy (D.O.)
  • Licensed Physician Assistant (P.A.)
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (A.P.R.N.)
  • Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.)

The medical examiner will complete and sign a Medical Examiner's Certificate for you to carry when you are driving commercially. You can be given a citation for driving out of class if you drive a CMV after your certification expires.

A commercial driver who does not pass the medical examination may qualify for a California intrastate restricted medical certificate (DL 51B). These drivers must submit a Medical Examination Report to DMV showing they did not pass the medical examination in order to be considered for an intrastate restricted medical certificate.

What Information is on the California Commercial Learners Permit Test?

You must take 1 or more knowledge tests, depending on what class of license and what endorsements you need. If the applicant is adding an endorsement, but not upgrading to a higher classification, waive all knowledge and endorsement tests that were completed or waived on the previous application, including HazMat, if the new application is started within 12 months of the previous renewal date or original CDL issue date.

The CDL knowledge tests include:

  • The general knowledge test, taken by all applicants
  • The passenger transport test, taken by all bus driver applicants
  • The air brakes test, which you must take if your vehicle has air brakes, including air over hydraulic brakes
  • The combination vehicles test, which is required if you want to drive combination vehicles
  • The hazardous materials test, required if you want to haul hazardous materials as defined in CFR, Title 49 §383.5. In order to obtain this endorsement, you are also required to pass a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check
  • The tank vehicle test, required if you want to haul any liquid or gaseous materials in a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or chassis
  • The doubles/triples test, required if you want to pull double or triple trailers. (Triple trailers are not legal in California.)
  • The school bus test, required if you want to drive a school bus

Military Test Waiver

Through the Troops to Trucks program, the DMV is making it easier for personnel trained by the military in the operation of heavy vehicles to obtain a civilian commercial driver license. A commercial driver license is required in California to operate large trucks and buses.

The Troops to Trucks program allows the DMV to waive the CDL driving test for qualified military service members who are, or were employed within the last year, in a military position requiring the operation of a military motor vehicle equivalent to a commercial motor vehicle on public roads and highways. Waiving the driving test requirement streamlines the CDL application process for service men and women and eliminates the need to provide a commercial motor vehicle. The driving test will not be waived for a school bus and/or passenger endorsement.

You can get more details on the program here

Other Important Information

  • CLP is only valid when accompanied by the CLP holder’s valid California DL
  • CLP is limited to the following endorsements:
    • Tank (N
    • Passenger (P)
    • School Bus (S)
  • Holder with a CLP containing an “N” endorsement is prohibited from operating a tank vehicle unless the tank is empty. The tank must be purged if it previously contained a hazardous material.
  • Holder with a CLP containing a “P” endorsement and/or “S” endorsement is prohibited from operating a CMV with passengers, other than federal/state auditors and inspectors, test examiners, other trainees, and the accompanying CDL holder.
  • Holder must be accompanied by a California CDL holder while operating a CMV. The CDL holder must possess the appropriate class of CDL and endorsements necessary to operate the CMV.

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