Before we will grant a driver's licence to a hackney carriage or private hire driver, we will require the applicant to pass the council's Knowledge Test, to assess the applicant's geographical knowledge of the Borough and of the skills and knowledge they will need as a licensed driver.
We are currently changing our knowledge test arrangements, and the test you will be required to take will depend on when you first applied to us. Please click on the relevant link below to go to the details for the appropriate test:
To request a first knowledge test booking, please download and complete the form below, and return it to us.
Local and legal theory test
Candidates will be required to take a paper test, which covers locations, routes and licence conditions/byelaws. Tests will be held every month, subject to demand. A non-refundable fee of £40 will be payable for each test taken.
The test consists of three different sections, and the questions in each paper are selected randomly from our database, so every test taken will be different from the last. Applicants have up to two and a half hours to complete the entire paper. Once the test has started, no breaks are permitted. All three sections of the test must be passed, but section passes from a previous attempt will be carried forward and will not have to be taken again on subsequent attempts.
If an applicant fails all three attempts within a year they must wait a period of three months following the final test before re-applying (previous pass marks will not be carried forward when making a renewed application).
A thorough knowledge of the whole of the Dacorum area is required in order to pass the test - it is not enough to simply know only part of the borough. Applicants must keep their knowledge of the Borough up to date with current changes within the Borough - for example, new businesses or change of names of public houses/schools etc.
Please note that we do not provide example test papers or learning packs.
Section A - Places
This section tests the applicant's knowledge of locations of named buildings and places. Buildings likely to appear in this section include schools, pubs, restaurants, sports/leisure facilities, hotels, shops, residential homes, churches, police stations, clubs, museums, council offices, railway and bus terminals, colleges, hospitals and other places of public interest. You will be asked to name the roads or streets on which they are found.
Example of Section A question
Greenway First and Nursery School
The paper consists of questions covering the whole of the Borough, with sets of questions for Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, and Other Areas (which includes Kings Langley, Great Gaddesden, Bovingdon, Chipperfield, Felden, Flamstead, Aldbury, Potten End, Friars Wash, Frithsden, Wigginton, Little Gaddesden, Long Marston and Markyate).
Hackney carriage applicants must answer a minimum of 33 questions correctly out of the total 43 to pass section A.
Private hire applicants must answer 15 correctly from the Hemel Hempstead questions and a total of 8 from the Berkhamsted, Tring and Other Areas questions to pass section A.
Section B - Routes
The questions in Section B give the name of two different roads. Applicants will be expected to describe the shortest, most direct route between these two places, naming all the streets and roads on the route they are taking.
Example of Section B question
Westron Gardens to Okeford Drive
Mortimer Hill, Brook Street, High Street, Christchurch Road
Applicants will be asked the same number of questions per area as in Section A, and will need to answer the same number of questions correctly to pass.
Section C - Conditions
This section tests the applicant's knowledge and understanding of the conditions and byelaws they will be subject to if they are granted a licence.
When booking their first knowledge test, applicants will be given a copy of either the Council's Hackney Carriage Byelaws and Vehicle Licence Conditions, or the Council's Private Hire Driver Conditions and Vehicle Licence Conditions, as applicable.
Hackney Carriage Byelaws and Vehicle Licence Conditions (184kb)
Private Hire Driver Conditions and Vehicle Licence Conditions (27kb)
Applicants must correctly answer 15 out of the 20 questions about the bylaws or conditions in order to pass Section C.
Communication skills assessment
We expect all licensed taxi and private hire drivers to have a sufficient command of the English language that they can communicate freely and clearly with passengers and officials, including in stressful situations. Applicants are therefore required to undertake an assessment of their communication skills, for which an additional fee of £28.80 will be payable. Candidates who can demonstrate that they have previously completed an English-language qualification at a suitable level will be exempted from the additional assessment - see the section on previous qualifications for further details.
The assessment consists of a 20-minute exercise, taken by telephone from the council's offices, during which candidates will be tested on various aspects of their speaking and listening ability. The assessment is provided by a specialist education and testing company, and consists of 5 sections:
- Reading several sentences from a printed list in the order instructed
- Repeating back sentences that are read to you over the phone
- Answering simple questions asked over the phone
- Constructing sentences from fragments read to you over the phone (sentences divided into 3 or 4 parts)
- Answering open questions asked over the phone (speaking for up to 30 seconds per question)
The test is entirely automated, and questions will be asked by a variety of voices. All of the questions will relate to normal life and your day-to-day activities, and there are no trick questions, although some will require you to think and compose an answer in a short space of time.
At the end of the test, a report will be produced (a copy of which will be provided to you), with a score indicating your overall ability. You will also be graded separately on sentence usage, vocabulary, fluency and pronunciation, all of which will contribute to the overall score.
For licensing purposes, we will require candidates to score at least 56 out of 80. This indicates a good overall ability in use of the English language (equivalent to level B2 on the CEFR scale), where candidates will be able to speak fluently on a range of everyday topics, and be able to give and understand most instructions.
Candidates who can demonstrate (by producing the original certificate and/or examination transcript) that they have previously passed a relevant English-language qualification at a suitable level, which was assessed by a recognised and accredited qualification awarding body, will not be required to take the additional speaking and listening assessment. Because of the number available, it is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of all the qualifications that will be accepted - however, typical examples may include:
- GCSE or GCE O-level (grade C or higher) or Scottish Intermediate 2
- GCE A-level or Scottish Higher
- NVQ, BTEC, City & Guilds or similar vocational qualification (level 2 or higher)
- Higher education award (degree, HND, HNC, etc)
- qualification equivalent to any of the above, issued by a recognised examining body in an English-speaking country other than the UK
- a TOEFL, IELTS or ESOL qualification at CEFR level B2 or higher (or equivalent)
In all cases, the licensing officer's decision as to whether to accept a qualification not listed above will be final. If a candidate does not hold one of these qualifications, or cannot produce acceptable evidence of the qualification, they will be required to undertake the speaking and listening assessment.