Knowledge test

Before we will grant a hackney carriage or private hire driver's licence, we require the applicant to pass our knowledge test, to assess their geographical knowledge of the borough and the skills and knowledge they will need as a licensed driver.

To request a first knowledge test booking, please download and complete the form below, and return it to us. Details of the test fees payable can be found on our Licensing fees and charges page.

 Knowledge Test request form (PDF 349KB)

Our current knowledge test includes three components, details of each of which are available from the drop-down list below.

Expand all

  • Local and legal theory test

    Candidates will be required to pass a written test, covering locations of well-known destinations, routes and licence conditions/byelaws. Tests will be held every month, subject to demand, but must be booked in advance.

    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).

    The test includes 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).

    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 - 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 question Q: Greenway First and Nursery School (Berkhamsted)
    A: Crossways 
    Pass marks 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 eight 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 question Q: Westron Gardens to Okeford Drive (Tring)
    A: Mortimer Hill, Brook Street, High Street, Christchurch Road
    Pass marks Hackney carriage applicants must answer a minimum of 33 questions correctly out of the total 43 to pass section B.

    Private hire applicants must answer 15 correctly from the Hemel Hempstead questions and a total of eight from the Berkhamsted, Tring and Other Areas questions to pass section B.

    Section C - Conditions and byelaws

    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 our Hackney Carriage Byelaws and Vehicle Licence Conditions, or our Private Hire Driver Conditions and Vehicle Licence Conditions, as applicable.

    PDF file Hackney Carriage Byelaws and Vehicle Licence Conditions (PDF 184KB)
    PDF file Private Hire Driver Conditions and Vehicle Licence Conditions (PDF 27KB)
    Pass marks Applicants must correctly answer 15 out of the 20 questions about the byelaws 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, so 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 will be payable. Candidates who can demonstrate that they have previously completed an English-language qualification at a suitable level will be exempt from the additional assessment - see below for further details on previous qualifications.

    The assessment consists of a 20-minute exercise, taken by telephone from our 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 five sections:

    1. Reading several sentences from a printed list in the order instructed
    2. Repeating back sentences that are read to you over the phone
    3. Answering simple questions asked over the phone
    4. Constructing sentences from fragments read to you over the phone (sentences divided into three or four parts)
    5. 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.

    Previous qualifications

    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. 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 and Guilds or similar vocational qualification (level 2 or higher)
    • Higher education award (for example a degree, HND or HNC)
    • 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)

    Technical or IT-related qualifications are unlikely to be acceptable for this purpose. We will be looking for qualifications which include a significant amount of verbal or written content in the English language.

    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.

  • Advanced driving qualification

    All candidates will be required to successfully complete the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency's taxi driving test. This is an advanced driving assessment, during which a professional driving examiner will mark your driving ability and style, as well as your ability to perform various manoeuvres common to taxi driving, including identifying safe stopping points at which to pick up or set down passengers. You will also be asked a number of driving theory questions, including some on the law around taxis and private hire vehicles.

    On passing the test, you will be awarded a certificate, and a permanent record will be made on the DVLA database. Some insurers may offer discounts on taxi and motor insurance products to holders of the certificate.

    For further details on this test, or to book an appointment at a local test centre, please see the DVSA taxi driving test page on Gov.uk. A fee of around £80 will be payable directly to the DVSA for the assessment.

    The nearest DVSA test centres offering the taxi test are St Albans, Watford, Luton, Aylesbury and Borehamwood, although you may get an earlier appointment if you do not mind travelling further afield.

    Please note: We only require applicants to complete the ‘private hire’ DVSA test, even if you are applying for a hackney carriage licence. The ‘enhanced hackney carriage’ test includes an assessment of your ability to load and secure a passenger in a wheelchair, and requires a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, which most applicants will not have access to at the time of application.

    Other driving qualifications

    We will consider accepting other advanced driving qualifications in place of the DVSA qualification on a case-by-case basis. However, Pass Plus will not be accepted for this purpose.


Changes to the knowledge test

We are looking to make certain changes to our knowledge test later this year, including changing the local and legal theory test from a paper exam to a computer-based test, and testing additional skills relevant to working as a taxi driver. We will update this page with information about the new test when it is available.