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Permit Test Studying Tips For Autistic Individuals

  • September 8, 2022
  • Andrew Arboe

The standard license experience has various steps that every driver needs to complete to obtain their license. These steps cannot be skipped, so it is something that must be worked through. One of the first steps before going to the road test is obtaining a learner’s permit. This permit allows someone to drive before getting their license in order to practice and obtain enough road hours to fulfill their state requirements. To get the permit, you will have to complete a multiple-choice test that tests your knowledge of road concepts like situations, state signs, and car terms. These tests are often hosted at each state’s department of motor vehicles or DMV for short. We covered tips and tricks for dealing with the DMV for those with autism in an earlier blog post. The test may have some challenges for autistic individuals due to sensory and external reasons. With that said, we are covering tips for studying for the permit test to pass!

  1. The layout of the test: As mentioned, the test covers various driving concepts for about 25 questions. Most DMVs provide the test on a computer. Any driving concept can appear in the test, meaning any question can possibly show up. The common topics that are likely to appear are road signs, intersections, traffic lights, blind spots, lane changing, highway driving, stopping distance, nighttime driving, and more. Some tests may be formatted differently by each state, but you are only allowed a few wrong answers before the test kicks you out. As long as you get 20 questions right, you will pass the permit test. Depending on your DMV location, accommodation may be available such as a headset, if you need the computer to read you the question aloud. All you have to do is ask!
  2. Study guides: Each state’s DMV has a downloadable study guide that covers the content that is likely to be on the test. It is also recommended to download one, even if you are not studying for the permit test. These guides contain everything from state laws, teen guidelines, road rules, drinking and driving, and vehicle emergencies. It is your responsibility to know your state's laws and how to be a safe driver. If you prefer a guide that is audio-based, some states’ DMVs offer it on their website. For video content, the best resource is your driving school if they have a YouTube channel. Many of these contain informative videos and show some of the driving situations in action. This can be useful to help someone develop a visual of it in their head, which will help in the actual test.
  3. Driving School Services: Schools can offer services that relate to the permit test. The most common service they provide to new drivers is their one-on-one tutoring sessions on driving content. They break it down into sizable portions to help you be able to study easier for the test. During these sessions, they are likely to go over paperwork requirements to have for the test area. Another resource some driving schools may offer is a free practice test on their website. You can do a practice test online and it serves as good study material for you to remember. Some practice tests will have you download it at home, and you can fill them out whenever you want.
  4. Other resources: Another good resource that people can access is finding study websites with quizzes to complete. One that I used during my driving practice, and I cannot recommend enough is The site offers practice multiple choice tests from all 50 states and covers almost every driving aspect. Some of the tests have about 40 questions, with some having more, and questions come with a visual as well. The best part is how you can use the materials for self-study. It explains not only what you did well when answering a question, but it tells you how you got one answer wrong. This allows you to make flashcards out of the sample questions and answers if that is a good study technique for you. You might have to try different techniques or combine several in order to find a way to study that works best for you.

Overall, the permit test can have some stress, especially for those with Autism, but it does not have to be a barrier. There are numerous ways to study for the test, whether it be through a driving school or practice tests online. You just have to find the best study style for yourself. We help autistic individuals prepare for and obtain their driver’s license and find resources. We also have a slide on this topic in our webinar series’ IEP goals session. It is one of our primary missions for Driving with Autism to empower autistic drivers to be able to overcome any challenges in the driver’s license process.

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