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More Californians fulfilling DMV testing requirement online
1-10 DMV
A total of 48 services are now available online through the DMV, up from the 20 offered just a few years ago, in 2019.

The days of taking the driver’s license knowledge test with paper and pencil while sitting in a crowded California Department of Motor Vehicles office now belong to the dust bin of history. Since scrapping the paper test about a decade ago, Californians now test their knowledge of the rules of the road on touchscreen modules at DMV offices and, as of last year, can also do so from the comfort of their own home. And for the test-adverse, there even is a no-fail option.

The new remote testing options are becoming increasingly popular. This year, Californians applying for a driver’s license or renewing a license with a testing requirement have taken more than 537,000 online tests and nearly 200,000 no-fail eLearning courses. This represents an average of nearly 45,000 online exams and 18,000 no-fail eLearning course each month, saving time for thousands of California drivers who must also visit a DMV office.

“The no-fail eLearning course and online knowledge exam are examples of how the DMV is providing convenient service to customers when and where they want,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “As we continue our path to a digital-first organization, the DMV is committed to reducing the number of transactions requiring an office visit. This reduces time spent in an office both waiting and taking care of business, when an office visit is needed.”

The DMV has more than doubled the number of services available online (from 20 in 2019 to 48 today), cut transaction times by two-thirds, removed obstacles so staff can process transactions more quickly, and empowered customers with the tools they need for a smooth experience if they do visit an office – where wait times are now just a fraction of what they were just a few years ago.

Introduced in 2022, the online exam option was initially available for eligible Californians over 18 years old. In September 2023, the DMV expanded eligibility to Californians under 18 years old who need a driver’s license and individuals moving to California from out of state who need to take a driver’s license knowledge test.


Online Knowledge Exam

The online test is offered in 35 languages to customers who have an internet-enabled computer or laptop with a webcam. It is available between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding state holidays. The test cannot be taken on a tablet or mobile device.

As a fraud-prevention measure, online test participants are required to verify their identity and agree to be monitored throughout the exam.

The test can be attempted online twice. Customers who fail both attempts will be prompted to go to a DMV office to take the test a third time. All questions come from the California Driver’s Handbook and are from the same pool whether taken online or at a DMV office.


Interactive No-Fail eLearning Course

Instead of a remote version of the traditional knowledge test, customers renewing their driver’s license with a knowledge test requirement can choose to take an interactive eLearning course with seven interactive modules featuring educational videos that reinforce the rules of the road to improve driver safety, including short quizzes after each module. If you don’t pass the quiz, simply go through the module another time and try again.

The self-paced eLearning course can be taken on a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device and is available 24/7. It is currently only offered in English and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. This is an ideal option for people who have trouble with exams or prefer an alternative learning method.

After completing the no-fail eLearning course or online exam, customers may still need to visit a DMV office to provide required identity and residency documents, take a photo, provide a thumbprint, complete a vision screening and be issued a licensing document. However, by completing the course online, customers can greatly reduce the time to complete the remaining requirements at a DMV office.


Remember, most DMV tasks can be completed without an office visit using DMV Online Services.