Preparing to Pass the Illinois Driving Exam

Before you can get your Illinois driver’s license, you have to pass the dreaded Illinois driving test. That means getting in the driver’s seat next to a stern-looking examiner and performing all your critical driving maneuvers with the knowledge that a mistake could prevent you from getting your license. 

No pressure. 

If you’re feeling stressed about your upcoming Illinois driving test, the best thing you can do is make sure you’re prepared. Knowing what to expect from your behind-the-wheel exam and making sure you understand how to perform each task will help you relax. A relaxed driver can focus on the road instead of their own nerves.

So here’s an overview of what’s the one Illinois driving test and how you can prepare to pass it. 

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Your driver’s ed course will teach you all the principles of safe driving. Now you just need to practice them until you’re so comfortable driving that you won’t be distracted by the pressure of the driving examiner’s gaze.

Luckily, the Secretary of State gives advanced notice of exactly which driving tasks will be included in your exam:

  • Performing vehicle checks before driving. Adjust your seat as needed, buckle your seat belt, confirm that your passenger is buckled in, check your mirrors, and check your parking brake before starting the vehicle.

  • Backing up. Back up slowly, in a straight line, making sure to turn your head over your right shoulder to watch behind you.

  • Turning about. Use your turn signal to pull into an alley or driveway, then back out into the nearest lane when traffic permits to head in the opposite direction from which you came.

  • General parking. Pull safely in and out of spaces. This includes parallel parking spaces.

  • Parking on hills. Make sure your wheels are turned away from the curb on uphill parking and toward the curb on downhill parking. Then engage the emergency brake. Make sure you can also release the brake and pull away smoothly.

  • Generally controlling the vehicle safely. Obeying all posted signs, lights, and lane markings, use correct right-of-way practices, and use your turn signals appropriately.

A small mistake might not cost you your chance at a license, but any traffic violation will cause you to automatically fail the exam. But, even then, you’re not necessarily out-of-luck. You can go home, get more practice, and come back when you’re ready to ace the exam.

Make Sure Your Vehicle is Exam-Ready

Whatever vehicle you bring to your Illinois driving test needs to meet the following requirements:

  • Be adequately insured. You’ll need to show proof of your auto insurance before starting the exam.

  • Be road-safe. All vehicles must meet Illinois standards to even be allowed on IL roadways. 

  • Have current registration and valid front and rear license plates. 

  • Be in the weight class of the driver’s license you’re applying for.

Be Organized

Since passing your Illinois driving test is the last step to getting your driver’s license, you want to make sure you bring everything you need to get your driver’s license with you to your driving test. This means having lots of documentation plus a few extras:

  • Proof of identification

  • Proof of your Social Security number

  • Proof of what your signature looks like

  • Proof of Illinois residency

  • Payment for your license processing fees

  • Your best I-just-got-my-license smile for your driver’s license photo

If all goes according to plan, you’ll be walking out of the DMV with your temporary license, and your permanent license will be arriving in the mail in just a few weeks.

Get a Solid Illinois Driver’s Ed Foundation

Taking a good driver’s ed course will give you a solid foundation for building safe driving habits and passing your Illinois driving exam. Enroll in your online Illinois driver’s ed course today!

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