There’s a world of reasons why you might want to become a truck driver. But there are a few hurdles you’ll have to jump through before you can get started in your new career. Few of these hurdles intimidate more would-be truckers than the CDL exam. This written exam has been a necessity for truck drivers to pass since 1992. Today, we’ll arm you with the information you need to pass it.
Learn the Structure of the Exam
Before taking any kind of written exam, it always pays to familiarize yourself with its structure first. Even though you won’t know the exact questions going into it, you won’t be too caught off guard if you have some idea of what to expect.
First of all, you should know that the written portion of the CDL exam will be multiple choice. You will be presented with 4 potential answers to a question, and should select the most accurate response.
Next, keep in mind that the exam will be broken up into 7 components. Each of these are essential knowledge for truck driving. Here’s what each of these will test you on:
- General Knowledge
- Various endorsements (x5)
- Air brakes
Learning as much as you can about each of these components will give you your best shot at successfully passing the exam.
Study the CDL Manual
Your best ‘study guide’ for preparing for the CDL exam comes in the form of the CDL manual. Each state should have their own version of it. Here is a link to Maryland’s. You should study it up and down, as it contains all the information you will need to pass the test.
The idea is not just to read the manual from cover to cover. Read it slowly and carefully, focusing on the areas you are the least familiar with. Read those sections repeatedly. If you find that information just won’t stick, flashcards are a great study tool you shouldn’t hesitate to use.
Use Practice Tests
When preparing for the CDL exam, there’s no better resource than practice tests. There are more of these around the web than you can shake a stick at. Simply do a quick Google search for “CDL practice test,” and you’ll see a slew of good results.
Practice tests won’t give you the exact questions of what will be on the exam, but they’ll give you a decent sense of what to expect. If you find that you’re successful on the practice tests, then you can expect yourself to do well when you encounter the real deal, too.
Focus on Your Weak Points
We hinted at this earlier, but it deserves repeating: there’s no use studying what you already know. Instead, you should focus on your weak points and study what is the least familiar to you. Over the years, countless CDL exam takers have failed to pass the test for this one simple reason.
We know—it’s easier just to focus on content you’re well-acquainted with. But you’re doing your future self no favors when you fall into this trap.
Truck driving comes with many challenges—long hours, loneliness, and insufficient sleep. If you think you can handle that challenge, then you can handle the challenge of passing your CDL exam, too.
Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star for all Your Trucking Needs!
Whether you are looking to upgrade your fleet to tow trucks or simply interested in the latest trucking technology, you can rely on Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star. We have provided top-notch service for the trucking industry for 30 years and would love to assist you in buying a new top-of-the-line truck, finding the specialty parts you need, or repairing your truck. Give us a call toll-free at 800-832-7278 or locally at 410-685-4474, or contact us online. To find out more about what we are up to, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.