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D1 Driving Test: Theory & Practical Training Guide

D1 Driving Test

UK driving licence categories exist for a reason. Licences aren’t created equal and for anyone looking to drive a minibus your standard category B licence won’t cut it. Passing the D1 driving test is your gateway to transporting small and large groups in the UK as it allows you to drive buses with up to 16 passenger seats. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know when preparing for this test, from the medical requirements to the theory and practical sections.

Requirements For The D1 Driving Test

To even get a test booking, you must meet the requirements for the D1. The criteria for this PCV licence are very basic. To start with, you need to have a valid car driving licence and be at least 18 years of age. You’ll also have to prove that you’re fit to drive such a vehicle by passing the medical examination. This involves completing a D2 application form and providing a Medical Examination (D4).

Check out our article,’Can I Drive a Minibus’, for more insight into the requirements for minibus driving.

D1 Theory Test

White Minibus On City Streets

The first part of the D1 test is the practical aspect. This section consists of multiple-choice questions and hazard perception.

  • Multiple choice questions: This part tests your knowledge of the Highway Code, road signs and traffic regulations with 100 questions, which you must answer in less than two hours. You need to get a minimum score of 85 to pass.
  • Hazard perception test: The second half of the theory test D1 aims to test your ability to identify developing hazards while driving. This involves watching video clips and trying to spot potential hazards. You’ll have to go through 19 video clips in 20 minutes with a total of 20 developing hazards. The pass mark is 67 out of 100.

D1 Practical Test

The D1 practical test is designed to assess your ability to safely drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats. You must have passed the theory test and have a provisional D1 licence. The practical test begins with some road safety questions from your examiner where you have to demonstrate that you understand basic vehicle safety checks, like lights, tyres and brakes.

The practical D1 test then progresses to the on-road driving exercise. In this phase, you’ll have to demonstrate that you can drive safely and competently on various road types. It wraps up with off-road exercises that require you to perform specific manoeuvres in a controlled area.

The safety questions will take 10 to 15 minutes, the same as the off-road exercise, while 1 hour and 30 mins is allocated for the on-road driving. You must commit fewer than 16 minor faults and avoid any serious or dangerous faults to pass.

See our blog post to learn about the other types of PCV licences.

Preparing For The D1 Driving Test

This minibus driving test is not exactly a walk in the park but with the right preparation, you can pass it confidently. Here are a few key D1 test tips to get you ready:

  • Professional training: Invest in professional training to get you prepared. You can sign up with a D1 driving school that has a qualified instructor.
  • Study: Prepare for the theory tests like you’re getting set for an exam. Study the Highway Code, DVSA driving test resources and review a list of potential questions, so you can avoid unwanted surprises.
  • Use secondary practice test resources: While not directly from DVSA, some websites offer mock tests to help you get familiar with the format of the theory tests. You can also take D1 training courses in anticipation of the test.
  • Master the vehicle: Familiarise yourself with the vehicle before the practical test with pre-drive checks. Check the tyres, light, fluids and brakes and master the specific manoeuvres you’ll need to perform.
  • Be confident: Stay calm and focused throughout the test. Communicate clearly with the examiner and don’t panic if you make a minor mistake.

Post-Test Process

Blue Minibus On Highway

The post-test process will vary depending on whether you’ve passed or failed. If you’ve passed, the examiner will inform you before sending your provisional licence and test pass certificate to the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA), who will in turn issue you with your full D1 licence. Expect the licence to arrive via mail within 3 weeks and you can contact the DVLA if you don’t receive it for details on how to get your D1 licence.

If you’ve failed, however, the examiner will provide feedback on your performance, highlighting areas where you made mistakes. You can re-book the D1 test online or by phone once you’re ready to re-take it. There’s no minimum waiting period, but allow enough time for practice and improvement before booking a retake.

Hire a 9-seater minibus for small-group adventures in the UK. Our 15-seater minibus option is also readily available when you need to transport larger groups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone looking to drive a minibus needs a D1 driving licence. The D1 licence allows you to drive vehicles with up to 16 passenger seats, from school buses and public transport minibuses to airport shuttles and tour buses. When combined with a Driver CPC, the D1 allows you to drive for hire or reward.

You can prepare for the D1 theory test by studying the Highway Code and official DVSA resources. Thoroughly study D1 driving regulations and rules, as well as road signs applicable to minibuses. You can also take advantage of online mock tests that copy the real D1 theory test format to familiarise yourself with the question styles.

Yes, you can use your D1 licence to drive a minibus abroad, but this is limited to European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries. The UK minibus driving licence is recognised in these countries and you can drive a minibus without needing an International Driving Permit (IDP), provided that you’re not driving for reward or hire.

If you fail the D1 driving test, you should retake it. Failing the test is only a minor setback and there are multiple opportunities to retake it and pass. Analyse the test report to understand the reason you fell short of the required standard. Dedicate extra practice time to the areas identified as weaknesses in the test report and you’ll be ready for the next test.

Yes, you can drive a car with a D1 licence. A D1 licence encompasses the categories that a standard car licence (B licence in the UK) covers. You need a standard car licence to apply for a D1 licence, which means you should be able to drive a car without even taking any extra tests.


The D1 driving test might seem like a big task, but with a little prep, it’s totally doable. The licence opens the door to numerous opportunities from becoming a pro driver to taking your friends and family on an adventure. Even if you don’t pass the first time, take it as a learning experience and you’ll be successful eventually.

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