Can you cheat on a theory test?

By Alicia Jarvis
Updated on April 8, 2022


In 2018/19, the DVSA caught a staggering number of 1,522 people attempting to cheat on the theory test alone. This change was a whole 62% more than the year before. This record-breaking figure made us wonder, how easy is it to cheat on a theory test? To learn about bandage bandits and face fakers, read on!


If the DVSA catch you cheating on a theory test, you could be sent to jail or made to do unpaid work. You may also have your driving licence revoked and never be allowed to drive. So it’s not a good idea to cheat. However, some people are eager to get driving.


We’ve read into how people have tried to cheat and how the DVSA is tackling this for you. To find out more about attempts to cheat, keep on reading.


Methods to cheat

From 2013-19, we have seen an increase of over three times the amount of people that the DVSA has caught attempting to cheat on a DVSA theory test. The exact figures for this period is listed below. The drop in 2017/18 seemed promising, but the number tripled the following year. Do the DVSA need to toughen up on consequences?

Financial Year Number of cheaters
2013/14 454
2014/15 735
2015/16 672
2016/17 810
2017/18 579
2018/19 1522

When people are desperate enough; they will do anything to get a certificate, whether that is getting someone to pretend to be them or using Bluetooth headphones to gain an advantage. The DVSA is catching up with the methods, so people have to be creative.


The most common way of cheating on the theory test is to use Bluetooth headphones. Those attempting to cheat will get these headphones and then request a screen reader. A screen reader is when the computer will read the questions aloud. Then, someone outside the theory test centre will get the answer and then read it to the candidate.


You might be wondering, where do you get involved with theory test cheating? Well, in Osman Bhrelden’s case, he was approached outside a theory test centre. Bhrelden then paid the man who was waiting for him £300 in return for the headphones. When entering the test centre, he was caught and then admitted to his wrongdoings. He was fined £96 and had to pay £332 in court fees.


Another common method is to get a look-a-like to take the test for you. Surprisingly, according to an interview with Andy Rice done by the BBC, gangs use the theory test cheating market to launder money.


Andy Rice, Head of Counter-Fraud at the DVSA, said that gangs would get a range of people with different looks and “employ” them to impersonate others in a theory test. In one case, authorities found evidence of money laundering and drug and gun trafficking at the offender’s home.


One rather daring way to cheat the system is to attempt to bribe the employees at the centre. Hatice Sadir, aged 41, tried to pay the test officials £500 to feed her the correct answers. Obviously, this did not work, and she was then given a suspended jail sentence of 12 months and made to pay £2,115 in costs.


The DVSAs standpoint on cheating

The DVSA has taken a forward standing on cracking down on cheaters. Andy Rice, Head of Counter Fraud at the DVSA, has assured the public that the DVSA’s “priority is protecting everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles”. 


Hundreds of test centres have been set up with CCTV cameras in the test rooms to crack down on people using Bluetooth devices to gain an advantage over other candidates. They are also having invigilators in theory tests to spot any mischief.


Officials are not afraid of pursuing cheaters; they have arrested hundreds. They have dished out thousands of hours of unpaid work. A few examples of punishments are:

  • Abdalla Ilmi – 5 months suspended jail sentence with 160 hours of unpaid work.
  • Suwon Miah – 14 months suspended jail sentence 200 hours of unpaid work.
  • Hatice Sadir – 20 weeks in jail with 12 months suspended and made to pay £2,115 in costs.
  • Izmir Senaj – jailed for two years and four months.


Mr Rice has also said that the DVSA “will investigate them and we [the DVSA] will prosecute them”. His team involves investigators who will take any reports seriously. Investigators are needed seeming that in 2009/10, a massive 1,424 people were reported nationally for impersonating.