Getting to a test centre without a car isn’t an easy task. Countless people miss their theory tests due to troubles with travel. Read on if you want to learn about the future of theory tests.
In the UK, you can’t take an official theory test online, but you can book it online. The DVSA told us that ‘there is no plan to implement online testing, as the theory test needs to be taken in a controlled area in a test centre.’ Some countries, such as Ireland, are experimenting with an online driving theory test.
We have already spoken to the DVSA, and they clarified that there are no plans to add online testing. To save you time and undue stress, we’ve researched this area. If you would like to dive deeper into the details of online theory testing, this is for you.
Places you can take a theory test online
In Ireland, a new technology called ProPoctor has been introduced for driving theory tests. This technology allows learners to take a theory test in the comfort of their own homes. But is this a good thing?
At first sight, the idea seems great. With minimal requirements such as:
- Windows 8.1 or 10
- A working microphone
- A working webcam
- Enclosed, decluttered room
To find out more about their conditions, please go here.
It seems that it’s easy to get going. Surely, with being in the comfort of your own home, you are less stressed. There’s also less chance of missing a theory test, primarily due to transport.
Although these requirements are minimal, not everyone has this. Think about the Apple users amongst Irish learners; what will they do? Not everyone has a webcam or microphone lying around the house. Read on to find out a way to solve this issue.
Some of the public have sent negative reviews about the system. A quick search on Reddit found these reviews:
- ‘Online theory test is a joke.’
- ‘Waiting for a proctor for an hour and a half
- ‘Couldn’t get in contact with IT.’
These are just a portion of the negative feedback given on Reddit alone. For example, one user was at the point of breaking down because of the lack of IT support which led to them not being able to finish their theory test.
With 96% of the 225 current reviews on Trustpilot being a ⅕ star, we are immediately sceptical of whether or not it is the future of testing. One reviewer says it is the ‘worst service ever’, others saying that they have ‘useless customer service.’
As mentioned above, the IT teams seem to be lacking; they were not available to reconnect a dyslexic customer who had no help getting back into their test.
One previous worker has said that ‘they don’t care about you’. If even their workers have a negative attitude, why should we trust them to allow drivers on the road?
Is all this stress worth the luxury of being able to take the theory test from your own home? This may be the case if you are required to isolate or are nervous about the test environment. But, for most, it is probably best to stick to the old-fashioned face-to-face test that we’ve been relying on for decades.
How to prepare for a theory test online?
There are ways to prepare yourself pre-online theory test. They have some requirements such as a decluttered and closed room. We will give you the top tips to help your theory test run smoothly. Some of the things you need to make sure you do are:
- Clear your room and desk of pens, paper and devices
- Make sure there are no posters etc. that can help you present
- Be alone. No person or animal can enter the room during your test.
- Remove all outerwear (parkas, heavy coats) from the immediate area
- Not eat, drink, smoke or chew during the test
- Not turn off any lights or audio
- Have appropriate ID ready
If your room is especially cold and you are wearing a jumper or scarf, the agent may ask you to put them on your chair. We recommend keeping your room warm and as comfortable as possible during your test. Without hindering your test, obviously!
Make sure to take all of the requirements above seriously. If not met, an agent may forfeit the test for you, which loses you the fee. Many things may go wrong, and hopefully, the agent will mention anything wrong.
Another thing that you shouldn’t ignore is preparing for the content. Just because the theory test is online does not make it any easier. There are many ways to prepare for your RSA theory test. A popular way is to complete practice tests. You can find a practice test here. In addition, the RSA recommend using their complete online theory test practice kit.
Purchase you may need for the online theory test
For your ProPoctor test, you will need:
- A computer or laptop with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10
- A single monitor with a resolution of at least 1024 x 768
- The latest version of Google Chrome
- A webcam with a minimum resolution of 640 x 480p
- An internet connection with at least 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds
Hopefully, you have a computer or laptop with the right operating system. But, if you don’t, we recommend asking people you know if they can lend you one. We recommend making a new account on their computer if you borrow one to not interfere with their files. Failing this, we would suggest an ASUS Laptop. For £139.99, you get a Windows 10 laptop with a three-year warranty and enough power to do daily tasks.
For webcams, all you need is a cheap one. Of course, as always, you could ask around to see if anyone has one. But if not, for just over £15, you can pick up the SANSCO 1080p Full HD Webcam with Microphone; this covers both webcam and microphone. So at this price point, you get a high definition webcam that you can use for more than your online test.
There’s not much that you can buy to help your internet. If you are struggling greatly with internet speeds, it may be best to go down the traditional route and go in person.
Suppose you don’t already have Google Chrome. It is free software that is very easy to install and use. To install, visit this website and download the application. After that, it will walk you through the steps.
What happens during the online theory test?
The new online era of theory testing is confusing for some. So we’re here to break the ProPoctor system down for a (hopefully) smooth running day of testing.
On the day of your test, you will be sent a link to their online theory test. You will then need to perform a ‘System Readiness Check’, which checks the following:
- Screen resolution
- Operating system
- Download & upload speed
If any of these are flagged, you will be allowed to change your settings to fix them. If at any time you need assistance, there is a support team who will be happy to help (hopefully!).
However, you can not quickly fix some of the issues. One of these is using Windows 8.1 or 10. If you do not have one of these available to you, you are either going to have to borrow one or go into a test centre. Another could be not having a webcam, and this is why we suggest purchasing a webcam with the correct resolution before your theory test. If all else fails, please contact their support team and ask their professional opinion.
After a successful readiness check, you will download the ProPoctor application. You will have to check-in via facial and provisional proof following this. You will need to show your face and provisional (or equivalent) to proceed.
An agent will then greet you to perform a security check, ensuring you are who you say you are. After that, you will have to complete a 360-degree environmental assessment. This assessment includes showing your entire room. Quick tip, make sure that you do not have more than one monitor working as this may cause issues.
The check may include:
- Your desk
- Behind any monitors
- Under desk
- All walls
- Under beds
After the environmental check, the agent will ask you to search your sleeves, pockets, and glasses. This check is to make sure you do not have any notes. Assuming this goes swimmingly, you will take your test whilst the agent monitors you. If there are any issues during the test, you can ask the agent for assistance.