Tips on the CDL Class B Exam

The typical class B vehicle is a heavy single truck with no trailers.
The typical class B vehicle is a heavy single truck with no trailers. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Federal law dictates that motorists obtain a class B commercial driver's license (CDL) to operate any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds or more or any combination of vehicles where none of the trailers have a GVWR in excess of 10,000 pounds. Class B CDL testing splits into four different sections, with one written examination and a three-part practical test.

Find a CDL School

Search for the best truck driving school in your local area. Find a school within the state of the license you wish to obtain as they will have good knowledge of your state's individual regulations relating to CDLs. For example, if you want to gain a Florida CDL, find a school in Florida. Inform your chosen school that you wish to gain a class B CDL and complete your course of training.

Study Your State's CDL Manual

Study the CDL manual from your state. Find an online copy of your state's CDL manual or visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office to collect a hard copy. Read all of the information in the manual, as it will help you with both the written and practical aspects of the CDL examinations, but pay particular attention to the manual's class B license section.

Practice Tests

Search through the wealth of online resources preparing drivers who are about to sit the CDL written examinations. Complete practice CDL tests online and mark your own test papers to see where you made mistakes -- this will help you ascertain your weak points and revise them more thoroughly prior to sitting the written exam.

Written Test

Start your CDL examinations by sitting the written examinations. Examinations are very similar from state-to-state, but both exam content and pass rate is determined by each individual state's department of transportation. Find out the pass rate for your exam (usually around 80 percent) to give yourself confidence before sitting the exam. The exam is composed of a large number of short, multiple choice questions, so you should guess at an answer even if you do not necessarily know the correct answer -- you will not be punished for incorrect answers.

Practical Tests

Complete CDL testing by passing all three practical elements. Start with the pre-trip inspection, where you must identify the basic safety features and mechanics of the truck as you lead the examiner through a walk-around tour of the class B vehicle. Move on to the off-road maneuvers exam, where you will sit beside an examiner in the cab and have a maximum of 10 minutes to conduct maneuvers such as straight line backing. Finish practical testing by undergoing the on-road exam, where you will be joined by an examiner as you negotiate everyday traffic.

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