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Taking the Spanish Driving Test

- Updated: 19/07/2013
Taking the Spanish Driving Test

As in most Countries, learning to drive in Spain can be an expensive thing to do, with the average price for a session being around 25€ an hour - additionally you will require further classes to learn the theory, and these can cost up to 30-35€ a month or a one-off fee of around 300€.

Once you have completed both your Practical and Theory training, you will then need to pay for the Exam Fees. In the UK this payment is made for each test that you undertake, whereas in Spain the fee allows you three attempts at passing (However this only allows for 2 attempts for each type of test.) The fee for taking your test is currently approx 165 Euros. If you should happen to fail either of the tests you will generally have to wait around a month before you can take the test again.

One notable difference for learner drivers in Spain is that there is no such entity as a provisional licence – which means that there is no opportunity to practice driving on the road with anybody other than a qualified and approved driving instructor.

The Theory exam in particular is known to be quite difficult as the Spanish Highway Code is very extensive – one of the most detailed in Europe, and has about three times as the amount of content as the UK. On top of that a learner driver is expected to know a certain amount about Car Maintenance and first aid skills. It is surprising that, despite having one of the most rigorous testing procedures in Europe, Spain has one of the very worst road safety records – second only to Portugal.

The theory exam is structured around multiple choice questions – out of which the pass criteria allows just 10% of the answers to be incorrect. It is widely known that most learners fail the theory test for no other reason than simply misreading or misunderstanding the question. It is necessary to pass the theory test before you can go on to take the practical test.

Be aware that the actual practical examination is conducted in a completely different way to how you would expect (at least if you are familiar with driving tests in the UK). The Instructor and Examiner will both be in the car with the student, however it is also possible that other candidates will be too – the examiner simply asks for the various drivers to change around as he chooses and makes his pass / fail decision at the end of the journey.

Assuming that you pass the exam you will be given a green and white L-plate to display in your rear window. For the following first 12 months you can not drive aboven80kph and for the first two years you can not drive with an excess of 0.3g Alcohol in your Blood ( as opposed to 0.5gm for other drivers ). in your native language at this time, you're troubles are nearly solved.

You may be lucky enough to find an Examination Centre that offers the Test in your own language, if not, you will have to take it in Spanish which can be difficult due to the advanced technical questions. The test consists of 40 questions - you can only choose not to answer 3 of them and can fail no more than 4 of them, and some of the questions are lengthy and designed to catch you out. If you should fail the test, don’t expect to be told your overall result or the questions that you failed on – you will just need to re-sit the exam again at a later date in order to proceed. Many native Spanish fail the test the first time themselves, and you should be especially proud of yourself if, as a foreigner, you are able to pass the theory test at the first attempt.

In some cases you may be successful in putting forward a case for reasons as to why you should be considered leniently ( IE your lack of fluency in the language) and this may be to your benefit, however it is easy to understand why many learner drivers choose to take a crash course in the UK in order to obtain their full European driving licence.

Comment on this Article

Hi there, I have just passed my driving test and am not sure what happens next! Can I drive on the temporary license or do I wait until the full license arrives. Thanks
Susan Platt - Wed 14th Feb 2018
This info is out of date. I'll write a blog about my experience soon. I passed my Spanish theory test first time today!!
Ruth Dauris - Tue 14th Feb 2017
after how long till we can do practical after pass theory in spain?
Ali - Thu 5th Nov 2015
I am doing my driving theory test next week and can say their are only 30 questions not 40
Karen - Sun 27th Sep 2015
Pat - UK Highway code says that changing gear on a roundabout is ok "where appropriate" - IE Safe to do. So (and assuming that DGT in Spain follows th same logic) it is down to the Examiners personal interpretation of is deemed to be "safe"
Old Timer - Sun 19th Jul 2015
I failed my driving test as I changed from 1st gear to second gear on a roundabout. Is this right?
Pat - Sat 18th Jul 2015
Spanish Driving Test comprises of two criteria : Firstly, MCQ Exam and the second is PRACTICAL Exam. First you need to take a medical test that would cost around 60 euro (you will be provided in details about it once you register in a Driving School). Overall price (cost may vary) : My recommendation for New Learners For Practice - 1 Full Session : 90 mins would cost around 60 euro and minimum recommended Full Session would be 20. (excluding the one that will be provided by the Driving School, they may charge you 100-150 euro for registration and would provide with at least 2 Full session) MCQ - I believe the Driving School will provide you with Books & Materials (according to your desired language). For registration - 90 euro to DGT for 3 Attempts. Thank you.
Selfless - Mon 31st Mar 2014
Hector Balboa - Thu 1st Aug 2013
please can some one help me my hubby passed is test in spain and im trying to get him a uk liecence and i need a spain number so i can sort it before he can get a uk licence
Alan Wayne Davies - Thu 4th Jul 2013
@Brendon - We are definitely renown for being the best in sports and world famous in terms of tourism.... but as long as the law is weak and mediocre nothing would ever improve and things would always get impaired in the years to come by if the people are still imprudent.... Thanks for sharing your point of view bro!
Lance Klusener - Wed 19th Jun 2013
Although the world is witnessing how Spain is clobbered and suffering from high unemployment and its reputation is however not only defamed but businesses are closing simultaneously. Hilariously they have found a new way to revive their economical situation by failing applicants mercilessly and on countless attempts. It is quite funny they heavily rely on the rules and very strict when it comes to observing signals and pedestrian crosses but ironically Spain has the most horrifying road system in the entire Europe. I would like to urge the bureaucrats to give special importance on this and rely on practical and logical system rather than implementing and imposing things that are irrelevant. One of the other factors is, most examiner I have found out or heard are mostly disrespectful, rude, impolite and they tend to fail applicants for simple errors. Me along with one Aussie and UK citizen failed thrice and certainly was not an experience to be proud of. God bless Spain.
Brendon - Tue 18th Jun 2013
Amazingly useful article, covers exactly what I needed to know in a clear, concise, non-biased way. Thankyou very much!!!!
Morwenna - Fri 16th Nov 2012
this statement is no longer true and was abolished summer time in 2011 "For the following first 12 months you can not drive above 80kph "
Adam Jackson - Tue 29th May 2012
Hey, I'm originally from England and i am i taking my driving tests in Spain as of current. I've found the theory work quite easy, the structure of the theory classes were broken down into 23 modules which is an hour per module including the 30 question practice examination on each module. the whole of my theory work was all in translated for me into English however some of the questions and they way they're phrased was hard to understand due to the English not being perfect but it was good enough and i passed me theory examination first time with only one question wrong. The practical driving was a whole different ball game! the instructor has to speak spanish too you because the examination will only be spoken in spanish so you have basic spanish, however my instructor was very helpful using drawings in the first few lessons and i was very surprised how fast i learned the key words. ~booked my driving exam june 11th!
Adam Jackson - Tue 29th May 2012
It is probably very satisfying to succeed in taking a driving test in Spain, in Spanish, as a non native-speaking foreigner, but I can certainly understand why it would be tempting to take/pass the test in one's own country, specially if it is in the EU. Funnily enough I first passed a driving test in Morocco, where I lived at the time; this was in the early 1970s - they had the same theory/practical split as in Spain and one could not take the practical test until the theory test was successfully passed. I took the test in French - apart from driving lessons (from an excellent elderly French instructor), I had private one-on-one tuition in the Highway Code from one of his Moroccan assistants, as my French was already pretty good and I was much younger then, so picked up new ideas more quickly. I'm pleased to say I passed first time (Casablanca is a very busy city to drive around), much to the chagrin of one of my office colleagues, a young Moroccan who failed his test seven times.
Bill - Mon 23rd Apr 2012