Monday, April 7, 2008

Look out L.A., Jason's got his driving learner's permit and he's not afraid to use it...

Hoorah! We passed the Californian written driver test!!
Jason outside the Glendale,California DMV officeAll is well with the world once more! Break out the Speed Racer Movie teaser posterbubbly and let the cry go forth that Jason is taking to the streets. Watch out Speed Racer, there's a new kid in town!!*

*Obviously, that's not the case at all and I'll be model citizen driver and will keep within the Californian speed limit at all times.

Phew - I'm glad that's all over! It felt like taking GCSE's and A-level's all over again. At least with those I'd been studying the subjects pretty much every day for a few years, all this driving lark is quite new to me.Speed Racer movie promo poster

And how did I do, I hear you cry. Well, it's fair to say that I aced the test!! Does it get any better than 100%?!?

I'm so relieved to actually pass that I'd have been happy to have scraped through with the 6 or fewer that you're allowed to get wrong when you're applying for the first time.

We went to our local DMV office in Glendale to take the test, driven by our lovely relocation expert, Julie, and got there earlier than my 2.30pm appointment time. The place was busy, but the lines were moving quickly enough.

My number was called and as always, not having a working visa and social security number complicates things, whilst people scurry around checking how they should process you. You pay your $28 for the exam and to process your application and then it's off to give your thumb print and get your photo taken digitally for your licence (when you 100% scored California Driver's exam papereventually and hopefully pass).

After that you line up to take the test and are called in one by one (to a pokey little partitioned area), given your exam paper with the 36 questions, take a pencil and off you go to fill it out.

It was quite a novelty for me as I got to sit in the American classroom style chairs, with the arm rest for writing on (hope that description makes sense, if not watch an episode of any American kids TV show or High School movie).

Luckily, the test is multiple choice, each question has a choice of 3 possible answers (obviously with only one of them being correct, but they are quite sneaky and there's some trick and cunningly worded questions in there too, well I thought so anyway).

I checked and double-checked my answers, managed to pick up on a question I'd forgotten to fill in (thinking to come back and re-read it later), plus deciding to rub out and change my answer to question 31, which was all about road markings and merging for left turns, with a diagram, which to be honest looks pretty much like all the road diagrams to me.

So it looks like, 31 is my new lucky number, so use that in your lottery ticket and see what you get!!

You hand in your completed test sheet and you wait a minute whilst they checkJason in Hollywood outside Glendale DMV office with 100% exam paper it, which seemed to take forever. By this stage, Charlie, also taking the written test had caught up to me in the process (even though his appointment originally for 3pm) and was finishing up his test, whilst I was waiting with Julie for my results.

They called my name and the relief I felt when I heard that I'd passed was amazing (I really didn't want to come back and take this written test another day, especially as it wouldn't bode well for my driving future in L.A.). Charlie also passed (yay!), although he had a different set of questions, getting only two incorrect.

My advice to anyone planning to take this test is to read the latest edition of the California Driver Handbook, (we had both the 2007 and 2008 edition and the 2008 edition was much easier and better structured to read), take the online sample driver written tests of which there are five, plus try the online tutorial several times as it's a great visual reference (especially for a complete learner like me) and changes the questions it asks you each time.

So tonight it's champagne to celebrate (but who needs an excuse, eh?, but you do have to celebrate these things) and tomorrow's task will be finding a Driving School and Instructor to take me on.

Look out world, I've got my permit in my pocket and I'll be behind the wheel and not afraid to turn it (and even more of a result it'll be a manual, so none of those tricksy gears)...

p.s. how lucky were you all to get two blog entries today!?! Well don't get used to it I can't be this witty(!) and creative every day...


Charlie Mouse said...

So champagne tonight, but since we are both over 21 (sadly...) we must make sure we stay under 0.08% blood alcohol concentration folks...! But who knew in California at first conviction you only get a fine and not have your license revoked as you would in the UK..?! (That's one mistake I made on the written test...) And apparently you will fail the behind the wheel test if you "feed the wheel" whilst turning - something that we would FAIL the UK test if we DIDN'T do!! Honestly, the Governator needs to take a 2nd look at the rules - no wonder there are some crazy drivers here...! That and driving on the right, of course - what's that all about...?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to both of you!

I'm surprised you had a paper test, though...the testing center in Hollywood converted to a computer-based exam several years ago so I assumed they'd all changed.

Please let us know when and where you'll be doing your practice driving sessions, so we can make sure to avoid the area! (There's a driving school that apparently loves my neighborhood as there's a student driver almost every day when I run home for lunch. I guess that's the price I pay for living in a relatively quiet (for L.A.) and traffic-free area!)


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