Driver with road test examiner in car pointing at clipboardIn Ontario, there are three different types of tests or exams that you will have to take if you want to obtain, renew, reinstate, or exchange a driver’s license-knowledge, road, and vision tests. All of these tests are conducted at a DriveTest Centre in the province and administered by a DriveTest employee. A driver or potential driver will have to take each type of test at some point in their driving lives, and we wrote a quick guide that outlines everything involved with each type of driver’s license test.

Knowledge/Written Tests

When you first begin the process of getting a driver’s license, you will have to take and pass a written knowledge test to obtain your G1. After that, drivers who are renewing, reinstating their license or exchanging a foreign license might be asked to take another knowledge test. All written tests are based on the information contained in the Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) Official Driver’s Handbook.

Here is what is generally involved with all knowledge tests:

  • Format  — multiple choice questions with 2 or 3 sections done on paper (or computer depending on the location)
  • Length  — take around 20 – 30 minutes to finish but have no hard limit
  • Languages  — G1 test comes in 20 languages, all others are in English or French, all tests have translation options that can be booked ahead of time
  • Results  — you need 80% or more to pass and your test is marked right away
  • Retries  — if you failed the test you can pay the fee to take it again right away

All knowledge tests must be performed at a DriveTest Centre in a designated room and with a designated proctor to ensure there is no distractions or cheating. If you are caught cheating or causing a disruption for other people you will be kicked out of the room, failed automatically, and lose your fee. You will not be able to re-take the test until the following day and have to pay the fees again.

Did You Know? If you have a disability that makes it more difficult for you to read the test, you can make an appointment to have a DriveTest Centre worker to read the test to you verbally. If you are at a location that has computerized tests, they also come with audio versions.

Road Tests/Driving Exams

There are two types of road tests that you might have to take-for the G2 and full G-levels of the Ontario driver’s license. New drivers must pass both driving exams before they can obtain a full license. You might also be asked to complete a road test if you meet the following conditions:

  • If you are a foreign driver you might be asked to complete at least one road test depending on your country of origin and level of documented experience
  • If you are renewing an expired license that was a G1 or G2 license, or a full G license that expired more than 12 months ago
  • If you are renewing your license and are 80 years of age or older you might be asked to pass a driving exam
  • If you are reinstating a license that was suspended 3+ years ago

No matter what level your road test is, you should arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled time with a vehicle (owned, borrowed, or rented) as it will not be provided for you.

G2 Road Test

The G2 driving exam is designed to test your basic driving skills. It lasts around 20 minutes and is performed entirely on city streets, with no testing done on any 400-series highways. The examiner will have you perform basic driving maneuvers, including:

  • Starting, stopping, turning the vehicle
  • Obeying traffic stops and signs
  • Passing other vehicles and driving in passing lanes
  • Driving through all types of intersections (with lights and stop signs)
  • Forward, reverse, and parallel parking
  • Reversing, 3-point turns, U-turns

If you are a new driver trying to get your G2 license for the first time, you have to wait 8 to 12 months after you pass the G1 written exam. If you complete a certified driving school, you can wait 8 months otherwise you have to wait the full year.

G Road Test

The G driving exam involves everything that the G2 exam does, but also tests you on more advanced driving skills-mainly, driving on highways. They last around 30 minutes and new drivers will need to have had a G2 for at least 12 months before they can take the G road test. The skills you will be tested on that are new to the G exam include:

  • Merging onto a 400-series highway at proper speed
  • Passing other vehicles and changing lanes
  • Exiting the highway

If you fail either the G2 or the G road test you will have to wait around 10 days before you can take it again. It depends on how soon you can book an available time to take the test however, so it could take longer.

If you want more information about the process and requirements for road tests you can find it here.

Useful Tip! If you complete a certified driver’s education program, some driving tutors will lend their vehicles out to you if you have no other vehicle to use in the driving exams.

Vision Test

In Ontario, you as the driver are responsible for keeping your license information up to date as far as the status of your vision. If your status changes, you have to notify the DriveTest Centre. If you don’t need glasses anymore, you will need to pass a Vision Test at a DriveTest Centre and have your vision specialist fill out a form to confirm your status. However, you might be asked at any point during your license application or renewal to complete a vision test.

Here is how the tests are run:

  • Reading a series of letters or numbers that decrease in size on the screen
  • Being shown a flashing light in your peripheral vision and indicating when you see it on either side
  • You must have no worse than 20/50 vision and 120-degree peripheral vision with both eyes open and while wearing any corrective lenses
  • If you fail the vision test you must have a special form filled out by your vision specialist before you can complete your license application or renewal.

The tests only take a few minutes, and are performed by any employee at a DriveTest Centre. You will be asked to look into a special piece of equipment while wearing your corrective lenses if you need them to drive.

Did You Know? The standard for vision you need to pass a Vision Test on your G-Class license is different than it is for motorcycles, commercial trucks, or other classes of vehicles.

Test Fees

All of these driver’s license tests have fees that you will have to pay every time you take them. Here is a breakdown of the various fees you can pay for a test or test package:

Test/Test Package Fee
Class G1 licence package (includes knowledge test, G2 road test and a five-year licence) $158.25
One Knowledge Test Attempt $15.75
One G2 Road Test attempt $52.50
One G Road Test attempt $89.25
Five-year license fee (renewal, reinstatement or foreign license exchange) $90.00
Foreign license application package (includes five-year license, knowledge test; does not include any extra testing) $105.75

You can pay them using just about any conceivable manner-cash, credit card, debit card, business or personal checks, bank draft, money order, or travelers checks.

You might also be interested in these guides:

Guide to Ontario Driver’s Licenses
How to Exchange a Foreign License for an Ontario Driver’s License
How to Renew, Replace or Reinstate Your Driver’s License