Getting your learners - how it works
The first stage on the journey to a full driver licence is to pass a test on the road code.
That’ll give you a learner licence, so you can get some yellow L plates you need to display on your car and start learning to drive with a supervisor or instructor. The learners test itself is multi-choice and you do it on a computer at an AA Centre. You just need to be 16 or older when you sit.
Learn the road code
You can get a copy of the latest New Zealand road code at:
Or you can read it on the NZTA website.
Learning the road code
Read a couple of pages, close the book and write down the points you can remember.
If there’s something you don’t understand, ask friends or family to help.
Have someone test you on each section as you finish it.
Make notes on any parts you find hard to remember, so you can quickly revise them again.
Create a mind map of the main topics, sub-topics and the details you don’t already know.
Make posters of things you find hard to remember and put them up around your home.
Take the road code with you when others are driving you around, so you can make decisions as if you were driving and check whether they’re correct.
Keep going back over all topics to check you still remember how to do the right thing and be safe when you start driving.
Try some practice tests
It’s a good idea to save these until you’re pretty confident you’re ready for the real thing. Our online quiz will give you a quick idea of how you’re doing. Make a note of any questions you get wrong, so you can add them to the things you need to learn. Once you’re scoring well in the quiz you can buy some official practice questions if you like. Good luck!
Apply, do eyesight screening check, book your test and pay
When you’ve learned the road code and you’re ready to book your test, just come in to see us. It’s not a phone or email thing. We can help you get the application form, eyesight screening check and licence photo done right there and then. The next available test time might be a few weeks away, so you’ll be clear to focus on final revision and making sure you’re ready to pass.
Here’s what to do:
- Find suitable ID, such as your passport or full birth certificate
- Find proof of your address, such as your bank statement or power bill
- Get a medical certificate if required - will I need one?
- Bring all the things above to your nearest AA Centre
- Fill out the application form (DL1) - you can do this ahead of time if you like
- Sign a screen so we can capture your signature for your licence
- Have an eyesight screening check - we do them onsite
- Have your photo taken by us
- Book a time to do your theory test
- Pay (about $97 in total)
Eyesight screening check
When anyone applies for a driver licence, renews one or adds an endorsement they have to show their eyesight is up to the required standard. To make this easy, our AA Centres have the equipment to give you a basic eyesight screening check, provided you have vision in both eyes. If you wear glasses or contact lenses when driving, you can wear them for the test and your licence will show you need them to drive.
Almost 97% of people pass the eyesight screening check. If you don’t pass, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem with your eyes. It just means you’ll have to get an eyesight certificate from your doctor or optometrist.
Read more about the eyesight screening check on the NZTA website.
Sit your theory test
Plan to arrive early, so there’s no chance of ending up stressed because you’re running late.
The test has 35 questions. If you answer at least 32 correctly, you pass. It’s a computerised multi-choice test. Simply click the right answer from the choices available. Take your time and read the questions carefully.
If you miss your appointment time or you get more than three questions wrong, you’ll have to re-sit. That means you’ll have to show your ID again, fill out a new application form, book a new test time and pay another test fee of $47.40.
If you pass, we’ll be the first to say ‘well done!’ While you’re still smiling, we’ll give you a temporary learner licence to use until your photo learner licence arrives in the mail. If you don’t already have them; you can also buy a pair of yellow L plates from us for $25. You’re now ready for your first driving lesson with a qualified instructor or supervisor.
For tips on learning to drive, including who can be a supervisor and what you can and can’t do on a learners, see Getting your restricted.
We recommend that you revise your knowledge of the road code when you’re a passenger. Ask the driver about give way rules, safe following distances, merging and anything else that you might not be sure about.
If you have questions about driver licensing rules or restrictions, please call the NZTA Driver Licensing helpline on 0800 822 422.