Considering the CDL Permit Test for your Class A License?

What are the steps you need to take to make sure you’re ready for the permit exam

When you’re studying for your CDL A Permit test, there are some important things to know – and a few steps you can take to ensure that on exam day, you're ready. 

What to Know

In order to practice on the road before completing your Commercial Driver's License test, you'll need a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP). At Swift Academy, you can earn your Class A CDL permit during the first week of school1. Though, we strongly encourage students to obtain it before arriving to school. After that, you'll be able to drive on the road with a qualified CDL holder sitting next to you. 

As a student at Swift Academy, one of the few up-front, out-of-pocket costs you're responsible for is the cost of your permit. This cost varies by state, but is generally between $20-$112. For your state’s specific amount, contact your DMV. Please keep in mind: If you need to take the CDL Permit test more than once, you'll be responsible for paying for the testing fee prior to every sitting.  

Note: Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): Prior to taking your CDL Class A test, you'll not only have to meet medical and residency requirements, but "your driving record will be checked for the last 10 years in all 50 states and the District of Columbia." 

Preparing for Your CDL Permit Exam

At Swift Academy, you can earn your Class A CDL permit during the first week of school, or on your own beforehand. By that time, you should have learned all of the information necessary for passing the written test. But even though we'll cover all the topics, it's still important to prepare for your test outside of class. Which is why we recommend:

  • Reviewing your study guide every day.
  • Complete Swift’s online course, provided by your recruiter.
  • Forming a study group with your fellow students and working on CDL questions and answers together. This way, you can learn from each other.
  • Taking a CDL practice test (or taking it several times until you feel confident that you can pass).
  • Talking to your instructor when you need help or don't understand why some answers to your CDL practice test were incorrect.

On the Day of the Test

When taking your CDL A test, don't forget to: 

  • Bring your testing fee with you
  • Bring along important documentation, like a valid driver's license, your non-laminated Social Security Card, a certified copy of your birth certificate with a seal for the State Office of Vital Statistics or equivalent, certified documentation for name change, if applicable. In addition, you'll need to bring with you United States and state residency paperwork, like an unexpired U.S. passport or passport card, a valid Permanent Resident Card, a valid, unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) and/or a valid, unexpired foreign passport with an approved I-94 form. Note that documents vary by state, contact your DMV for specific documentation needed.
  • Bring a blue or black pen (and one or two extras just in case you need them)

In addition, we always recommend that you get a good night's sleep the night before, have breakfast and relax that morning, and arriving at the testing facility just a little early so you can get settled before taking your test.

After the CDL Permit Test

After passing your test, you'll receive a permit – which you are required to have for at least 14 days before taking your skills test and converting your permit to a license. 

Note: If you do not convert your Class A CDL permit into a license within 180 days of issuance, it will expire, and you'll be required to receive another permit before taking your commercial driver's license test. However, if you have not converted your permit to a license, you can renew your permit for an additional 180 days without retaking the CDLP assessment.

At Swift Academy, we want you to succeed in achieving your goals. As part of our academy, we will help you understand the rules of the road and provide you with all the information you need to pass the Class A CDL Permit test. And, if you need help along the way, our knowledgeable instructors will be there for you. 

Find a Swift Academy near you and get started.

Swift Academy provides transportation to and from the CDLP testing facility.