The First Big Test — Getting the Class A CDL Permit


Air Force veteran Rich Brule is the director of the Ft. Wayne C1 campus. Read more from

CDL Permit TestBeginning a new career can be nerve-wracking, and sometimes it’s difficult to know what to expect when you get into a classroom for the first time in a decade or more.

Today, I’m going to give you some insight on the first big hurdle students will encounter at CDL training — passing the written tests and getting a class A CDL permit.

Preparing for the Classroom

The advice I have for students who have not had to study in a long time is to think about what method worked for them in the past. Some people have to write down what they are trying to memorize, some people use flash cards, others like to read the same thing over and over and over until they see it in their mind’s eye. The most important thing is to be “mentally” prepared to study. No method will be fully effective if you have distractions affecting your concentration.

Preparing yourself to be mentally ready starts long before you arrive here! Some of the distractions that will hinder your progress can be situations at home with family, finances, your rent, etc. Trying to resolve these distractions while you are at C1 will be very difficult since you will not have much time in your day to focus on these issues. Planning ahead will be a great first move.

The Importance of Studying on Your Own Time

When I go into the classroom on Monday mornings to welcome the class to the school, I make it a point to stress the importance of studying while at the hotel. Simply put, if you do not study while at the hotel, without question you will struggle trying to pass some of the BMV test(s). You must get a passing score on the required test(s) in the classroom. Additionally, you must pass the BMV test(s) in order to get your class A CDL permit to drive the trucks. If you do not get a passing grade on your classroom test, you will be required to return to the classroom the next week to sit through the lesson again and retake the test. This takes away from the time you could be in the truck. Additionally, if you fail to get your permit before the Monday of your second week, you will have to make trips to the BMV until you pass the test, again negatively impacting your time behind the wheel of the truck. Not a good situation for any student to be in.

The Best Way to Study

My advice for studying effectively is being proactive. As soon as you know you are coming to this school, you should access the Indiana BMV website, access the available drivers manuals, download them (print them if necessary) and begin studying them before you arrive here. Arriving with even a little advantage you’ve gained from reading this information will be a great first move. A way to test your knowledge and see if you’re retaining the information is to use the eGears course available to the student. I think this is a good measuring tool, but the majority of studying should be done with the BMV manual. Often the environment you are in at home works to your advantage. Arriving in a new town and meeting a group of new people can be distracting and often can affect what you might think are your priorities in your new environment. Getting this head start will certainly be an advantage!

Permit Test Study Tips

Advance preparation is very important in preparing to go through our school. Make sure you bring all the necessary documents you are told to bring, make sure to take care of all your personal issues before you leave home and make sure you come prepared for a fast-paced three weeks. The challenges will be great and the time will go by quickly. If you are prepared to do your part, we as a staff will guide you along to a successful and rewarding accomplishment…your CDL and new career! You will quickly build new friendships with your classmates and are encouraged to build study groups and help each other get through the course. Knowing you are all here for the same reason and facing the same challenges will be a way to build friendships! The support you will get from the staff and from the other students will help build confidence. Believing you can do it is huge in your success!