Bypassing the now defunct Driver Qualification Test (NSW)

The controversial Driver Qualification Test in NSW has now been scrapped, but old P2 drivers still have to sit it (or maybe not).

The NSW Driver Qualification Test (DQT) has been controversial since its introduction in 2000.

Questions from the knowledge section ranges from common sense questions like “what is a blindspot?” to questions on past statistics like “what’s the percentage of killing a pedestrian hitting them at 60km/h?”.

There’s also a hazard perception section where you watch dashcam footage and tap the screen when you spot hazards or when you think it’s safe to proceed.

Because the types of questions asked especially in the knowledge section, many people question its efficacy and see it merely as a revenue driver for RMS rather than a test that demonstrates driver safety.

Starting 20th November 2017, the test was scrapped as part of an overhauled Graduted Licensing Scheme. New P2 drivers no longer have to sit the test to move to a full license, however, drivers holding a P2 license issued prior to 20th November still have to sit the test.

Avoid doing the test

It turns out there’s a way around it. All you need to do is renew your P2 license first.

P2 licenses obtained prior to 20th November 2017 are valid for 30 months (and not the 36 months stated on the RMS website currently). You are eligible for license renewal 6 months prior to license expiry, meaning that you can renew your license once you’ve passed 24 months since you obtained your P2 license.

24 months is also the requirement for holding a P2 license before being able to move to an unrestricted full license.

The lady who served me at my local Service NSW was well aware of this quirk. I simply told her I wanted to renew my P2 and move to my unrestricted license — and she was only too happy to process that request.

This will set you back an extra $44 assuming you passed the DQT the first time — but there’s a non-zero chance you’ll fail the first time.

Note: This does not apply for a replacement license. You must renew your license in order to be moved to the new Graduated Licensing Scheme.

Why not just sit the test?

  • It costs $45 each time you sit the test. As per above, since there is a non-zero chance that you may fail the test, you may prefer to pay an $89 renewal fee rather than risk at least $90 if you fail the first time. It’s up to you.
  • Your time could be better spent than studying arguably pointless and outdated statistics about crashes, fatalities and injuries.

    Knowing that there’s a 70% chance (and not 80% chance) of killing a pedestrian when hitting them at 60km/h is probably not going to make you a better driver. That’s not to say all the knowledge questions asked are pointless — the Driver Qualification Handbook is still a good resource to read through.

  • Rather than spending time practicing and doing another hazard perception test, you could spend your time watch some dashcam footage of actual accidents on YouTube. Consider what you’ll do if you were in the driver’s position. You’re probably more likely to be more cautious if you watch an actual accident occur rather than simulated scenarios.
  • Your time could be better spent researching loopholes to avoid a now-defunct driver qualification test, as I have clearly done.

Kenneth Tsang

I'm the author of jxeeno™ blog and co-founder of I'm a bit of an #NBN and public transport geek. You can normally find me juggling work and my studies at UNSW where I'm currently completing a degree in Geospatial Engineering.

  • Alexandra Ferguson

    So if I was to renew my P2 now, how long would it be before I can apply for an unrestricted licence if I avoid the test?

    • tsangk

      I was able to do both in the same transaction. I simply told the person at the counter I wanted to renew my P2 to skip the DQT. I walked out with my full license a few minutes later.

      • Alexandra Ferguson

        yep i did the same thing too.Thanks

    • nandini Patel

      The new suspension and tenure extension will be applied to you as well. what thats mean ??????

      • tsangk

        Basically, the new P2 licence conditions will apply to you if you renew post-20th Nov. This includes an extra 6 months if you’re suspended. If you’re renewing for the purpose of getting an unrestricted license, then it doesn’t really apply to you.

        For more info, check the FAQ:

        If you renew your P2 licence on or after 20 November 2017 and are suspended for unsafe driving you will need to do an extra 6 months on your P2 licence before applying for a full unrestricted licence. P2 licences issued after 20 November do not need to do the DQT.