In order to be qualified as a commercial truck driver, you must take the CDL Test and obtain a CDL. Thus, this article provides general information about CDL, what it is and the requirements to get it. In addition, we also suggest some tips for you to achieve the CDL successfully. Let’s get into the CDL Study Guide and Proficient Information for Truck Drivers!


cdl study guide for trucker
CDL Study guide for Truck drivers


1. What is CDL?

CDL is an abbreviation for Commercial Driver’s License. A valid Commercial Driver’s License or “CDL” is required to operate a commercial motor vehicle in the United States. If you want to apply for a CDL, you must meet the standard requirements and those requirements vary among states. In order to know more about the CDL requirements, you can read the section below: 


>> Read more: CDL vs Non-CDL: Which One is Better for Truck Drivers?


2. What are the CDL Requirements?

In general, all the CDL license types of CDL (A, B, C) have the same basic requirements: 

  • At least 21 years old (at least 18 years old)
  • Complete driver training from FMCSA-approved training providers
  • Fill out your state’s CDL application and pay the required fee
  • Provide proof of state and US residency
  • Submit your state’s CDL Application and pay the appropriate fee 
  • Provide the US residency
  • Submit a completed Medical Examination Report Form and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form 
  • Pass a vision test
  • Pass the CDL knowledge exam
  • Obtain the Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
  • Pass the pre-trip inspection 
  • Pass the road skills and driving examination 

The fundamental standards for the various forms of commercial driver’s licenses are federally regulated, although states are free to impose extra restrictions. For instance, to drive professionally interstate, you must be 21 years old or older, according to federal law. However, many states will only give a CDL for intrastate driving to people 18 and older; verify your state’s requirements. When you’re ready to apply for your CDL and have completed your state’s CDL application, you’ll need to present verification of:

  • Social security number: Social security card, Medicare ID card, ID card from any of the US Armed Forces, etc
  • Identification: Birth certificate, US passport, USCIS American Indian Card, Military ID card, Temporary resident ID Card
  • Residency: utility bills that have the same address as your CDL application.

Went through all the steps means that you can successfully obtain your CDL. Remember that passing the CDL Knowledge Exam and the Vision Test is a must to take the CDL, and it can help you to drive under supervision. 


3. What are the CDL categories? 

In general, the CDL can be classified into classes and endorsements. In this CDL Study guide, we are going to show you both classes A, B, and C as well as the Endorsements:


3.1. Classes

CDL Class A: Any authorized combination of vehicles having a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, as long as the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is greater than 10,000 pounds.

CDL Class B: Any single vehicle with a GVWR greater than 26,000 pounds, any such vehicle pulling a vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds GVWR, or any 3-axle vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds.

CDL Class C: Any Class C vehicle that has at least one of the following endorsements:

  • Hazardous Materials (HazMat)
  • Passenger Vehicle (PV)
  • Tank Vehicle (TV)


3.2. Endorsements

Within each CDL class, drivers can also obtain additional endorsements that allow them to drive certain types of vehicles or utilize them in specified ways. To operate double/triple trailers (trucks pulling several trailers at once), buses, vehicles with air brakes, and vehicles carrying bulk liquids, gases, and/or hazardous goods, for example, endorsements are necessary. Endorsements are optional but allow CDL drivers to operate a wider range of vehicles. They are obtained by passing knowledge and/or skills exams for that specific endorsement. If a driver fails an endorsement exam or earns an endorsement in one vehicle class but not another, their CDL may be restricted. The table below illustrates 7 CDL endorsements and how they display on CDL: 


Endorsement Displays as on a driver’s license:  Description Test
A endorsement does not appear on a driver’s license Allows the consumer to drive a commercial vehicle equipped with airbrakes. In the absence of an L Restriction, the A Endorsement is assumed. Written test

Road test

P endorsement  Passenger  Allows drivers to carry passengers Written test

Road test

H endorsement  Hazardous  Allows drivers to carry hazardous materials or wastes Written exam

Transportation security administration thread assessment

N endorsement  Tank Allows drivers to haul liquids in bulk Written test
X endorsement Tank/Hazmat A combination of H endorsement and H endorsement  N/A
T endorsement  Doubles/Triples  Allows drivers to pull double or triple trailers. 

Only available for CDL class A license.

Written test
S endorsement  School bus Allows drivers to transport students Written test

Road test


cdl study guide
Tips to obtain a CDL easily


4. What are the tips to obtain a CDL? 

In this CDL Study guide, we are going to give you some useful tips to help you with your CDL Exam:


4.1. Schedule the test at the proper time

Taking the test early in the day will give you more energy and allow you to finish it sooner rather than later.


4.2. Try to observe students

The exam questions center on safe driving practices. Take note of how your family or friends, as well as other drivers, behave in certain scenarios. This will assist you in visualizing each question throughout the test.


4.3. Review the DMV Handbook

The official DMV manual has all of the answers you require, as well as all of the exam questions. Review everything from precise numbers and information to traffic signs right from the guidebook.


4.4. Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep will allow your body and mind to perform to their full capacity. With 7-9 hours of sleep the night before, you should feel completely rested for the exam.


4.5. Stay hydrated

On the day of your exam, drink plenty of water, and eat a nutritious breakfast. According to research, having a big breakfast improves test performance owing to the nutrients given to the brain.


4.6. Read the question carefully

Make sure you read each question completely when you take the test. The DMV exam questions are simple, and reading the complete question will help you select the best response.


cdl study guide truck
Read the question carefully to pass the CDL Test


5. What are the FAQs for the CDL Test?      

Furthermore, we also collect and choose the most FAQs about the CDL Test to answer in this CDL Study guide:

5.1. Do I need to have a Commercial Learner Permit (CLP) before being issued my CDL?

Yes, if getting a CDL for the first time or upgrading, a CLP must be issued first and held for at least 14 days before taking the CDL exam. 


5.2. Where can I take a CDL driving test?

You must take the skills test with a third party.


5.3. Where do I get a medical card? Can I receive it from my doctor?

Only FMCSA-certified doctors can perform the DOT physical. They will have a Federal Registration number and the proper paperwork(s).


5.4. What documents do I need for a hazardous material endorsement?

You must be 21 years of age to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement, and meet other qualifications in addition to your CDL.


5.5. How long does it take to get a CDL license?

The length of time to get a CDL license depends on a variety of factors, including self-motivation. Some candidates have obtained a CDL as quickly as 2 weeks. On average, it takes 3-7 weeks. Read the How long does it take to get a CDL for more detailed information.


5.6. Is the pre-trip inspection still required if I already have a CDL and wish to add an endorsement?

Yes, you must pass the whole skills exam, including pre-trip, basic control abilities, and driving for the following endorsements:

  • School Bus (S)
  • Passengers (P) 

For all other endorsements, no.


We have provided you with the overview information of the CDL Test as well as how to obtain a CDL license. We hope that this CDL Study guide is helpful for you and can help you determine which CDL class is the best option for you. If you are looking for a website that can help you practice for your CDL and the DMV Test, start right here on our website CDL Practice Test! In addition, we are also available on Google Play and  App Store which can help you practice on any device you want.