Taking The LTO Driving Exam? Here’s How To Ace It

9 min. read By Kia Navarro on

Before you are allowed to drive on the road, you need to get your license. And before you get your license you need to earn it. How? By passing the Land Transportation Office (LTO) driving exam.

Think you are ready to take your first LTO Driving Exam? Before you head out to take the test, it helps to come prepared. Here are the things you need to know before taking your driving exam.

Types of LTO Drivers Licenses And Exams

It is mandatory that all drivers in the Philippines pass the LTO examination, which consists of two parts — the written exam and the practical test.

There are three different types of driver’s license that are offered here in the Philippines. We’re going to run down the types of licenses as well as the license application procedures.

The types of licenses determine the type of vehicle you can drive and even the circumstances in which you are allowed to take on the road. Make sure to take note of the differences to make sure that you’re applying for the right type of license.

IMPORTANT: No matter the type of license you are applying for, never go to a fixer outside of LTO. These are illegal and you could get into serious trouble. It is always better to get your license through the procedures that LTO has provided.

1. Student Permit

A student permit is issued to student drivers. A student permit allows you to drive on major and minor roads, for as long as you are accompanied by someone with a Non-Professional or a Professional driver’s license.

As the name implies, this license is meant to allow someone to learn how to drive under proper supervision. If you enroll in a driving school, you will need a student permit.

Keep in mind that you are not allowed to drive on your own. As long as this is the driver’s license issued to you, you are still considered a student, even if your driving skills are beyond that of a student level.

After having a student’s permit for a month (and have used it to learn how to drive), you will be allowed to apply for a Non-Professional Driver’s License. We will talk more about what that means later on.

Application Procedure

Who are eligible?

  • Must be 17 years old and above
  • Must able to read and write in either Filipino, English, or both.
  • Applicant must be both mentally and physically fit to be able to drive/operate a motor vehicle
  • Applicant must not be involved with drugs
  • Applicant must not be an alcoholic

If you are a foreigner:

  • The applicant must have stayed in the Philippines for not less than a year

What are the requirements?

  • Download and fill-up the LTO Application for Driver’s License (ADL) Form: https://ltoexam.com/downloads-forms/. You can also request for a copy at the nearest LTO Office
  • Bring the original and photocopy of your birth certificate that should be duly authenticated by the National Statistics Office (NSO)
  • If you are below 18 years old you must have a written and signed consent letter from your parent or guardian. You need to present the original and a photocopy at the LTO along with an original and a photocopy of the parent/guardian’s valid government-issued ID (their signature must be present on the ID)
  • Medical Certificate that states that you are mentally and physically able to drive/operate a vehicle. If not, it should state the impairment

If you are a foreigner:

  • The applicant must also bring the original and a photocopy of their passport that has an entry date of at least one month
  • The duration of the applicant’s visa must be at least one year from the date they applied for the permit

How to apply

When applying for the Student Permit, the only thing you have to do is to pass all the requirements at the nearest LTO branch. You do not need to take any exams yet since you are not applying for a non-professional or a professional driver’s license.

2. Non-Professional Driver’s License

If you hold a Non-Professional Driver’s License, you are legally authorized to drive a private vehicle that does not weigh more than 4,500 kilograms.

Take note that, holders of a non-professional driver’s license are not allowed to drive if the purpose is to earn money. So, if you were hoping to get a side gig as a Grab driver or operate as a delivery service, you will need to get a Professional Driver’s License. We will discuss that more after this.

Application Procedure

Who is eligible?

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old and above
  • Must be able to read and write in either Filipino, English, or both.
  • Applicant must be both mentally and physically fit to be able to drive/operate a motor vehicle
  • Applicant must not be involved with drugs
  • Applicant must not be an alcoholic

*If you are a foreigner:

  • The applicant must be residing in the Philippines for at least one month
  • The applicant must be able to present any proof that will state that they will stay in the country for at least one year from the date they applied

What are the requirements?

  • Download and fill-up the LTO ADL Form: https://ltoexam.com/downloads-forms/. You can also request for a copy at the nearest LTO Office
  • The applicant must bring a valid Student’s Permit that is at least one month old
  • A medical certificate that states that you are mentally and physically able to drive/operate a vehicle. If not, it should state the impairment

*if you are a foreigner, these additional documents are needed:

  • A photocopy of your passport that should at least be a month entry
  • Valid visa

How to apply

  1. Fill in the required information in the ADL Form. Note that whatever information you write on the form, that is the information that will appear on your Driver’s License
  2. Submit the requirements and the ADL Form to the nearest LTO office. Make sure to submit to authorized LTO personnel.
  3. Once the personnel have checked all the required documents, they will take your picture and signature for the ID.
  4. You will be asked to pay the fees at the cashier.
  5. Your first LTO Non-Professional Driver’s License exam will be a written exam. Once you have passed this test, you are now allowed to take the practical test or as some would call it, the driving test.
  6. Wait for the results. The approving officer will determine if you have earned your Driver’s License or not.

3. Professional Driver’s License

Holders of a Professional Driver’s License are legally allowed to drive a vehicle for the purpose of earning money. Be it by Grab or Transportify, or even a taxi or Public Utility Vehicles (PUV).

Unlike the Non-Professional Driver’s License that has a weight limit on the vehicles that they are allowed to drive, if you are a Professional License holder, you may drive any type of vehicle!

Application process

Who is eligible?

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old and above
  • Must be able to read and write in either Filipino, English, or both.
  • Applicant must be both mentally and physically fit to be able to drive/operate a motor vehicle
  • The applicant must not have two or more counts of reckless driving during the period of validity of their existing license
  • For RC 1,2,4 and 6 – the applicant must be a holder of a valid Student Permit that has been issued for at least six months prior to their application
  • For RC 3,5,7 and 8 – the applicant must be a holder of a valid Non-Professional Driver’s License for at least one year prior to the application date or a Professional Driver’s License holder with RC 1,2,4 and 6 for at least six months prior to their application date

*If you are a foreigner:

  • The applicant must be residing in the Philippines for at least one month
  • The applicant must be able to present any proof that will state that they will stay in the country for at least one year from the date they applied

What are the requirements?

  • Download and fill-up the LTO ADL Form: https://ltoexam.com/downloads-forms/. You can also request for a copy at the nearest LTO Office
  • Medical Certificate that states that you are mentally and physically able to drive/operate a vehicle. If not, it should state the impairment
  • National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance
  • Philippine National Police (PNP) Clearance

*If you are a foreigner:

  • The applicant must bring their original and a photocopy of their passport that should have an entry for at least one year prior to the date of their application
  • If the applicant was born in the Philippines, they must bring their original and a photocopy of their birth certificate that has been duly authenticated by the NSO

How to apply

  1. Once you have prepared all the documents required for the application, go to the nearest LTO Office and submit the ADL form to the personnel. They will check if the documents you have submitted are valid and if it passes the qualification.
  2. If all the documents you submitted are approved, you may not proceed to the picture and signature taking for your ID
  3. You will be asked to pay for the fees at the cashier
  4. Take the written examination
  5. If you have passed the written test, the last thing you will do is to wait for the release of your Professional Driver’s License Card. Then fill up the information needed in the release form then sign it.

How to get ready for the written exams

I know that for first-time exam takers, this could sound a little bit intimidating. But fret not! Here are the things you need to review before taking the exam. We’ve also linked some of these items to articles we’re previously written that could help you understand the topics better.

  1. Signs – road signs and what do they mean
  2. Road Markings – what do the different types of lines painted on the road mean
  3. Parking – what are the rules you need to follow and their restrictions
  4. Emergencies – if there were an emergency, what should you do. Also, what should you do if you run into an emergency vehicle on the road.
  5. Violations and Penalties – what are the do’s and don’ts you need to follow and what are the consequences when you commit a driving offense.
  6. Road Position – where should you position your car if you are driving
  7. Handling and Driving – driving the optimal way
  8. General Knowledge – these are the basic things every driver should know

How to get ready for the practical test

Remember that the practical test is mostly about real-life scenarios while driving on a public road. Just like how we all see in the movies, there will be an LTO personnel who will be with you inside the car while you take the exam.

The exam would include what you have to do when you see a stop sign, how to park back wards or even parallel. Do not be tensed when you are taking the exam! Relax and do the best you can.

About the author

Kia Navarro

Kia Navarro Kia Navarro still lives with her parents. She is, after all, a 24-year-old student who just happens to write content for eCompareMo, which she refers to as "the coolest company she's ever written for."