True story: I just took my driver’s license exam for the second time in my life. The first time was when I was 18 and about to graduate from high school, just like you probably are right now. I passed on the first attempt, woohoo!
The second time—which is so fresh in my memory I can still feel the crippling anxiety of reversing out of the testing lot (crap, which pedal is the accelerator, again?)—was because I moved to BC, Canada and needed to get a local license.
You’d think that being older with a LOT more driving practice under my belt would make me a better student, but taking your driver’s test is stressful, no matter how old you get. Even more so when your freedom of mobility is at stake.
And so the team here at Brainscape—spearheaded by our most recent Driver’s Ed graduate (hi, that’s me)—decided to put together a list of the best apps for Driver’s Ed to learn the necessary rules, regulations, signs, and maneuvers you’re going to need to know to be a safe driver.
Because that’s what matters: that you and everyone else you share the road with is SAFE. So with that said, here are the best apps for Driver’s Ed!
The best apps for Driver’s Ed
Driver’s Ed app # 1: Brainscape’s certified Driver’s Ed flashcards
Brainscape is an adaptive study app for web and mobile that uses flashcards and a sophisticated spaced repetition algorithm to help you learn all that critical Driver’s Ed content TWICE as fast as traditional textbooks and study manuals.
We’ve broken down the complete recommended curriculum into one general and three state-specific collections of flashcards, which you can study anytime, anywhere, and on any device (even offline if you download the decks beforehand):
- General flashcards for the Driver’s Ed test
- State-specific flashcards for California’s Driver’s Ed test
- State-specific flashcards for Texas’s Driver’s Ed test
- State-specific flashcards for New York’s Driver’s Ed test
So, how does it work?
Well, your brain is hardwired to learn and remember information a certain way. Brainscape’s flashcard app leverages this hardwiring to help students learn more efficiently. It does this by asking you to rate how well you know a concept on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (perfect).
Based on your honest self-assessment, the app will repeat that flashcard again at the perfect time interval so that it becomes ingrained in your memory. If you rated it low (1 or 2), you’ll see it again and again more frequently. If you rated it high (4 or 5), you won’t see it again for a while.
Done this way, Brainscape helps you target your weaknesses, while saving you time on the concepts you know well. This is called spaced repetition and it is the most efficient and effective way to learn a lot of information—as you are required to do with Driver’s Ed—quickly.
Other super useful features of our Driver’s Ed flashcards include:
- Ongoing feedback, statistics, and visualization tools to help you track your progress;
- A network of thousands of other learners who support each other's learning every day;
- Easy access to study online (or offline, once you have downloaded a deck or class) or in Brainscape's mobile apps.
So, if you want to smash your exam and learn everything you need to know to be a safe driver, the best Driver’s Ed app is Brainscape!
Driver’s Ed app # 2: DMV Practice Test Genie
DMV Practice Test Genie is a popular driving test app that covers all US states and offers:
- A huge question bank, containing thousands of accurate and regularly-updated questions;
- Content curated by a team of professional drivers and curriculum experts, and covering every topic and subject you need to know (and nothing you don’t);
- A clear and simple interface, and overall highly-rated score of 4.8/5 on the App Store;
- Preparation programs for cars, motorcycles, and CDL driving tests; and
- Pie chart statistics to help you understand how you performed in the practice tests.
Based on a nationwide survey, DMV Practice Test Genie is 73% more effective than the driving handbook alone and is recommended by top driving schools and independent instructors.
Pro Tip: Use Brainscape to drill yourself on your Driver’s Ed content more efficiently, rather than progressing through it linearly on DMV Practice Test Genie (because reading information is the least efficient way to learn it). But then use this app to practice answering DMV-like questions so that you (1) put your knowledge to the test and (2) know exactly what to expect on test day!
Driver’s Ed app # 3: DMV Permit Practice Test app
DMV Permit Practice Test is another super popular and highly-rated Driver’s Ed app geared at helping you practice for the written, theory exam. Unfortunately, it’s only available through the App Store (no version for Android) but it does offer:
- Test content that is based on the latest, official state DMV manuals, covering all 50 tests;
- Versatile content that covers all three vehicle types: car DMV test prep, motorcycle DMV test prep, and CDL test prep;
- Very similar test questions (if not the same) to the real DMV test, giving you an excellent idea of what to expect;
- Friendly user experience: simply select your state and start practicing questions;
- Feedback statistics to understand where you’re going wrong and where you need to focus more attention; and
- A mode that tests you exclusively on the questions you’ve gotten wrong in the past.
Pro Tip: Whenever you get a question wrong on one of DMV Permit Practice Test’s questions, make a flashcard for it in Brainscape so that you can really drill yourself on the laws, regulations, and road signs you seem to be getting wrong. This way, you’ll soon create strengths out of your knowledge weaknesses!
Alternatively, you can find the equivalent flashcard for the question in your Brainscape Driver’s Ed class and “bookmark” it so that you can come back to it again and again.
DMV Permit Practice App: App Store
Driver’s Ed app # 4: DMV Written Test app
The DMV Written Test app is an extremely convenient tool for practicing for the written theory portion of your Driver’s Ed test, with a pretty impressive 99% success guarantee. The app features:
- Accurate and up-to-date questions based on the current version of your state's official driver's handbook (they say you don’t even need to bother with the Driver’s Manual);
- DMV practice tests that are tailored to each specific state’s unique driving laws and restrictions;
- Covers every DMV, DDS, BMV, MVA, RMV, DOR, MVC, MVD, DOT, and DOL in the country;
- Practice test questions that are very similar, if not identical, to the questions found on the actual driver's license test; and
- Instant feedback for each question with incorrect answers being automatically repeated.
The DMV Written Test app also allows you to take every sample DMV permit test and DMV license test as many times as you need so you can be sure you're ready for the real thing.
Driver’s Ed app # 5: DMV Practice Test by Zutobi
The last on our list, DMV Practice Test by Zutobi is a popular free tool with in-app purchases to unlock all features. This fast, easy, and fun app:
- Has a colorful and intuitive interface that delivers a gamified educational experience, consisting of levels and leaderboards to keep you motivated;
- Teaches you the rules and regulations of the road using a summarized, easy-to-read DMV handbook, without any unnecessary information you won’t see on the test;
- Is tailored specifically for each US state to match the requirements of the DMV, DDS, DOL, DOT, BMV, MVA, RMV, DOR, MVC and MVD tests;
- Features 550+ state-specific questions (and unlimited DMV practice tests) that are almost identical to the real Driver’s Permit Test;
- Has content covering DMV car, motorcycle, and CDL permits;
- Uses pictures and illustrations of real-life traffic situations to help you learn fast and efficiently;
- Advanced statistics so you can easily track your progress; and
- Offline availability, once all the content has been downloaded.
Pro Tip: Gamified apps can seem like more fun than apps for serious learners like Brainscape. But if it’s your goal to study efficiently for your driver’s test, having to unlock levels and compete against your peers can be more of a hindrance to progress than a help. Just keep that in mind when choosing the best Driver’s Ed app for you.
Some final advice on passing your Driver’s Ed (the first time)
If you’re preparing to take your Driver’s Ed course and exam, listen closely—and if you’re the parent of a teen learning to drive, let ‘em read this:
The KEY to passing the theoretical portion of your driving test is to start studying early and repeat your exposure to the content again and again, until it’s deeply banked in your brain. Brainscape will help you do this so long as you start at least a month before your test and then practice your flashcards a little bit every day. And then …
The KEY to passing the practical component of your driving test is to drive: as often as you can, as safely as you can, without skipping any steps, taking any shortcuts, or breaking any rules. You need to take the laws and regulations you’re learning about in your Driver’s Ed apps and courses and make a HABIT out of them.
The only way to transform those driving and parking maneuvers into muscle memory is through practicing (and practicing perfectly). And the only way to ingrain the road regulations, laws, and signs into your memory, so that you can quickly interpret them and make split-second decisions, is through repetition.
With this regular and diligent practice and a sophisticated Driver’s Ed app like Brainscape—that drills you on the necessary content until it’s second nature—you’ll have what it takes to rise to the challenge of your Driver’s exam … the first time!