Rites of Passage: The Driving Permit Test

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Maillane Werner '18

High school is the time for a lot of firsts: first time working, first time going to prom, and for many, the first time behind the wheel. In Massachusetts, the age to obtain a Class D learner’s permit is sixteen years old, and the age for obtaining a Junior Operator’s License is sixteen and a half. Walk the halls of Montrose, and you’ll meet students who could be arranged by drivers, drivers-in-training, and driver-wannabes.

Receiving a permit involves a basic eye exam, a permit picture, and a 25 question exam in which you have to score at least a 72% to pass. After that, the newly-permitted driver has to attend a minimum number of classes for driver’s education, pass a driver’s education test with an 80%, and complete 60 hours of road driving before taking a road test.

For many, the experience of getting a permit and learning to drive is both exciting and stressful. Olivia Hastie ’18, who got her permit December 31st, 2015, reflected on the process: “I was super excited, but also nervous because it’s a test, and you need to get at least 18 right. I also watched as several people failed and it made me more nervous.”

Bridget Baker ’18 also took her permit test, but didn’t pass the first time around. “I was calm. It wasn’t really anything special. I don’t see driving as something I need to do, so it’s not a top priority.”

After interviewing other Montrose students who had passed the permit test, many said the best way to prepare was to do the online practice tests or to read the important sections of the driver’s manual, even though it’s long and at times monotonous. Using the same basic test-taking skills that one would normally use for an academic test is also a recommended strategy for taking the permit test.
Overall, it seems that getting a learner’s permit is a memorable coming-of-age moment for students.