Driver Knowledge Tests

Improving your memory and intelligence before taking your DKT or RKT

You want to give yourself the best chance of passing your driver knowledge test or rider knowledge test first time, and there are a few things you can do to help your brain process all this new information.

Your brain is like a muscle in that if you use it you won’t lose it. In fact, if you use it in the right way it’ll get better overall at remembering facts and solving problems.

Put simply, there are two types of intelligence:

  • Crystallised intelligence – the stuff you remember
  • Fluid intelligence – your ability to figure things out

Crystallised intelligence will help you recall specific road rules from your memory or experience and fluid intelligence will help you logically reason which answer is right if crystallised intelligence fails you.

Techniques to improve your memory and intelligence before your driving test

First you must ensure that your brain is getting the right fuel. If you’re feeding it poor quality food and drink (i.e. lots of sugar, alcohol and refined carbs), or you are not getting enough sleep, then you will find it more difficult to learn. You’ll also need to be drinking enough water.

Do things differently

Your brain is more engaged in novel situations so if you do things differently then it gets a chance to look at things in a different way. If you do the same thing over and over again you just get good at that one thing rather than improving your overall abilities. However, improving your memory using a test such as dual n-back will help overall.

When you are learning the road rules for your DKT or RKT it can help to do a lot of different types of study to ensure you really remember the facts.

  1. Take the quizzes on this website as it will give you a close simulation of what’s in the real test
  2. To practice a dual n-back type of activity in real life, walk around your neighbourhood and look at the road signs. Memorise their order and what they mean, and see if you can remember whether you’ve seen this sign before while walking, and where you saw it. The more detail you try to remember, the better your memory will become over time.
  3. If you ride a bike, ride around your neighbourhood and observe all the places where you have to use the road rules. What would you need to do at an intersection; what do the signs mean, and so on. Plan your route ahead and note what road rules you’ll be using.
  4. If it’s raining you can get some paper and try drawing some of your local intersections from memory. Make sure you put the signs and road markings in the right place and understand what they mean. Compare your drawings to the real thing using Google Maps, or next time you head to the intersection.
  5. Next time you’re in a car or bus watch what they are doing (or doing wrong!)

Engage your creative side

For each rule that you are struggling with, draw it out in a scene. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw well, but it will activate a different set of muscles and parts of your brain and will help you remember it. Draw a book of your own road rules with funny notes in your writing.

If you don’t feel comfortable driving you can create rhymes that include road signs, acronyms (e.g. MSM = mirror signal manoeuvre), mnemonics (e.g. only a fool breaks the 2-second rule), and even stories that describe rules but involve characters you can relate to.

Teaching someone else about the DKT or RKT is a good way to learn, too. Once you have to explain it to someone then you will really know where the gaps in your knowledge are.

Make it harder, not easier

Challenging your brain will make it much better at problem solving and memory. When you do the quizzes on this website, rather than just look at the answers, try to think of the answer beforehand. This will give you a much better understanding of the material.

Good luck! You’ve got a few strategies there that you can apply to lots of different areas in your life, not just driving tests.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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