Driving a school bus is a difficult and important job. To make sure that you have the knowledge to transport children safely this school bus endorsement exam has been created.

The test covers a variety of subjects related to driving a school bus, such as safe driving procedures and how to handle emergencies. We’ll go over what exactly is on the test in more detail a little later in this guide.

The school bus endorsement test is actually one of several tests that can be included in the Commercial Driver’s License testing process. The endorsement tests a driver is required to pass depend on:

  1. The class of commercial driver’s license (Class A, B or C) the driver is seeking
  2. The type of vehicle the applicant wants to qualify to drive

Now let’s take a closer look at the test and what is required to earn a passing score.


School Bus Test Overview

The school bus endorsement test consists of 25 questions. Each question is presented in multiple choice format with four possible answers and you must select the correct one. To pass this endorsement exam, you must answer at least 80%, or 20, of the 25 questions correctly.

Prior to taking the test there are a few things that you should do first:

Determine that you meet your state’s eligibility requirements. To do that go to your DMV website. Most states require applicants to be 18 with a valid driver’s license or if they are planning to drive interstate routes – 21 with a valid driver’s license.

Determine what identification documents your state requires to take the test – examples include a birth certificate and a valid driver’s license. You can also find this information on the DMV website.

Finally, you should determine what fees are charged to take the endorsement test and what payment methods the local DMV office will accept.

We also recommend that you take the time to schedule an appointment for your test as the wait times at many DMV offices can be lengthy and scheduling an appointment will help you avoid the frustration that accompanies a long wait.


What’s on the Test?

The school bus endorsement test covers a variety of subjects related to the safe operation of a school bus. For example, you may find questions on such subjects as loading and unloading children, including the safe operation of stop signal devices, external mirror systems, flashing lights, and other warning and passenger safety devices; emergency exits and procedures for safely evacuating passengers in an emergency; and state and Federal laws and regulations related to safely traversing highway rail grade crossings.

One big area of concern when it comes to driving a school bus in the loading and unloading of children. You should always focus on students when they approach the bus and watch for any that disappear from site. One common issue is for a student to drop something and bend down to pick it up. If that student is in a danger zone their safety could be at risk. That’s why bus drivers are encouraged to warn students to leave dropped objects and move to a point out of the danger zone.

Here are some example test questions:

  • What emergency equipment should be on a school bus?
  • What is something you should never do when refueling a bus?
  • What is the limit on hazardous materials that bus drivers can carry?
  • What is the recommended safe stopping distance before a drawbridge?
  • How often should a bus be inspected?

Remember, all questions on the school bus endorsement exam are multiple choice. You should plan on reading each question carefully, then reading all the answers carefully before selecting the one you believe best answers the question.  


How to Prepare for the Test

Preparing for the school bus test begins with your state commercial driver’s license handbook. You should plan on carefully study the handbook’s section on school buses as well as its section on passenger vehicles.

As you study those sections you should also periodically check your progress by taking an online practice test. These tests can help you prepare for the endorsement exam and can help you focus your study efforts by showing you what areas you are strong in and what areas you are weak in.

We offer school bus practice tests here that are formatted just like the real endorsement test so that you can also prepare for the experience of taking the test.

Test Taking Tips – Improve Your Chances to Pass

You should plan on getting a good night’s rest before the test. You should also eat a good meal before the test to provide your brain with fuel.

The real key to passing the school bus endorsement test; however, is to adequately prepare. Don’t procrastinate and try to learn everything the night before. It is much better to study in advance and then get a good rest the night before the test.

Here’s one more tip – know the route to the DMV. You may actually want to drive it in advance so that there won’t be any surprises. Then on the day of the test be sure to leave early so that you have plenty of time to get there. Do this and you will arrive calm and comfortable which is a much better mental state for passing a test compared to arriving late and stressed out.  



School bus drivers must make the safety of their passengers their top priority. Quality drivers will monitor on-board conduct and utilize safe driving procedures to ensure that their precious cargo make it to and from their homes safely. You must also be able to enforce safe boarding and de-boarding procedures on a daily basis.

All of this requires extensive knowledge – knowledge that you can prove you have by passing this important endorsement exam. So don’t take the test lightly. Study your CDL handbook and take practice tests and ensure you are ready to pass. Earning your endorsement will allow you to join the ranks of valued bus drivers.

The demand for quality bus drivers is rising at a steady pace, especially in growing suburban areas. Earning this endorsement can be a great way to boost your income while also doing something that truly matters.