Best 5 CDL Study Guides
13 Min Read
Table of Contents
A commercial driver’s license (or CDL) is a required license for individuals who wish to operate large or heavy vehicles, including various types of trucks, buses, and trailers. Although regulations differ depending on the state where the driver is testing for their license, there are typically three levels of commercial driving licenses: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Each class allows the driver to operate vehicles of varying weight limits, with Class A being the highest and Class C the lowest. Similar to the process of obtaining a regular driver’s license, individuals aspiring for a CDL must first complete an exam to earn their learner’s permit before taking part in driving training and eventually doing a skills test. The skills test includes three phases: a vehicle inspection, a controls test, and a road test. The specifics may vary depending on the state, but the process of obtaining a CDL is similar across the U.S.
Due to the large amount of work and effort that goes into earning a commercial driver’s license, it is important to prepare for both the permit and skills test to ensure that you can pass on the first time and earn your license. Even if you already have a regular driver’s license, the specifics of obtaining a CDL license and the knowledge required will differ significantly, so it is essential to approach the exam and road test with a strong understanding of the required road rules and regulations. To help you do this, this article has researched the five best CDL study guides to help you earn your license quickly and efficiently.
The 5 Best CDL Study Guides
1. CDL Study Guide by Mike Chambers and PL Exam Preparation
CDL Study Guide 2022- by Chambers through PL Exam Preparation is a prep book that thoroughly covers material aspiring CDL holders will need to familiarize themselves with for the exam and road test while also giving relevant and helpful advice that will make the testing process feel less daunting. The study guide is divided into sixteen chapters that cover a variety of topics, such as driving school buses, dealing with vehicles that transport hazardous material, how to ensure passenger safety, and more. In addition to these topics, the guide contains a chapter on both the exam and road test that provides the reader with advice, hints at content, and a practice exam. The book ends by answering FAQs from other CDL test-takers to prepare the reader for any type of situation they may encounter during the exam process. By creating a guide that can help readers study around their busy daily lives, content is carefully selected and outlined for the convenience of any person wishing to earn their CDL.
- Created as a means to quickly yet effectively review all the information that will be necessary for the CDL exams
- Provides the reader with relevant content in addition to tips and strategies to help them pass the test on the first time
- Multiple formats of the guide exist to suit the needs of any individual, including an audiobook and paperback
- FAQs and extra resources are included at the end of the guide if the reader needs additional content or aid
- Well-written and relevant practice exams are part of the book to help readers prepare for the real CDL exam
- Does not have chapters that discuss the differences in the test-taking process for each CDL class
- No Kindle or digital version of the eBook is available for purchase
- Additional practice exams and problems could have been included to give the reader more options
2. CDL Exam Prep by Newstone Driving License Team
The CDL Exam Prep 2022- study guide by Newstone Driving License Team emphasizes combining exam content with repeated practice to prepare readers for their CDL tests. The guide is divided into seven chapters that cover vital content, including air brakes, dealing with hazardous material, carrying passengers, and more. Each chapter has related practice problems and tests in the second half of the book, providing the reader with a whopping 675 questions to tackle after reading. In addition to the practice problems, three full-length exams are included to give the reader a chance to simulate the CDL exam and the types of questions they may encounter. This study guide is a great resource for students who wish to apply the theory they have learned from other books or courses in a practical manner, and it also offers fresh explanations of the content they may have encountered elsewhere. The language is clear and concise, making this book a good choice for individuals who want to get an understanding of the core concepts through intensive practice.
- First half of the guide provides readers with an overview of important information and theory they will need for the exam
- Explanations are brief yet clear, making this guide a good option for students who are reviewing CDL material
- Over 675 practice problems are included in the second half of the guide to provide readers with multiple forms of practice
- Three full practice exams are also included in the second half of the guide to combine all the material the reader has learned
- Covers content that the reader must know for both the permit exam and the road test
- Only one format (paperback) of this study guide is available for the reader to purchase
- Prioritizes practice over teaching content/theory, so this functions more as a review book rather than a book to learn CDL material for the first time
- The three different classes do not have their own chapters or content
3. Test Prep Books CDL Study Guide
The updated CDL study guide by Joshua Rueda and Test Prep Books offers a detailed overview of both important exam content and test-taking strategies to help prepare readers in every way for exam day. The guide is divided into multiple chapters that cover exam content and road safety advice by topic, and the beginning of the book introduces readers to the rules and regulations of the CDL exam along with study advice. The content itself covers almost every topic readers will need to be familiar with for the exam, including driving safely in multiple situations, transporting people and cargo, operating larger vehicles, and more. After the safety and educational material is thoroughly discussed, the guide includes advice for the road test that tells the reader exactly how they are being scored. Finally, the book gives the reader space to practice all of the material covered in the guide in the form of three practice tests and detailed answer keys.
- Goes through all the necessary topics the reader will need to familiarize themselves with for the exam and road test
- Language is clear and easy for the reader to understand, making lessons more impactful and memorable
- Advice is included that covers test strategies and road test tips and tricks in addition to educational content
- Three practice exams are included at the end of the guide that allows the reader to test their CDL knowledge
- Answer keys explain why the reader is correct or incorrect to better prepare them for the real exam
- No other forms of practice are included at the end of sections or chapters besides the practice exams
- Spelling and grammatical errors may be found in the digital version of the guide
- Content can be a bit too general at points, making it difficult for readers wanting state-specific information
4. CDL Study Guide by Michael Robinson
The new CDL Study Guide -2024 by Michael Robinson takes a different angle on learning and test-taking to help students quickly absorb content and pass the exam on their first attempt. By combining clear and approachable language with focused content, this study guide is a great resource for readers who struggle with the exam process and need additional assistance and advice. The guide itself is divided into educational content necessary for the exam and test strategies to help readers effectively use what they have learned. The educational content included covers the CDL material that all classes must know, such as safety procedures, hazards, transporting cargo, using air brakes, operating large vehicles, and more. The second half of the guide provides the reader with additional resources to practice for the exam and road test, advice for dealing with exam stress and anxiety, and practice exams/problems for the reader to attempt. To help make the studying process even more focused, 200 flashcards are included in this guide to quiz readers on the most important CDL terminology and concepts.
- Provides readers with an approachable and educational take on CDL content that does not make assumptions about knowledge or intelligence
- Reviews content that is necessary for all three classes to know before both exam day and the road test
- Includes practice problems and exams that allow readers to quiz themselves on what they have read in the guide
- Over two hundred flashcards can be accessed at the accompanying website to provide readers with additional practice resources
- Test prep and methods for dealing with anxiety and stress and prioritized just as much as CDL content
- More study resources in the book itself (such as additional review problems and exams) would have been helpful
- Is a good supplemental study guide but cannot replace the DMV state handbooks that are available
- Errors and formatting issues may be encountered in the digital version of the guide
5. Mometrix Test Preparation CDL Study Guide
In nearly two hundred pages of content, the 4th edition of the CDL Study Guide 2022- by Matthew Bowling and Mometrix Test Preparation focuses on providing readers with thorough explanations of material that will prepare them for both the written exam and road test. In addition to the inclusion of educational material, this study guide also emphasizes utilizing strong test-taking and studying strategies that will make the exam process more efficient for aspiring CDL holders. The guide begins by providing the reader with some of these strategies to help them get the most out of the book before moving on to the main chapters that cover the core CDL content. At the end of each chapter, students can attempt practice tests that are specific to the content they just reviewed that provide them with thought-provoking questions and detailed answer keys. Finally, the guide ends by giving the reader parting advice on how to use what they learned effectively and how to deal with any text anxiety that may arise.
- Focuses on clearly presenting all of the content that the reader will encounter on the CDL exam in detail
- Provides the reader with test-taking tips and studying advice to help them use the guide effectively and go into exam day stress-free
- Each chapter has topic-specific review that includes practice exams and detailed answer keys to simulate the test-taking experience
- Illustrations and graphs are used throughout the chapters to break up text and make content easier to absorb
- Bonus material is provided at the end of the guide if the reader wants additional practice or assistance
- Only available for purchase in a paperback format, limiting readers who prefer online educational materials
- Information specific to the three classes is not provided in this study guide, so readers may need supplementary resources
- No practice tests are included that combine all the material from the study guide