ESDS FAQ’s

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ESDS Booking your Test

How many ESDS Theory Tests are there?

For further information on ESDS Test Categories, please visit our ESDS Test Categories page.

Do I have to pay for the test?

If the candidate (you) are nominated by your emergency service, payment will usually be made by that service on the candidates behalf. This will be invoiced from the RSA to the Emergency Service.

If you are an Approved Driving Instructor applying for a theory test, payment of the relevant fee is part of the application process to the RSA and is made directly to the RSA. For more information on how to pay for your test, please visit www.rsa.ie/esds

How do I apply to take my test?

Each candidate must have been nominated by one of the ESDS organisations within the ESDS Panel. This organisation will apply, on behalf of the candidate, to the RSA for the ESDS Theory Test (s). If (you) the candidate, have any questions, please contact the ESDS Contact Person in your organisation to discuss this further.

Application Process for the ESDS Driver Trainer Test
Trainers in ESDS Panel Organisations: If (you) the candidate are a driver trainer in one of the Emergency Services within the ESDS Panel, you must be nominated by one of the organisations. Your organisation will apply on your behalf to the RSA for your ESDS Theory Test(s).

Approved Driving Instructors (ADI’s): The candidate (you) must be a current Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). You must apply directly to the ESDS Unit in the RSA stating the ESDS level and vehicle category you wish to be registered in. On receipt of application, the ESDS unit will contact you and outline the next steps for you.

Scheduling your ESDS Theory Test
You must have been nominated by the ESDS organisation and registered with the RSA prior to scheduling your exam appointment at a Prometric Testing Centre. The RSA will provide you with an “ESDS Theory Test Acknowledgement Email”, which will provide you with all the information you will need to schedule your test as well as information you will need to know for your exam day. Please carefully review the information provided to you by the RSA. If any of the information is incorrect or if the information has changed, please contact RSA.

Alternatively, if your Emergency Service organisation provides a facility to sit the theory test in-house, you can make arrangements with your Trainer or your organisation’s ESDS Contact person to arrange a suitable date and time to sit the test.

Once you have registered for your test with the ESDS Unit and have received a “ESDS Theory Test Acknowledgement Email”, you may proceed to complete your booking in real time and receive immediate, on-screen and e-mail confirmation.

Book your ESDS Theory Test Now! »

How many Test Centres are there?

There are currently 16 Driver Theory Test locations throughout the Republic of Ireland where you can complete the ESDS Theory Test. Choose a Test Centre that is most convenient to you.

Some Emergency Services will provide the theory test in house, however if your organisation does not provide this facility, the test can be taken at a Prometric centre.

Please note that available appointment times may vary between test centres – you will be able to select your test centre and view its current appointment times at the online booking service. View Test Centres.

ESDS Changing your Test

Will I need to pay again?

You must contact the RSA to authorise payment, www.rsa.ie/esds

Can I reschedule my test appointment?

Should you wish to reschedule or cancel your ESDS Theory Test booking, please note you must do so no later than 3 clear business days (to include 3 complete business days) prior to your test date.

For example, to reschedule or cancel a test booked on a Friday you must inform us on the previous Monday or for a test booked on a Saturday you must inform us on the previous Monday.

To reschedule or cancel a test by phone, please call our Candidate Services Team on 1890 606 106 (Lo-call rate) Monday to Friday from 8AM to 6PM. Please note, if you fail to reschedule your test within the required time period you will lose your fee paid and will have to pay again.

What happens if I miss my test appointment?

If you fail to arrive at the Test Centre in time for your test appointment, or cancel your test less than 3 clear business days prior to your test date, a further payment will be required.

ESDS Taking your Test

What happens when I get to the centre?

The test centre staff will check your documentation (ESDS Theory Test Acknowledgement Email), and confirm your identity (valid/current drivers licence or passport). You will be signed in and shown to a work station to complete the test.

You can view our Test Centre experience by clicking on the screen below:

Please note: There is currently no requirement for your photograph to be taken at the test centre. Should there be a change in this practice, you will be notified in your test appointment confirmation letter.

How many questions will I have to answer, and how long will the test take?

Please see tables below for exam information:

Exam NameExam LengthQuestionsPass Mark
ESDS Core Level 11hr 15mins5072%
ESDS Core Level 22hrs8071%
ESDS Core Level 32hrs10073%
Exam NameExam LengthQuestionsPass Mark
ESDS Truck Module1hr3073%
ESDS Bus Module1hr3073%
ESDS Trainer Module1hr4075%

I am not very computer literate, will this be an issue?

The ESDS Driver Theory Test is presented in a very easy-to-use format and usually poses no problems for candidates with limited experience using computers. The test is taken using a standard mouse and keyboard.

If I get stuck, can I miss questions out and go back to them?

Yes, you can skip or mark questions and then come back to them at any stage within your test time.

If I make a mistake, can I change my mind and select another answer?

Yes, there is a simple way to cancel your answer and select another.

If I finish the test early can I leave?

Yes, you can exit your test at any time you see fit.

ESDS Test Results

How will I know that I have passed?

You will be presented with a Certificate of Completion AND a Score Report at the test centre if you pass.

If I pass what do I do then?

Once you pass the theory tests required for the ESDS Level and vehicle category that you are seeking certification in, you will have to complete the remainder of the ESDS certification process, which may include a practical driving assessment or training. To find out what you have to do, you can talk to the ESDS Contact person in your organisation or visit our website on www.rsa.ie/esds.

Is there a limit on how many times I can take the test?

The number of attempts permitted for this test is not restricted.

What if I fail? How soon can I take the test again?

You will have to contact your Emergency Department Contact Person in order to make a new application for the relevant theory test and receive a new “ESDS Theory Test Acknowledgement Email” and you should wait at least three days before you reapply.

If I fail will I be told where I went wrong?

You will be provided with your % Score.

ESDS General Information

Who is the ESDS Theory Test for?

The ESDS Theory Test is open to nominated emergency services drivers who work for the following organisations which form the ESDS Panel (who were involved in the development of the standard):

  • Civil Defence,
  • The Irish Coast Guard,
  • The Defence Forces,
  • An Garda Síochána,
  • Health Service Executive National Ambulance Service,
  • The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council,
  • The Chief Fire Officer’s Association,
  • The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management, and
  • The Irish Prison Service.

What is the ESDS Theory Test Anti-Social Behaviour Policy?

In the interest of maintaining a quiet and professional testing environment for all candidates, we ask that all ESDS candidates behave in a respectful and appropriate manner when attending the test centre. Abusive and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in the test centre. Should an ESDS candidate behave in an unsatisfactory manner, it is possible that a candidate may not be permitted to test and may be asked to leave the test centre. The Gardaí will be contacted if necessary. If an incident of abusive and/or anti-social behaviour occurs, it will be reviewed on a case by case basis. On foot of the review, a candidate may be asked to attend a different test centre should they wish to sit a test in the future. It is also possible that a non-testing period will be applied to the candidate. During this period, the candidate is not permitted to book or sit an ESDS test for a set period of time. The candidate will be informed in writing of the outcome of the review. Finally, we also wish to remind you that the test centre is video and audio monitored at all times.

A maximum non-testing period of 3 months may be applied to candidates demonstrating anti-social behaviour.

What happens if I am caught cheating?

Any attempt by a candidate to cheat in the ESDS Test is taken seriously. Prometric are employed by the Road Safety Authority to deliver the ESDS Test in a secure environment, to protect the integrity of the test and to provide a fair and equal opportunity to all candidates who sit the test. Any attempts to cheat that contravene this secure and fair environment are reported immediately to the Road Safety Authority for whom we deliver the ESDS Test. If an incident of cheating occurs, it will be reviewed on a case by case basis. On foot of the review, a non-testing period may be applied to the candidate. During this period, the candidate is not permitted to book or sit an ESDS test for a set period of time. The candidate will be informed in writing if a non-testing period is to be applied and the duration of this period. Finally we also wish to remind you that the test centre is video and audio monitored at all times.

A maximum non-testing period of 3 months is applied to candidates caught cheating.

Who provides the ESDS Theory Test?

The ESDS Theory Test is provided by Prometric Ireland Limited, on behalf of the Road Safety Authority.

What Material do I need to study in order to pass the test?

The purpose of the test is to examine knowledge of the appropriate level of ESDS. In order to prepare for your ESDS Theory Test the RSA have a recommended reading list, which is detailed below.

  • ESDS Guidance Manual
  • ESDS Syllabus
  • Rules of the Road
  • RSA Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines
  • RSA Learning to Drive a Car
  • RSA Guide – Sharing the Road with Emergency Service Vehicles
  • RSA Learning to Drive a Truck
  • ESDS Information booklet
  • ESDS Competence Framework
  • RSA Learning to drive a bus
  • ESDS Drivers Guide
  • ESDS Trainers Handbook
  • ESDS Tactical Response Guidelines
  • Roadcraft

Full details can be found on ESDS section of the RSA website www.rsa.ie/esds.

What is the purpose of the ESDS Theory Test?

ESDS stands for Emergency Services Driving Standard – a driving standard for emergency services drivers. The main aim of the ESDS is to benefit emergency services drivers and other road users by:

  • reducing the particular risks associated with the driving of emergency service vehicles,
  • making sure that patients and passengers are safe and comfortable, and
  • cultivating the attitude that responding to an emergency should never involve actions which could lead to the death or injury of any person.

Creating a culture of safe and responsible driving is essential for reducing deaths and casualties on Irish roads. The Emergency Services Driving Standard aims to develop and sustain a spirit of cooperation, caution and courtesy in emergency service drivers. Emergency service drivers should aim to achieve an excellent standard of driving that acts as an example to other road users.

The purpose of the ESDS Theory Test is to ensure that those who are seeking ESDS certification display that they have the knowledge required for the appropriate level of ESDS.