Class 5 Road Test vs 7 – Successfully Conquer Them (2022)

class 5 vs class 7 road test

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ICBC Class 5 Road Test Coming Up in Your Future?

The ICBC road test is necessary for many different types of drivers. These can include new drivers, drivers from other countries, drivers who have let their license expire, seniors, and other types of re-exams. Let’s discuss the differences between the class 5 road test and class 7, and what to expect. These ICBC road tests are for regular passenger vehicles.

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Jump to a section:

  1. What’s the Difference, Overview
  2. Class 5, Class 7
  3. What is Class 7?
  4. What is Class 5?
  5. How Long Are the Driving Tests?
  6. How Long is the Class 7 Test?
  7. How Long is the Class 5 Test?
  8. Freeway Merging on the Road Test
  9. Hazard Perception For Class 5 & 7
  10. Hazard Perception Class 7
  11. Hazard Perception Class 5
  12. Both Tests Check Your Global Skills
  13. ICBC’s Global Skills
  14. Driving Skills For Both Tests
  15. ICBC Class 7 Failure Rate
  16. Class 5 Test – What They’re Looking For
  17. Additional Resources
  18. Conclusion
ICBC road test information

What’s The Difference Between These ICBC Road Tests?

Left Turns at Traffic Light Interse...
Left Turns at Traffic Light Intersections Canada, Vancouver British Columbia

ICBC Road Test Class 5 & ICBC Road Test Class 7

ICBC class 5 road test

Are you going for your ICBC road test for class 5 in beautiful British Columbia? Or maybe just wondering about the differences between class 5 road test and Class 7?

I can tell you they are very similar. In each one, an examiner sits beside you, tells you where to go, judges your every move, and you have to pay for it… Fun times.

Let’s talk about the differences between the ICBC road tests: class 5 road test and class 7 road tests, or check this out if you need some epic tips for the ICBC road test.

Read more: What To Bring To The ICBC Road Test

class 5 road test ICBC

Class 5 Road Test & ICBC Road Test Class 7

ICBC Road Test Class 7 – What Is It?

The ICBC Class 7 test is for drivers who currently have their ‘L’ (7L) and wish to transition to the freedom that comes with the ‘N’ stage (7N).

You can read more about the ICBC L&N restrictions here.

This freedom would include driving alone.


ICBC Road Test Class 5 – What Is It?

The Class 5 road test is a general road test, used for typical passenger vehicles.

It’s sometimes used for drivers from other countries when they’re moving to beautiful British Columbia.

It’s also the test used for drivers who have their ‘N’ (7N) and wish to transition to the wonderful land of having their Class 5 (more freedom).

Of course, class 5 is magical because it comes without all the restrictions with the ‘N’ license.

Right Turns At Intersections Demo
road test freedom

How Long Are the ICBC Road Tests?

class 5  how long
Shuffle Steering Demonstration

ICBC Road Test Class 7

They say the Class 7 test takes 45 minutes, but that includes all the time at the end for debriefing, going inside to do paperwork, and etc.

Usually the actual driving time is about 30 minutes.

ICBC Road Test Class 5

The class 5 road test usually takes about 45 minutes. It’s a bit longer than the Class 7 ICBC road test.

Drivers are expected to be somewhat experienced and show smooth car control, safe decision making, knowledge & skill.

Interesting random fact: It takes about 5 years of driving for a new driver to get to the skill and experience level of ‘the average driver.’ So a 2-year-experienced driver is still quite new.

Freeway Merging On The ICBC Road Test

ICBC road test freeway merging

The ICBC road test Class 5 usually includes merging onto a highway or freeway.

The ICBC road test Class 7 does not include merging onto a highway or freeway.

ICBC road test freeway merging

Hazard Perception Differences On The ICBC Road Tests

icbc road test hazard perception ideas

Both tests will include a part for you to show that you are aware and thinking about possible dangers while driving. This is known as ‘hazard perception.’

hazard perception ideas icbc road test

This just means you have to tell the driving examiner what you see – or can’t see – in your driving environment that could be a potential hazard.

icbc road test hazards british columbia

ICBC Road Test Class 7 Hazard Perception

Stopping for Pedestrians
Pedestrian Crosswalk Examples

For the ICBC road test class 7, you will do this while stopped

Your examiner will ask you to pull over to the side of the road. If they ask you to park there, be sure to set your parking brake, too. Read more road test tips here.

ICBC Hazard Perception Ideas

Notice your immediate environment

There may not be a very exciting environment there, but you can just say any potential hazard that you can see, or something that you can’t see.

ICBC road test hazards on road

Things that we “can’t see” are a real and colossal problem for us drivers

These potential hazards could include really anything that is in your environment, including weather, road condition, a blind driveway, hill or curve where visibility is reduced, kids playing, a crosswalk coming up.

But try not to get stuck memorizing a potential hazard. Just say what you can actually see, or not see. If a family of skunks is walking around in the middle of the road, say that.

If a large UFO is distracting you and you think the distraction may be hazardous – or it looks like the UFO is about to make a crash landing – then say that.

UFO driving distraction

If the only thing you see, is that the particular shade of ominous grey sky, is the same color as the road you are on, and there’s a grey car of the exact same color, also coming towards you, then say that.

Road Test Tips
ICBC hazard rainy road
4 Way Stop On Fast Forward

But for real, the usual things are kinda more like:

  • You can’t see what’s around a curve or hill
  • You can’t see an intersection or driveway because of visibility issues (there are trees, bushes, flowers, structures, or something else in the way)
  • There’s a crosswalk you can see but your visibility isn’t good to tell if there are pedestrians near the edges
  • The road is wet and very slippery because it’s the first time it has rained for 2 months
  • The sun is shining straight into your face and it’s hard to see things
  • A school zone is coming up, there may be children nearby playing or running into the road

Read more about hazards here

driving hill curve

ICBC Road Test Class 5 Hazard Perception

For the class 5 road test, you will have to do this while you’re driving

hazard perception class 5 road test

I guess this means after you have been driving alone for at least 2 years, you are expected to be able to see hazards, think, drive, and talk, all at the same time…

Both Tests Check Your “Global Skills”

Left Turn Tutorial
ICBC road test global skills

ICBC’s global skills are a way to measure drivers on the road test. This is because demerit points are not a thing anymore, at least not for these tests. So they’ve come up with a new and totally slightly confusing way to mark the road test.

Both the class 5 road test & 7 ICBC road tests will naturally check you for these important skills.

ICBC’s Global Skills

  • Observation – basically, do you see stuff? Do you see the stuff you’re supposed to be seeing? For example, pedestrians about to cross at the crosswalk, playground zones, other cars doing things maybe they shouldn’t be (defensive driving).
icbc observation skills
  • Space Margins – Do you keep a proper space margin around your vehicle? Do you follow the car in front too closely? Are you the correct amount of space away from curbs? Are you in the right spot when you’re turning right, turning left, and going straight at intersections?
space margins icbc
  • Speed – Are you speeding through a school zone? Are you going too slow because you’re nervous (40 km in a 50 km zone for no apparent reason). Are you keeping up with speeding traffic on the freeway? (Don’t.)
speed icbc road test
steering icbc road test
  • Communication – Do you use your turn signals to tell other road users what you plan to do? Do you honk in a situation where it might be necessary? Do you get eye contact with other road users?
communication icbc road test

Both Tests May Include The Following Driving Skills

Each road test is not going to be exactly the same. Some people will have to do a certain skill that perhaps won’t be tested on the next person.

Each location is different. Road test examiners follow routes.

At the Point Grey location, there is no nearby freeway for showing your merging skills. So, class 5 tests there, just don’t do that, although you may drive on a road with a higher speed limit.

The following may be tested on both ICBC road test class 5 & ICBC road test class 7

Not every skill will be part of your test, but practicing them all will give you the best chance of being prepared.

The thing is, examiners want to obviously see that you are safe and do not break any laws, such as changing lanes over a solid white line.

ICBC Road Test Class 7 Failure Rate

Turn Left ONLY When Safe

For the class 7 ICBC road test, around 50% of people fail

Maybe this is why they don’t even bother wasting time on the freeway

Your examiner is basically looking that you:

  • Know what you’re doing
  • Can Pass all your global skills
  • Make good decisions
  • Control the car smoothly
  • Don’t break any laws like speeding, reversing in an intersection or crosswalk
  • Don’t do anything remotely dangerous such as not noticing a pedestrian, lane changing when it isn’t safe, etc.
ICBC road test success

You do need to know how to park, but don’t need to be perfect

It takes a long long time to get good at parking.

Even driving instructors – who are just people – don’t park perfectly every day, all the time. New drivers aren’t expected to be really amazing and impressive at parking. They are expected to be safe, and legal.

It’s more important that you have the general concept while being safe, and have good observation skills.

Is a pedestrian about to walk behind you while you’re parking? It is way more important to simply notice this, than to be highly skilled and perfect.

Also, you can fix your parking if you need to make some readjustments, just as we do in real life. That goes for both the class 5 road test and class 7, too, of course.

bad car parking

ICBC Road Test Class 5 – What They’re Looking For

It doesn’t take long to gather bad habits once people start driving on their own. This is mostly what the class 5 road test is about.

For example:

  • Do you still observe and drive the proper speed in a playground zone? Like, exactly 30 km/hr?
  • Are you speeding on the freeway to “keep up with the flow”?
  • Do you palm or hook the steering wheel?
  • Do you drive with only one hand on the wheel?
  • Do you forget all of your shoulder checks?
  • Do you stop completely at each and every stop sign?
  • Are you using your left foot on the brake pedal?
  • Do you regularly flip other drivers “the bird”?
  • Do you cut through the gas station to get your right turn over with faster?

So you can see, each test is very similar. One is basically a little longer and is mostly checking for bad habits. I mean, if you’ve survived driving on your own for at least 2 years, then you must be doing something relatively right (but don’t relax too much, because 2 years is actually not a long time).

The class 7 ICBC road test is to see that you’ve been properly trained to drive safely on your own, all by yourself in the big bad world. A lot of drivers simply aren’t prepared; they simply aren’t trained enough to pass.

That’s why it’s focused on the basic skills and on all intersections. Intersections close to your home are the #1 most common place where crashes happen (#2 – parking lots).

Need some epic tips for passing the ICBC road test?

class 5 or 7 road test british columbia infographic

Get more info from ICBCOpens in a new tab. here about the road tests, graduated licensing program, and all of that exciting stuff.

Right Turn Red Light - Illegal

Additional Resources

ICBC Has a YouTube ChannelOpens in a new tab. – Check it out for more driver examiner tips


These road tests are not that different. One is for extremely inexperienced new drivers (driving for the first time?), and the other for more experienced new drivers. It’s not really complicated. Just make sure your car control is smooth, you make safe decisions, and don’t do anything illegal.

And remember you don’t need to be perfect. This one time, a new driver made contact with the curb with their wheel when parallel parking. The hubcap, which was already loose-ish, fell completely off the car.

The examiner retrieved it, and the driver still passed the road test. It’s because the rest of their driving was excellent, and hubcaps don’t have feelings.

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Carmen became a driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, Canada and is an experienced writer, blogger, photographer, artist, philosopher, certified day dreamer and generally complicated human.

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