How to pass the forklift license test

Obtaining a forklift license advances your work qualifications and in some states is required for prospective forklift operators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires forklift operators to study safety practices and demonstrate forklift driving proficiency before a license is issued. OSHA does not specify the type of class to take or how you should be tested. Most employers complete their own training, but there are forklift certification schools that provide the necessary education. Some states have more stringent rules on obtaining a license, so find out exactly what is required in your state to legally operate a forklift.

Talk to your employer about the necessary qualifications to operate a forklift. Ask about the state requirements for getting your license or certification, and inquire about available training opportunities.

Enrol in the necessary courses, either at your work or at a secondary institution as required by your state.

Figure out exactly how you will be tested. In many states you will be required to take both a written and driving exam. Find out what is specific to your state and have your instructor or employer explain the test's format. If it is a written test, ask for practice samples or copies of previous exams and make note of how the questions are formatted and what types of things are asked. Inquire about the set-up of any driving course, and make note of specific functions you will have to demonstrate.

Develop a time line for your studying and create a schedule that works best for you. You don't want to wait until you have to cram information. Make flashcards, outlines, maps or any other materials that will help you retain information pertinent to the written exam, including safety procedures and emergency protocols.

Ask your employer if it is possible to use or set up a practice course for the driving exam. Some employer's will already have these available, and others may decide to develop one to help future testers.

Take timed practice tests, either ones you have made up based on your study materials or, better yet, obtained from your employer or school. Make note of what sections you are spending the most time on or struggling with the most, and be sure to devote stronger studying habits to these sections.

Gather any materials that you will be required to take with you the night before the test, including photo identification, payments and scratch paper. Keep them together and put them in a place where you will not forget to take them with you the day of the test, such as next to your wallet, in your car's glove box or on the table by the front door.

Review the material and conduct any studying rituals that will help you retain information such as getting a good night's sleep, meditating, eating a big breakfast and reviewing flash cards.


Trying to cram for the test the day before could result in poor performance. Make your study schedule and stick to it to avoid feeling fatigued or frantic the day of the test.

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Things Needed

  • Written practice tests
  • A computer
  • A timer

About the Author

Shannon Johnson has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in health and organic and green-living topics. She practiced law for five years before moving on to work in higher education. She writes about what she lives on a daily basis.

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