Special exams

​Special exams are required when the DMV needs to determine whether a driver can adequately compensate for a medical condition​, disability or other functional impairment. The decision to require special exams testing can be made by an examiner at a DMV customer service center or by the DMV’s Medical Review & Fitness unit.  

Wh​at are the three parts of the special exam?

A special exam consists of a knowledge, signs and skills test (also called a “road test”). 

  • The knowledge and signs tests for a “special exam” are identical to tests given to a driver who is getting a license for the first time. The purpose of giving you knowledge and signs tests is to see if you have an adequate understanding of the rules of the road as explained in the Wisconsin Motorists’ Handbook​.  
  • The skills test (also called a "road test") is considered special because extra time is allotted for the appointment (up to an hour) so that the examiner has ample time to observe the driving skills and/or use of any adaptive equipment installed in your vehicle in order to help you operate your motor vehicle safely. The skills involved in driving​ are the same for all drivers, whether you are getting your license for the first time or testing at some other point in your life.​


  • There are situations where the knowledge and signs tests can be waived. This will be determined by the Medical Review & Fitness unit and/or the DMV examiner.
  • If a doctor recommends testing you within a certain distance of your home (or if you are doing your skills test and only want to drive within a certain distance of your home), the DMV will perform a “limited area” test.  If the DMV customer service center nearest you is farther than the mileage of the “limited area,” the DMV examiner may be assigned to come to your home to conduct the test. If you pass the testing under this circumstance, your license will be issued to show that you are restricted to driving within a set distance of your home

Wh​at testing is required if you have multiple classes or endorsements?

  • If you have a class D license (non-commercial/car) only, you will test in your class D vehicle. 
  • If you have a class D and a class M (motorcycle) licenses, you will need to test in both vehicles if you intend to keep both classes. 
  • If you have a class A, B or C (commercial driver license) or an S or P endorsement (school or passenger bus) along with a class D and a class M, you will need to test in the highest class or endorsement that you wish to keep and the class M.
Publications to help you prepare for your tests:

Ca​n you surrender some classes/endorsements or your entire license?

A dr​iver always has the ability to surrender any classes or endorsements they don’t want to keep. 


​​Medical Review & Fitness Unit
P.O. Box 7918
Madison WI 53707-7918

Email Wisconsin DMV email service​​
Phone (608) 266-2327
Fax (608) 267-0518