Study Tips for Those Completing Their CDL Training Online
On the one hand, completing the knowledge portion of your CDL training online offers several benefits. You have full control over your study time and have the resources you need at your fingertips. This means you can fit your study sessions around your life, rather than the other way around.
However, it also comes with its disadvantages. You won’t have a teacher to bounce your ideas off or to ask questions. You also don’t meet other people with whom you can study.
So, how do you make the most of taking the knowledge portion of your CDL training online?
This article aims to show you how to get more out of studying online.
Tip #1 – Select the Course for Your License Class
Before getting down to studying, you must ensure that you’re taking the right course. You have a choice of three license classes, going from A to C. Each license has different study requirements and places limits on what you can drive. For example, it’s no use having a Class A license if you need to drive Class B vehicles.
Here’s what each license allows you to do.
Class A CDL
A Class A license allows you to drive any combination of vehicles that have a combined weight of 26,001 lbs. or over.
The caveat is that any vehicle that you tow must have a minimum weight of 10,001 pounds. This means the vehicle you drive will never exceed 16,000 lbs. in weight.
This enables you to drive a host of farming-related vehicles, such as livestock carriers and tractor trailers. It also allows you to drive flatbed trucks and tank vehicles. Moreover, it lets you drive trucks that have trailers attached, assuming the trailer meets the above weight requirements.
A Class B license allows you to drive a single vehicle weighing 26,001 lbs. or more. It also allows you to drive a combination of vehicles. But in this case, the trailer that you tow cannot weigh more than 10,000 lbs.
It’s important to distinguish between Class A and Class B. Class A allows you to tow a heavier trailer but limits the weight of the vehicle that you drive. Class B allows you to drive heavier vehicles, with limits on the trailer that you tow.
You’ll need a Class B license if you intended to drive a passenger bus, straight truck, or box truck. It also allows you to drive dump trucks, assuming the trailer meets the weight restrictions.
This allows you to do the following:
- Operate a commercial vehicle that carries over 16 people
- Transport materials designated as hazardous by the federal government
This generally covers smaller hazardous material vehicles, the combination vehicles that Classes A and B don’t cover, and vans that carry a large number of passengers.
Choosing the correct license to study online is crucial to your efforts to obtain a CDL. Taking part in CDL training online for a Class A license won’t help you if you’re intending on sitting for the Class C exam.
Tip #2 – Dedicate Yourself to the Course
Studying for your CDL online isn’t an easier route; it’s a more convenient one.
This means that you should dedicate as much time to the online material as you would to attending classroom sessions. Attend every virtual classroom session and talk to other people who are studying the same course.
At times, studying online may even feel more difficult than studying in a class. You don’t have specific time demands, which makes it easy to procrastinate. Set study hours for each day. Dedicate this time to working on the study materials so that you put enough hours in to pass the knowledge test.
Tip #3 – Be Internet Savvy
A reliable internet connection is only the first thing that you need to take your CDL training online. You also need to make use of the tools that the internet provides for you.
This is especially important when it comes to your coursework. Create backups of every piece of work that you complete. Cloud storage solutions, such as Dropbox and Google Docs, can help with this. They also come with the added advantage of allowing you to access your work from mobile devices.
If possible, try to download as much of the online course material as you can. An internet outage could prevent you from studying if you don’t have local copies of the course materials on your computer or mobile device.
Tip #4 – Create a Study Plan
In most cases, you’ll find that there are areas of the course that you excel in. There will also be topics that you struggle with. A good study plan prevents you from focusing too much on the stuff you already know, which frees up time for you to study the topics that you struggle with.
Create a list of the core topics that your course covers. Update this list after each study session. Mark the topics that you need to put more work into. You can use this information to create a to-do list that helps you organize your time during your next study session.
Tip #5 – Create a Work Area
One of the big benefits of completing your CDL training online is that you can access your materials wherever there’s an internet connection.
However, that’s not always beneficial to your studies. Reading some while you’re commuting may give you a quick refresher, but it likely won’t help you to absorb new material.
You need a dedicated space for studying. When you enter this space, you’re committing to focusing on your studies for the entire time that you’re there. It’s also a good idea to avoid studying in your bedroom because this prevents you from separating your studies from your relaxation time.
Tip #6 – Remember the Practical Portion
Online CDL training only covers the knowledge portion of your test. You still have to learn how to drive the vehicles that your license covers. This means taking time out for practical driving lessons.
Ideally, your online course will come with practical sessions that you can book as needed. However, you may have to arrange them yourself if it doesn’t.
Don’t avoid the practical aspect of the training. All the theoretical knowledge in the world won’t help you if you don’t know how a large commercial vehicle actually drives.
Tip #7 – Keep Yourself Motivated
The biggest problem with studying online is the need to motivate yourself to sit down and work. There may be days where you just don’t feel like studying. There are a few things you can do to boost your motivation levels:
- Remind yourself of the reasons why you signed up for the online course
- Create visual reminders that show you how passing the course could benefit you
- Take regular breaks during extended studying sessions
- Create milestones and reward yourself whenever you achieve one
- Boost your energy levels with a healthy snack
- Keep a positive mindset and don’t allow difficult topics to set you back
The Final Word
Studying online offers you control over how you learn. However, it’s a double-edged sword. You get the added convenience and can fit your studies around your schedule. But you also lose the structure that comes with regular classroom sessions.
Follow these tips if you’re planning on taking online CDL course. Create a routine and a dedicated study space. Commit yourself to the material in the same way that you would a physical course and you’ll succeed in your efforts to earn your CDL.