MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Taking the road test to get a Minnesota driver’s license is proving to be a real challenge, not because the test is harder than it used to be but because it has become difficult to get a chance to take it.

Mastering the art of parallel parking is typically what creates the most anxiety when trying to get a driver’s license, but for the last few months, something else has become even more daunting — just getting a chance to take the road test.

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“I’ve been waiting here since midnight. Six hours now, almost seven” Ganda Yang said

At 6:30 Thursday morning, the line was long in Arden Hills.

“This is my fifth attempt trying to do a walk in,” Yang said. “Other times I’ve come at 5 in the morning and they don’t take walk-ins because there are others who have taken the spots.”

Doua Thao was waiting, too.

“I got here around 11:30 last night,” Thao said. “It’s what you gotta do to get a spot.”

At 1 p.m., 16-year-old Shannon Cummings and her mom emerged victorious. She got her license, but it was a journey.

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Shannon says she failed the road test the first time, and then learned she’d have to wait months if she wanted an appointment to try again.

“We called the DMV and were told the end of January,” said Peggy Cummings Shannon’s mom.

Peggy Cummings says they then tried waiting in line in hopes of a walk-in opportunity at another location.

“Last week, we did not have an appointment in Eagan. We waited and did not get in. We were 17th in line and they were only taking five,” Peggy Cummings said. “We waited three hours.”

A Department of Public Safety spokesperson says summertime and the start of the school year are traditionally the busiest times for road tests. There’s more demand than there are examiners or available appointments.

She suggests scheduling tests two months in advance online or six months in advance over the phone.

She offered the following advice. People who are planning a road test during this time should:

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  • Plan ahead.
  • Appointments can be booked two months in advance using online scheduling, or six months by calling DVS or scheduling at a state exam office.
  • Be flexible in the road test location.
  • Some exam stations are scheduling a month or more in advance, other stations may only be a week or two out.
  • Smaller stations like Hastings, Stillwater or Andover may have more availability than the larger stations like Eagan, Arden Hills or Plymouth.
  • Keep checking for exam openings.
  • Road tests do open up through cancellations and staffing levels.
  • Some appointments open weekly, some daily as staffing permits.
  • Be prepared. There is a checklist of everything required to take the road test online.

Walk-in appointments are only available when someone cancels an appointment that day or doesn’t show up. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is no guarantee a test will be available. Call the DVS Public Information Center at 651-297-3298 or go online to cancel an appointment if you are unable to keep the appointment.