I went to the California DMV to change my license and to register my car. Despite its bad reputation, I found my experience there to not be too bad. True, the workers there weren't the happiest bunch. I tend to be cheerful when I deal with people, and I wasn't getting the cheerfulness back that's for sure. But nevertheless, I didn't have to wait too long (I didn't have an appointment) and I wasn't subject to anything I thought was unnecessary.
They did make me take a written exam though. About 20 questions or so, but I wasn't prepared for it. Normally, I would have flipped through the DMV handbook or something like that just to freshen up on some of the more obscure rules of the road that they seem to like to throw on the test.
Despite the fact I hadn't prepared and I had to guess on a few, I didn't miss one. Guess the test is mostly just common sense which is the way I tried to answer most questions. Several people actually did fail the test while I was there, so I guess what I've always thought was true. I am the best driver out there.