How to Pass the Driving Test
The answer to the question of ‘how to pass the driving test’ is knowledge, determination and experience and based on the experience of qualified driving instructors working with the DVSA, we provide some of the key factors that will help you pass the driving test.
We will then combine this data with the knowledge of highly experienced driving instructors with high pass rates. This valuable advice based on years of teaching, along with the DVSA government statistics puts you in the driving seat to pass the driving test. There’s no secret for passing the driving test, so let’s get started, here’s how to pass the driving test:
1. Get Prepared
Preparation is a major advantage to gaining success – when you know what you’re getting into, there will be no unexpected surprises. Have a good read-up on what to expect on the driving test. This is an in depth guide that starts from arriving at the test centre to the finishing the test.
Add to this, the Show Me Tell Me questions and answers, though they are the same questions for everyone, answers can be car specific, so get to understand the car that you’re taking on the driving test. You can’t fail if you get the questions wrong, but it’ll help to keep the stress levels low if you know what you’re doing. You can also take the Show Me Tell Me quiz to test yourself.
One other thing to consider is test centre toilets. Test candidates are obviously nervous and can often require the toilet and that’s the last thing you want to be thinking about on your test. However, not all test centres have them, so popping into your local supermarket on the way might help. The driving test centre listings offer details on which facilities are offered.
2. Get to Know the Driving Test Routes
The head examiner at each test centre develops the test routes with the intention of taking the candidate through varied roads and traffic systems. They will also include some of the most challenging roads in the area. It goes without saying, if you’re well practiced on these roads, particularly the difficult areas, you will stand a substantially better chance of passing.
There’s two ways of approaching this; you can view the Driving test routes for your specific test centre, or you can find a local driving instructor who has very good experience on the test routes for your chosen test centre.
3. Get to Know your Test Centre
Statistically, a high level of driving tests are failed immediately or very soon after leaving the test centre. This is likely a combination of nerves, anxiety and the test candidate needing a few minutes to settle down.
Here’s what you need to do; firstly practice the roads in and around the test centre so that you know them very well, secondly, some time before the day of your driving test, drive in and park up at your test centre. Practice driving in, parking up and leaving the test centre. If you’re not permitted to do this (not all centres allow it), park up outside, walk in to take a look around. Familiarise yourself with where to park and what the road is like leaving the test centre. For example, is it busy? Is it difficult to see traffic approaching? Is there a pavement you need to cross?
4. Practice Your Junctions
Keeping with statistics, the number 1 reason for driving test failure each and every year is due to junctions, or more specifically ‘observation’. Observation, or rather a lack of, is due to the candidate not assessing the situation and approaching the junction too fast, therefore not allowing for enough time to see what’s going on. Or that the test candidate feels under pressure to make progress and doesn’t take enough time observing before leaving a junction.
Please note, a junction can be defined as a T-junction (junctions), a crossroads or roundabouts. The answer is quite simple – slow down. There are times to speed up and make progress – junctions isn’t one of them. Approach a junction with sufficient speed so that you can assess what’s going on; is it a narrow, closed junction or is it easy to see traffic? Before pulling out, did you look both ways at least twice? Can you clearly see in both directions or do you need to edge forward?
5. Practice the Manoeuvres
Whilst out driving, something unfortunate might happen that is out of your control. The manoeuvres is a section of the test that is in your control. Practice them until you’re absolutely confident and that you complete them successfully on every attempt. Take your time with manoeuvres and perform them on the driving test exactly as you do during your lessons.
Having said that, we all mess up sometimes, so if you happen to mess up a manoeuvre during your test, Here’s a tip – say to the examiner that you’re just going to try that again. It’s worth a shot, some examiners allow it, some don’t, but without trying, you’ll have probably failed for messing up, so it’s worth a try. The four manoeuvres are:
6. Independent Driving
The driving test will involve around 10 minutes of independent driving. The examiner will either show you a basic map to follow, will ask you to follow road signs or a combination of both. The advice here is that everybody gets lost or takes a wrong turn at some time, so the independent driving section isn’t a test of your ability to follow directions; it’s to test your ability to drive safely whilst driving on your own.
If you can’t remember where to go, simply ask the examiner to repeat and if you do take a wrong turn, don’t stress, just make sure you do it safely and the examiner will put you back on track.
7. Be Persistent
The vast majority of candidates make mistakes during the practical driving test and when this happens, they often think failure is a certainty. Some are lucky enough to get a clean test report, though in reality this doesn’t happen too often. So when you make a mistake, avoid dwelling on it, stay positive and be persistent. It may just be a minor fault, so put it behind you and concentrate on doing your best.
8. Choose Your Test Time Carefully
The time of day at which you take your driving test can have a significant impact on the outcome, particularly if you live in a busy town or city. Most busy areas suffer from rush-hour traffic. This involves frenzied drivers desperate to get to work on time, or eager to get home and they often have little patience for a learner driver.
Booking your driving test at a time to avoid rush-hour may prove beneficial due to less traffic and calmer roads. Certain test centres offer Saturday bookings also, so if your area is generally quieter on a Saturday, this may prove beneficial – though please note; weekend bookings will typically incur a slightly higher fee.
9. Make Sure You’re Ready
Sounds obvious, but many tests are failed simply because the candidate wasn’t ready and hadn’t had enough driving lessons. There isn’t a specific amount of lessons you need to take as everybody has different abilities. You will however be looking at a minimum of 30 professional lessons, perhaps closer to 45 hours upwards.
If possible combine private tuition with professional tuition from a driving instructor, though it’s important to follow what you have already learnt from the instructor and to not allow the parent or friend to teach you. This can cause confusion with conflicting information and could ultimately have a detrimental affect. Think of private tuition as driving experience – all of which is essential. Affordable learner driver insurance can be obtained on a daily basis.
10. Take a Mock Driving Test
When both your instructor and yourself feel that you’re nearing test standard, take a mock driving test and ideally take it with an entirely different driving instructor / school. The benefits of this are that you will be sitting next to a complete stranger under test conditions which will help you to prepare for the real thing. Also, the instructor will be unfamiliar with your driving and as a result, may pick up on certain other areas that can be improved on.
More Tips on How to Pass the Driving Test
- Ensure you’re comfortable. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes for the driving test.
- Have something to eat before the test. Tests are stressful and can zap energy quickly.
- A bad driving instructor will cost you more. See good driving schools for advice on finding the best driving instructor.
- The basics are easy to forget. Other common reasons for failure are incorrect or lack of mirrors and forgetting to check the blind spot. If you’re not too great at looking in the mirrors, see keep forgetting to check mirrors for help.
- Observe others driving – whilst being driven with friends or family, run through the process in your mind of performing everything correctly as though you were driving.
- If you are not entirely clear on what you need to do, ask the examiner to repeat.