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About the driving test

You must have passed your theory test before you can book your practical test.

In order to pass the driving test, you must be able to:

  • drive safely in different road and traffic conditions;
  • show that you know and can apply The Highway Code, through the way you drive;

The National Standard for Driving Cars and Light Vans tells you everything that you must be able to do in order to pass your driving test.

Your driving instructor will advise you when you are ready to book your driving test.

Practicing for your driving test

In order to practice for your driving test, you should have plenty of mock driving tests, and be driving more independently before you book your test.

Your driving instructor will tell you when you’re ready to book your driving test.

Taking the driving test

The driving test is made up of five different areas:

  • an eyesight check;
  • the ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ Vehicle Safety Questions;
  • your general driving ability;
  • your ability to reverse a vehicle safely;
  • independent driving, either following road signs or instructions from a sat nav;

The eyesight check

Before you even get in the car with the examiner, you’ll need to undertake an eyesight check.

This will involve reading a number plate from a distance of 20 meters. You’ll get 3 attempts.

If you fail the eyesight check, you’ll automatically fail your test, and lose your fee.

‘Show Me, Tell Me’ Vehicle Safety Questions

The ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ questions aren’t designed to catch you out. They’re designed to test your knowledge of general vehicle controls and safety equipment.

General driving ability

This will make up the bulk of the test – how you drive.

You’ll be assessed on everything – from your observations and your gear changes to the way you steer and your hesitations. However, if you just try and ignore the clipboard, and drive like you do in your lessons, you’re likely to pass the test. Just don’t get caught up on the little mistakes.

You’ll also have to perform a manouvre at the side of the road, which could be a hill start, or pulling out behind a parked car, as well as pulling up and pulling away throughout your test.

You may also be required to perform an emergency stop during your test – but you’ll be told at the start of your test, and before you’re asked to perform one.

Reversing a vehicle safely

Reversing isn’t as hard as it sounds, and it’s incredibly easy, when you get the hang of it.

You’ll either have to parallel park, bay park, or pull up on the right hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths, and rejoin the flow of traffic.

The examiner will tell you which you have to do.

Independent driving

You’ll have to drive without prompt from the examiner, for about 20 minutes.

You’ll either have to follow directions from a sat nav (the examiner will set this up for you), or, follow road and street signs.

Don’t worry if you take a wrong turn – the examiner will help you back on to the correct route.

About your result

You’ll get your test result at the end of your test, along with a comprehensive briefing about your driving.

Your instructor should attend this too, as, if you’ve failed, it’s valuable advice for future lessons.

If you pass your test the examiner will:

  • tell you what faults you made, if any;
  • give you a pass certificate;
  • ask if you want your full license sent to you automatically (if you do, hand the examiner your provisional driving license).

You can then start driving straight away as soon as you’ve passed your test. You don’t need to wait for your full license to arrive, just make sure that you’re insured on the vehicle you’ll drive, it’s taxed, has a current MOT, and is, above all, roadworthy.

If you fail your test the examiner will tell you what faults you made.

You’ll then have to book another test. It must be a date at least 10 working days away.

Book your driving test

Always book your driving test through the official government website – otherwise, you may end up paying more, or being scammed, and not allowed to take your test.