THE DRIVING TEST
|Make sure, before you do anything else, that you have both parts of your driving license with you, photocard ID and counterfoil. Without these, both parts that is, the test will not take place.
Bring your theory test certificate with you if you have it, but it is unlikely it will be looked at. You must pass the theory before booking a practical test, so that is already covered. If you have the letter of confirmation issued by DSA or a print out of the on-line booking bring those. They could be useful in the event of a problem.
You should arrive at the test centre no earlier than 10 minutes before your appointed time. There are tests coming and going continuously and you do not want to restrict access for other tests.
Most test centres have public toilets, but not all. Check beforehand. Wait in the waiting room and your examiner will make contact with you at the appointed time. (Most examiners are male and I will refer to them as such). Your examiner will check your driving license, both parts, and ask you to sign a declaration to say the car is insured for test purposes. If you have a different address to the one on the license, complete the change of address at the bottom of the driving license counterfoil. Ideally do this before the examiner comes out to meet you.
When the examiner is satisfied with the documentation, you will be asked if you wish to have your instructor sit in and observe the driving test. The choice is yours and is recommended for post test feedback.
As you leave the building you will be asked to read a car registration number, 20.5 metres away (20 metres smaller size). If you can’t, you will be asked to try another. If you still can’t, the distance will be measured and you have one more attempt. Failure at this point and the test will not take place.
On approach to the car, you may be asked to lift the bonnet of the car and answer one of two safety checks (the show/tell questions). The other will be asked once you are in the car.
One or both wrong and you will have a minor fault recorded against you. You cannot fail a driving test for this but minor faults all add up.
Your examiner will explain the driving test procedure i.e. unless he says otherwise follow the road ahead complying with road signs and markings. If the examiner wants you to turn left or right he will let you know in good time.
You will then be asked to move off.
During the course of the drive you will be asked to park on the left several times. You are being tested on moving away safely, uphill and around a parked car. You will also be expected to complete 1 out of 3 manoeuvres. The Reverse to the Left, the Turn in the Road and a parking exercise. This could be Parallel Park from alongside a parked car or reversing on to a parking bay at the test centre.
Introduced 4th October 2010, 10 minutes of your test is allocated to what is called “An Independent Drive.” This is designed to test your ability to make decisions on your own as you negotiate a route described for you to follow. This will include following road signs, road directions or a combination of both. A diagram will be used to explain the route before you set off.
The Emergency Stop is no longer required for every test. It is now tested in one out of three tests, so you may not be asked to do this exercise. If you are, the examiner is not trying to catch you out, you will be asked to park at the side of the road while the examiner explains the procedure.
There are as many as 20 different routes all of which are more or less the same standard and designed to test your ability in various situations including High Streets, local roads and dual carriageways where available.
The test should last 35-40 minutes depending on traffic and you will finish back at the test centre.
If you have made no more than 15 minor driving faults you will have passed. More errors than that or anything deemed to be serious or dangerous and your test will be unsuccessful. You will have to wait a minimum of 10 working days before you can try again, though you can book one immediately.
A successful test and the examiner will issue a pass certificate which proves you are now a qualified driver. Your provisional license in most cases will be retained and a full license will be issued within 2-3 weeks by DVLA.
You are now free to drive unaccompanied, without displaying “L” plates and on Motorways. Congratulations but beware – you are still inexperienced and you are now at your most vulnerable.
The day of your driving test has arrived. You have not taken it before and you are bound to feel nervous - and that is ok. If you weren’t nervous, your instructor would be. The most anxious time is now, before the test. You don’t know what to expect. You don’t know what the examiner is like. Everything is a new experience.
Basic relaxation techniques can be used such as deep breathing and thinking positive. Avoid such thoughts as “what if I fail? I am going to fail; what will my friends/family think? I don’t want to let anybody down; I can’t reverse around a corner.” You can be overwhelmed with these thoughts. Easy to say, but try to banish them from your mind. Think of good times, your successes and achievements – think positive, it works.
At the end of the day an unsuccessful test is not the end of the world, though it may seem like it! Treat it as a learning curve because next time you will have a better idea of what to expect. Once you have met the examiner and he/she seems friendly enough, you will be too busy with the test itself and all the concentration that goes with it. All that nervous energy can be used to focus on the advice you have gathered from your instructor and before you know where you are, you are back at the test centre and the examiner is saying, “I am pleased to say you have reached the required standard . . . . . . . .”
Disclaimer: The information here is based on personal experience and is meant purely as a guide to give an idea of procedure and expectation. Individual driving tests may vary and we cannot be held responsible for their outcome.