The practical driving test is the final challenge for learner drivers. Pass it, and you’re a fully qualified driver, free to explore the roads without L-plates stuck to your car or a driving instructor in the passenger seat. Fail it, and you’ll experience disappointment, frustration and the annoying realisation that you’ll have to part with another £62-75 to try again. That’s why so many people want a few cheeky driving test tips before they tackle the test.
Since we know how retaking your driving test over and over again can get pretty demoralising, so we’ve gathered together our favourite driving test tips.
Eight essential driving test tips
1) Know what to expect
The UK practical driving test takes about 40 minutes. You will be expected to drive on one of several preferred routes without making any serious or dangerous mistakes (referred to as faults) and no more than 15 minor mistakes. You will also have to complete several manoeuvres, answer show me, tell me questions and successfully navigate without help from the examiner during the 10 minute independent driving section.
2) Know your test routes (as best you can)
It’s not cheating to concentrate your practise on the routes that are most likely to come up on your driving test. The miDrive app lets you look at the test routes that other learners in your area have tracked, letting you focus your practise on key areas. Only we can offer the latest test routes; the DVSA stopped publishing the driving test routes in 2010.
3) Perfect your manoeuvres
By the time you’re ready for your driving test, manoeuvres should be second nature to you. Before you even book your test, ensure that you’re capable of pulling off each manoeuvre without a single minor fault three times in a row. By not ‘wasting’ any minors on your manoeuvres you give yourself a bit more leeway when it comes to the more challenging aspects of the test. Our YouTube channel is full of videos to help you out with manoeuvres.
4) Practise endlessly
Some people jump into a car with an examiner with the bare minimum amount of practise under their belts; you don’t need our driving test tips to know that’s not how to pass your test!
Schedule driving lessons with your instructor as regularly as possible and get out and about on the roads with your parents/supervising driver whenever there’s an opportunity. Any non-motorway journey can become great practise for you, providing you’re properly insured.
When you can go an entire driving lesson without your instructor correcting or helping you, you’ve practised enough. Also, remember to ask your instructor for driving test tips; nobody knows the DVSA better than driving instructors!
5) Become hyper-observant
Failing to observe the road properly at junctions is the most common reason to fail a driving test. Get used to checking your mirrors regularly and making ever-so-slightly exaggerated motions when doing any observation (don’t go overboard, just make it clear that you’re looking around you).
6) Keep calm
Approach your test in a calm and controlled manner; keeping your nerves in check is a big part of how to pass a driving test. Our blog on beating driving lesson nerves can come in equally useful for controlling driving test nerves.
7) Stay positive
You’ve been practising for this moment for ages. Don’t let negative thinking get the better of you at the last minute. Just keep thinking “I’ve done this a hundred times before” before each manoeuvre, junction, roundabout or any other element of the test that you find challenging.
8) Remember that little mistakes aren’t always a fail
Stalling, providing it doesn’t happen in a dangerous situation, is not an instant fail. Neither is getting a manoeuvre wrong (providing you don’t hit the kerb or fail to make proper observations). If you feel that a manoeuvre isn’t going well, just calmly start again.
9)Book a driving lesson for the morning of your test
This one’s simple, book a driving lesson for right before your test to ensure that you’re on top form.
Dressing smart for the big day is one of those strange driving test tips that we hear repeated every now and again. If you’re the sort of person who’d be dressing up anyway, then feel free. Otherwise, just wear what you’re comfortable in (within reason; PJs and Ugg boots might be pushing it a bit far). There’s no point putting on a dinner suit to impress the examiner; they only care about your driving. If you’re really worried about dressing properly, check out our post on what to wear for a driving test.
Bonus tip)Have a little faith
The best driving test tip is being confident in your driving instructor. A good instructor will not send you to your test until you’re ready and they’ll work hard to make sure that you’re well-prepared. If you’re looking for your perfect driving instructor or have been learning to drive for a while and just fancy a change, try searching with miDrive.com.
So there we have it, our favourite driving test tips. If you’ve got a tip that helped you to pass your test, share it in the comments box below.
Image via DSAGovUk@Flickr. Subject to Crown Copyright.
Last modified: 14th January 2016