Driving Test Marking Sheet
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What is the driving test marking sheet?
The driving test marking sheet, or DL25, as it’s also known, is a report used by driving examiners to record the progress of the driving test. The examiner will use the report to make notes as you drive, and the report has 27 different categories, plus a few spares.
Why do driving examiners use this marking sheet?
The driving test is designed to be the same wherever it’s taken. This ensures that all licence holders in the UK can drive to the same standard. To ensure everyone taking their test is assessed in the same way, driving examiners use the same driving test marking sheet to evaluate each candidate.
The DVSA sets the national standard for drivers, and they define what you must know and do to be considered safe and responsible. When combined, the individual sections on the driving test report test your knowledge of these standards and your ability to drive to them as well.
How is the driving test assessed?
As you drive on your test, the examiner will assess how you perform in each of the 27 categories. If you make a mistake, the examiner will record the fault and category on the driving test report form.
Most categories on the driving test report form have 4 columns. The first is used to track of the number of driver faults made in that category or sub-category. The second column records the total number of driver faults made. The third and fourth columns, labelled ‘S’ and ‘D’, record any serious or dangerous faults made in that category or sub-category.
There are 3 types of fault you can make;
|Type of fault||Description||Faults allowed|
|Driver faults||Faults that do not have the potential to become dangerous||15 or less|
|Serious faults||Faults that could have become dangerous if there were other road users present||None|
|Dangerous faults||Faults that are dangerous and require either the driver, examiner or another road user to take evasive action||None|
How many mistakes can you make in a driving test?
You will fail the driving test if you make 16 or more driver faults on the test. You can also fail your test if you make several driver faults in the same category or sub-category.
You will fail your test if you make a single serious or dangerous fault in any category.
If you book a driving test during the COVID-19 pandemic, be aware that your test will be cut short if you make a serious or dangerous fault. This is to limit the spread of coronavirus. Our guide to what happens on the driving test has everything you need to know about the test and the recent changes.
The driving test report explained
Now that we’ve set the scene let’s dive into each of the 27 categories on the driving test report. In each category, we’ll spell out exactly what the DVSA is looking for and highlight the key mistakes to avoid in that particular category.
We’ve also written a guide for any candidates looking for more detailed tips to pass the driving test.
Before you’re allowed to enter your vehicle and begin to drive, you first need to pass an eyesight test. The driving examiner will ask you to read a number plate 20 metres away, and if you’re unable to do so, your driving test will come to an end.
There is only one column on the driving test marking sheet for the eyesight test, and that’s column ‘S’. You’ll get a mark in this column if you fail this test.
- Unable to read the licence plate from the required distance.
- If you’re worried about your eyesight, get your eyes checked out before your driving test.
2. Controlled stop
The driving examiner may ask you to perform a controlled (emergency) stop on your driving test. If the examiner wants you to complete this manoeuvre, they’ll first ask you to pull up on the left-hand side and then they’ll issue you with a set of instructions.
When you move off again, if the road is clear, they’ll raise their hand, which is the signal for the controlled stop, and at that point, you will need to complete the manoeuvre. To do so successfully, you’ll have to stop the vehicle promptly and maintain full control as you do.
- Reacting slowly to the examiners signal.
- Pressing the clutch before the brake.
- Steering while braking, which causes the vehicle to skid.
- Brake progressively and avoid stamping down on the brake or clutch.
- Keep your hands steady.
- Secure the vehicle with the handbrake when you come to a stop.
- Check both blind spots before you move off again.
3. Reverse around a corner to the left
Although this manoeuvres still appears on the driving test sheet, the DVSA removed it from the driving test in 2017.
4. Reverse right
Introduced in 2017, the reverse right or ‘pull up on the right and reverse’ as it’s also known, is one of the trickiest driving test manoeuvres you may be asked to complete. If you’re tasked with this manoeuvre, you must cross over to the right-hand side without hindering another road user. You need to reverse in a straight line and move off again only when you have made sure it is absolutely safe to do so.
- Impeding oncoming traffic when moving to the other side of the road.
- Mounting the kerb or swinging out into oncoming traffic as you reverse.
- Impeding oncoming traffic when moving off.
- Use the walk across drive across rule when crossing to the other side of the road.
- Use a reference point to keep the vehicle straight when reversing.
- Ensure it’s absolutely safe before moving off again – reverse if you have to improve your view of the road.
5. Reverse park
This category has 2 sub-categories on the driving test report;
- Reverse/parallel park.
- Reverse into a bay.
If you’re parallel parking, the examiner will ask you to pull up alongside a vehicle ahead and then reverse behind it, keeping within two car lengths of the vehicle in front.
If you’re reverse parking into a bay, the examiner will ask you to choose a bay – the bay could be on the left or right – and then reverse into it.
- Getting too close to the vehicle you’re parking behind when parallel parking.
- Poor observation.
- Climbing the kerb when parallel parking.
- Finishing outside of the bay.
- Failing to give way to other road users.
- Poor observation.
- Use clutch control to maintain control of the vehicle.
- Use all your mirrors and windows when reversing.
- Drive forward out of the bay to correct yourself if you finish outside the bay when bay parking.
- When parallel paring, leave a 1-metre gap between your vehicle and the vehicle you’re parking behind.
- Make sure you observe all around your vehicle.
- Give way to other road users as your vehicle is the hazard.
6. Turn in the road
The DVSA also removed this manoeuvre from the driving test in 2017.
7. Vehicle checks
This category on the driving test sheet refers to the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. You will be asked one ‘tell me’ question before you begin driving, and one ‘show me’ question while you’re driving.
If you answer one or both questions wrong, you will receive one driver fault.
- Endangering other road users when demonstrating your answer to the ‘show me’ question.
- Keep your eyes on the road when you operate the vehicle’s ancillary controls.
8. Forward park
Outside of the driving test, many drivers in the UK drive forwards into bays during everyday life. To equip candidates for this situation, the DVSA added the forward park manoeuvre to the driving test in 2017.
If you are asked to perform this manoeuvre, you need to straighten your vehicle, drive forward into the bay and then reverse out of it, looking out for other road users such as nearby vehicles and pedestrians.
- Finishing outside of the bay when driving forward.
- Poor observation when reversing.
- Getting too close to nearby parked vehicles.
- Use clutch control to maintain control of the vehicle.
- Use all your mirrors and windows when reversing.
- Give way to other road users.
When you enter the vehicle, your driving examiner will check to see if you complete the necessary safety precautions before starting the engine. You need to adjust your seat, so you’re able to reach the foot controls and gear stick. Check that the gear stick is in neutral, all doors are closed, and the vehicle is secured with the handbrake.
- Starting the engine when the vehicle is not secure.
- Starting the engine when a door is open.
- Remember to go through the cockpit drill when you first enter the vehicle.
- Look out for dashboard warning lights indicating an open door.
While driving on your test, the examiner will pay close attention to how you use each of the vehicle’s controls. To avoid picking up faults in this area, you need to demonstrate good co-ordination between the pedals and gear stick. You’re also expected to use the right control at the right time and do so in a smooth and controlled manner.
There are 5 separate control sub-categories on the driving test sheet that you need to be aware of;
- Using the accelerator at the clutch at the same time.
- Raising the clutch too soon when changing gears.
- Driving with the clutch down.
- Steering erratically.
- Selecting the wrong gear for the road situation.
- Harsh braking
- Release the accelerator before you press the clutch pedal down when changing gears.
- Press the clutch pedal down just before you come to a stop when braking. This will help prevent stalling.
- Brake smoothly, progressively and in good time.
- Secure the vehicle with the hand brake when you come to a stop.
13. Move off
Lucky number 13 on the driving test report is moving off. For this category, you need to demonstrate that you’re capable of moving off in a safe and controlled manner. You must be comfortable moving off on level, sloped or at an angled start if necessary.
Your ability to move off safely will be tested thoroughly, as the driving examiner will ask you to pull up and move off again several times during your test.
- Rolling back when moving off on a slope.
- Getting too close to an obstruction in front
- Stalling the vehicle when moving off.
- Use the handbrake to secure the vehicle when waiting on a slope.
- Always look over your shoulder into your blind spot before moving off.
- Make sure there’s a big enough gap for you to join the new road.
14. Use of mirrors
Effective use of your mirrors is a key part of safe driving. You need to check your mirrors regularly to keep up to date with the situation around your vehicle. You also need to check your blind spots when just checking your mirrors is not enough. On the driving test marking sheet, the use of mirrors category has three distinct sub-categories;
- Change direction.
- Change speed.
- Failing to check your mirrors before signalling.
- Failing to check your mirrors before changing direction.
- Failing to check your mirrors before speeding up or slowing down.
- Always use the Mirror Signal Mirror routine before changing direction or speed.
- Check your mirrors in pairs.
- Look over your shoulder before changing lanes.
The 15th category on the driving test sheet concerns signalling. To avoid picking up a fault in this category, you must make sure your signals are correct and well-timed, so other road users have enough time to respond. There are three sub-categories in this category;
- Changing lanes or direction without signalling.
- Applying a misleading or incorrect signal.
- Failing to cancel a signal at the end of a manoeuvre.
- Check your mirrors before signalling, as you may have to apply an early signal if there’s following traffic.
- Always signal before changing direction or speed.
- Cancel your signal at the end of each manoeuvre.
To avoid picking up a fault in this category, you must give adequate clearance to any parked vehicles and obstructions you come across on your driving test. Leave enough space for the door on a parked vehicle to open without warning or enough room for a pedestrian to step out unexpectedly.
- Getting too close to parked vehicles when there’s no good reason to.
- Leave a 1m gap between your vehicle and any obstructions on the left-hand side of the road.
17. Response to signs and signals
If you’re creating a driving test checklist of things to study before the big day, road signs and signals should be high on your lest. Revisiting the theory test and hazard perception will certainly help with this. You need to be aware of and respond correctly to any road signs or markings you come across. You also need to respond correctly to any instructions or signals given by a relevant authority, such as a police officer or a Highways England representative.
- Failing to stop at a traffic light.
- Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing.
- Failing to stop at a give way line.
- Stopping on a keep clear road marking.
- Crossing a white line.
- Reduce your speed on the approach to a green traffic light to give yourself more time to react if the light changes.
- Scan the road ahead and look out for any road signs or markings.
- Give yourself more time to read a road sign by reducing your speed on the approach.
18. Use of speed
You need to keep up with the flow of traffic without exceeding the speed limit of the road you are on. Make progress whenever it is safe to, and give yourself enough room to stop in the distance you see to be clear. If the driving examiner has to come on the brakes for any reason, your driving test will be over.
- Breaking the speed limit.
- Travelling slower than the speed limit when there’s no good reason to.
- Failing to stop in good time.
- Check for speed limit signs whenever you enter a new road.
- Never accelerate into a hazard.
19. Following distance
You must be able to stop in the distance you see to be clear. Give yourself enough room to stop and avoid getting too close to other road users in front. Keeping the two-second rule will help with this. In wet and icy conditions, leave a bigger gap between your vehicle and any road users in front. Remember, it takes longer to stop in adverse weather.
- Getting too closer to a road user in front.
- Stopping too close to other road users in traffic.
- Use the two-second rule to judge the correct distance between your vehicle and a road user in front.
- If another road user cuts in front of you, ease off the accelerator and drop back to a safe distance.
There are 2 sub-categories in the driving test marking sheet under this category;
- Appropriate speed.
- Undue hesitation.
You need to keep up with the flow of traffic and travel at the appropriate speed for the road you are on. This means making progress when it is clear, stopping only when required, and driving at the speed limit when the road allows.
To avoid picking up a fault in this category, you must move off when a suitable opportunity presents itself.
- Slowing down unnecessarily when dealing with a hazard.
- Stalling repeatedly when waiting at a junction.
- Hesitating and missing a good opportunity to move off.
- Prepare the vehicle to move before you need to move off.
- Start your observations as early as possible, as this will help you find a
You stand a good chance of passing the driving test if you can avoid making a mistake at a junction. Junctions are accident hotspots, and your driving examiner will be paying close attention to your driving whenever you encounter one.
Use the Mirror Signal Mirror routine when approaching and emerging at a junction and prepared to take evasive action if necessary. Use the MSM routine when changing lanes, and make sure you look in all directions before joining the new road when waiting at a junction.
Remember, you will pick up a serious or dangerous fault if you misjudge the speed of oncoming traffic.
- Emerging when it is unsafe.
- Positioning your vehicle in the wrong lane for your intended direction of travel.
- Inadequate observation before moving off.
- Look in all directions before emerging at a junction.
- Look ahead when emerging at a crossroad.
- Position your vehicle for your intended direction of travel.
- Use the walk across, drive across rule when assessing gaps in traffic.
Good judgement is the cornerstone of safe driving. To avoid picking up a fault in this category, you need to show good judgement throughout your driving test. There are 5 sub-categories within this category on the driving test report;
- Approach speed
- Turning right
- Turning left
- Cutting corners
You need to show good judgement when overtaking, assessing the speed of oncoming traffic when turning right and deciding when to pass obstructions on a narrow road.
- Crossing oncoming traffic when it’s unsafe to do so.
- Failing to give way to oncoming traffic when there’s an obstruction on your side of the road.
- Getting too close to a two-wheeler when overtaking.
- Use the walk across, drive across rule when assessing the speed of oncoming traffic.
- Always look to give way first when faced with oncoming traffic on a narrow road.
- Think and drive, do not rush headfirst into situations while driving.
The driving examiner will be watching your positioning throughout your driving test. You need to position yourself in the correct lane for your intended direction of travel and maintain good lane discipline at all times. This category has 2 sub-categories on the driving test sheet;
- Normal driving.
- Lane discipline.
- Getting too close to parked vehicles.
- Drifting out of your lane.
- Position your vehicle 1-metre away from the kerb when driving
- Look to the furthest point in the road and scan backwards to remain in the centre of your lane.
24. Pedestrian crossings
You must give way to any pedestrians at or on the pedestrian crossing and obey all traffic light controlled crossings. Your driving examiner will expect you to slow down in good time. If you approach a pedestrian crossing too quickly, the examiner could brake on your behalf, and that would lead to the end of your test.
- Driving too fast on the approach to a pedestrian crossing.
- Failing to spot or stop at the crossing.
- Failing to make progress when the crossing is clear.
- Look out for pedestrian crossing in urban areas.
- Give way to pedestrians and pelican crossing when faced with a flashing amber light.
- Look out for cyclists at Toucan crossings.
25. Position / normal stops
Your driving examiner will ask you to pull up on the left-hand side several times during your driving test. You need to pick a suitable place to stop, i.e. somewhere that is safe, convenient for other road users and legal.
- Stopping on double yellow lines.
- Blocking the exit or entrance to a building in use.
- Ask yourself if the place you plan on pulling up will inconvenience another road user.
- Do not stop on zig-zags, double yellow lines or red routes.
26. Awareness and planning
Thinking as you drive is the hallmark of a good driver. You need to demonstrate excellent awareness and forward planning if you’re to avoid a fault in this category. There are no sub-categories in the driving test report for this topic, but the driving examiner will expect you to do the following;
- Anticipate the actions of other road users around you.
- React in good time to anything strange, even if that means changing your initial plans.
- Plan ahead when dealing with cyclists and motorcyclists
- Charging into challenging road situations that would otherwise have been avoidable.
- Slow reactions to mistakes from other road users.
- Failing to spot cyclists and motorcyclists in poor visibility.
- Use the MSM routine as often as you can.
- Act on what you see in your mirrors and around your vehicle.
26. Ancillary controls
You will be asked one ‘show me’ question as part of the driving test. You need to demonstrate your answer to this question while driving. If you answer the question incorrectly, you will receive one driver fault. If you endanger other road users while answering this question, you will receive a serious or dangerous fault, and your test will be over – even if you get the question right.
- Taking your eye off the road while operating one of the controls.
- Practice the answer to these questions before the day of your test.