The day has finally come to take your driving test and understandably you’re feeling somewhat nervous. It’s amazing to think how far you’ve come from your first driving lesson, to where you are now and all that stands in between you and the ultimate goal of acquiring your driving license, is a 40 minute test.
For a majority of learner drivers taking a driving test is a daunting experience and an overall pass rate of 47% does little to dampen these fears. Although over half of all taken tests result in failure, a significant amount of learner drivers pass their test and we’ve put together our top driving test tips to help you improve the chances of you passing yours.
Prepare Prepare Prepare
Our top driving test tip is to prepare yourself as best you can. Preparation really is key to passing your driving test and you’ll be amazed at how many learner drivers turn up on test day unprepared. Whether that’s not getting enough sleep beforehand, running late and rushing to the test, forgetting their theory or provisional license, or plain just not being at test standard, being unprepared on test day really is the biggest cause of failure.
To ensure you’re well prepared to take you test, pack all you’ll need the night before, get as much rest as you can and clear your schedule for the day, ensuring you have nothing pressing to do immediately before and after your test, to allow you to concentrate solely on the exam.
Keep Practicing Right Up Till Test Day
The more often you drive the better you become at driving, it really is that simple. Often learner drivers make the common mistake of booking their test after a period of driving inactivity and this reduces their chances of passing. If you haven’t driven in a while it’ll take you a few lessons to get familiar with the car and the road, so it’s important that you continue practicing right up until the day of you test, to ensure you’re as comfortable with the vehicle as you can be.
Control Your Nerves as Best as Possible
This tip is easier said than done, however controlling your nerves really is as important a tip as it gets. It’s normal to feel nervous on what is a momentous day, however if you allow your nerves to run away from you it’ll be really difficult to pass on the day. Remaining calm, staying hydrated, controlling your breathing and reassuring yourself that you are a more than capable of passing the test are some of the methods you can use to remain calm.
Ask Your Driving Instructor If You Are Ready To Take The Test
You should only take you test when your driving instructor feels you are at test standard. Learner drivers who take their test before they have the required experience to do so invariably fail and although it is hard to restrain yourself when you feel you’re ready, you should seriously consider the opinion of your instructor on the matter, as they are a better judge of your driving ability.
Drive Your Test Route as Often as Possible
Every area has a local test centre and to improve your chances of the passing your driving test, it’s important to drive the route as often as possible. As you get closer to test day your instructor should have you drive the area surrounding your test route as often as possible and if you have family or friends who are kind enough to let you practice in their vehicle, having them accompany you while you drive your potential test routes, will further increase your chances of passing.
Continuously Practice Your Maneuvers
The one area of the test that almost all learner drivers worry about before hand is the maneuvers. All learner drivers will be required to complete at least one maneuver during their test, so practicing all three to the point where you’re near enough perfect on them is really important for two reasons. First if you comfortable executing each maneuver to a high standard it’s one less part of the test to worry about and secondly, learner drivers worry about maneuvers a lot which makes them nervous for the entire drive. Therefore once you’re completely comfortable with the maneuvers if reduces your stress levels pre-test, which increases your chances of performing to the best of your ability during the drive.
If You Make a Mistake Carry On as Normal
The majority of learner drivers will make a mistake of some sort during the drive, however the way they react to the error is a big factor on whether or not they will pass. It’s very easy to make a mistake during the drive, fear the worst and give up completely, however giving up in this manner almost guarantees failure. Continuing to drive to the best of your ability after a mistake still gives you a shot at passing. Often an error that we deem to be catastrophic, might turn out to be a minor or even completely missed by the examiner, therefore it’s important to remain positive even if you do make a mistake during your drive.
Take Your Driving Test In The Morning
The majority of people are at the height of their alertness in the period after breakfast and before lunch. This includes examiners and learner drivers too. Taking your test while at peak concentration should improve your performance and you also have the added bonus of getting it out of the way as soon as possible, which reduces the chances of you thinking about it too much, which could lead to extra nerves.
Whether you pass your driving test at the first attempt, or it takes you several tries to get it right, it’s important to remember that it is just a test and not the end of the world and hopefully the tips in this guide will help you prepare as best you can for the day.
Passing the driving test is a significant achievement for all learner drivers and it’s the culmination of hours of driving lessons, significant time spent revising for the driving theory test and a relatively error free round of driving on the actual day of your test. It takes a lot of preparation and effort to reach test standard and once you and your driving instructor feel you are ready to take the test, we have several driving test tips to help you pass on the day.
The DVSA recommend at least 40 hours training with a professional driving instructor, as well as 20 hours independent practice before taking your driving test. Practicing independently can have a significant effect on the outcome of your driving test and if you have a friend or family member, above the age of 21, who has held their driving license for more than three years, they can legally sit in the car with you, as you practice before your test.
Although you are assessed in the same way, irrespective of where you take your driving test, the route you are taken on will differ depending on the driving test centre and this can have a significant impact on how you perform during your test. Some driving test centres have a higher pass rate than others and choosing a test centre with an above average pass rate, anything over 50% in this case, will improve your chances of passing.
Once you have chosen a test centre to take your test at, it is crucial you familiarise yourself with the roads in and around it. Understanding the local roads will improve your confidence and reduce the chances of you being caught out by an unfamiliar road layout.
All learner drivers are required to pass the theory test before booking their driving test, but once passed, the practice questions and hazard perception clips are rarely revisited. Going over the study material just before your driving test, especially the hazard perception clips, will help get you into the mindset of spotting hazards and driving defensively which will improve the chances of you passing your driving test on the day
Identify the large roundabouts in its vicinity, as most test routes include at least one. Ask your driving instructor to take you along one of the known test routes and get a feel for the area before the day of your test.
Driving under exam conditions can be very stressful and the pressure of a driving test can cause you to make mistakes as you drive. It is important not to panic if you make a mistake during the course of your test, as in most cases, the mistake itself is not severe enough to cause you to fail. Your reaction to the mistake, if you become disheartened, panic or begin to fear the worst for example, is what can cause your overall standard of driving to fall, leading to additional errors and a failed test.
Learner drivers who consistently check their mirrors and use the MSM driving routine as they drive, stand a good chance of passing their driving test. Your driving examiner will assess you on your use of mirrors and signals and it is important the put the routine into practice whenever you change direction, approach a hazard or come to a stop.
As a bonus tip, ensure you use the POM driving routine whenever you move off from a stationary position.
Your ability to reverse will be examined during the course of your driving test. You will be assessed on how well you control the vehicle as you reverse, whether you are mindful of other road users as you do so and whether you are successful in completing the allotted task. In this section your examiner will ask you to perform one of following driving manoeuvres;
Ensuring you are well rested will increase the chances of you driving to the best of your ability on the day of you test. A good night’s sleep will ensure you are refreshed and clear headed and this should hopefully help you perform as well as you can during your test.
There are several common driving test faults, that if avoided, will improve your chances of passing the driving test. Your driving examiner will assess you for the following;