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The practical test for new drivers

Practical driving testOnce you have passed the on screen theory test you can apply for the practical driving test. However you must be able to drive with minimal assistance from your driving instructor before you take the test.

Am I ready for the test?

If you can drive and control your car safely and smoothly, with full awareness of other road users and consideration for the road, weather and traffic conditions and can competently perform all the slow manoeuvres, you are ready to pass your driving test!

You should therefore be able to drive with minimal assistance from your driving instructor apart from his or her directions on where to go.

Take your instructor's advice on whether you are ready, otherwise you waste your time and money taking a test, as well as annoying the examiner and needlessly taking a test booking, which someone who was ready for the test could have had. Normally you will have the use of your instructor's car for the test.

I think I'm ready but my instructor doesn't

If you really doubt your instructor's opinion, arrange for an independent instructor to give their assessment - but don't leave it too late!

All you have to do on the driving test is what you should know already - there are no secrets. Your instructor will have taken you over the routes normally used for the test but he/she cannot know in advance, exactly which route you will have to drive. Just drive as you have been taught. Don't worry if you make the odd small error as it wont fail you. Up to a maximum of fifteen minor errors are allowed before failure occurs but one major fault will fail you. You instructor will tell you which are minor and which are regarded as major faults.

Nowadays there is an independent driving part to the test. This lasts around twenty minutes. (roughly Half of the test duration). During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner. During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.

The examiner will provide the sat nav (a TomTom Start 52) and set it up. You won’t need to set the route - the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn't matter what make or model of sat nav you practice with. You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test - you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.

You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

One in five driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

Reversing manoeuvres

You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test - these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

You’ll be asked the:

Attending the test


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