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How To Pass The Practical Driving Test

By raccars Published

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The best way to pass your practical driving test is, of course, to drive well. However with the pressure on and a stern examiner wielding a clipboard beside you, it's not always that easy.


Allow yourself plenty of time to develop your skills and experience, and take your instructor's advice on when he thinks you are ready. Try to jump too soon and you'll only have to go through the frustrating and expensive process all over again.


Before you start driving lessons or book your test, make sure you can afford to see the process through. You will need to budget for a provisional licence, professional driving lessons, the theory test and the practical test.

Take lessons

Take regular lessons with a professional driving instructor. This will help you to develop good habits and prepare you for what the examiner will expect. About two hours per week should give you consistent progress.

Keep a record

Make a note and celebrate when you reach milestones - such as when you accomplish a tricky manoeuvre. Your instructor may have a syllabus to follow which will make this easy but if not, you can make your own.

Get lots of practice

Once you have the basics out of the way, ask if you can drive under the supervision of a relative or friend whenever possible. The more experience you have behind the wheel, the more competent and confident you will be on test day, so take every opportunity to get some practice in. To accompany a learner driver you must be over 21 and have held a full licence for at least three years.

Get the theory test out of the way

You can take your theory test as early as you like but it will be helpful to have at least ten hours of practical training first. Once it is done, all your energy can be focused on the end goal.

Stage a mock test

Try to simulate test conditions as much as possible so you'll know how to handle your nerves when the day comes.

Take care of yourself

Take a final practice run the night before your test and get an early night. Eat a small but sensible breakfast on the morning of your test.

Stay calm

Try to relax as much as possible before and during the test. If your nerves start to get in the way, breathe deeply and focus on what you are doing now rather than mistakes you may have already made.

Having passed the theory test - for many people the most daunting part of getting a driving licence - the practical test follows. No matter how much practice and preparation you put in, inevitably there will be some sweaty palms and butterflies in your stomach on the day. But the whole thing is over relatively quickly and you will be given the results straight after the test.

The road to the practical driving test is pretty long and winding. First you need to obtain a provisional licence, then put in some hard graft on the road with a driving instructor and at home with a copy of the Highway Code. When you think you're ready, you will need to pass the theory test before sitting the practical.

The practical test will need to be booked in advance and begins at a driving test centre. The process usually opens with an eyesight test, for which you will need to be able to read a car number plate from a 20 metre distance. If necessary, you will be given two more chances. If you fail the eyesight test on the day, you will not be allowed to continue with the practical.

This will be followed by a few questions about vehicle safety, known as 'show me, tell me'. The examiner could ask you such things as to show where the oil filler cap is and to tell how to check the oil level. A wrong answer results in a fault on the test score. After this you will get into the car with your examiner and demonstrate your driving skills for about 40 minutes, under hard scrutiny.

The first part of the practical test will see your examiner give you directions to perform a series of manoeuvres chosen at random from those you will have learned. At least one reversing exercise will be included, such as reverse parking or reversing around a corner. Emergency stops are also a popular driving test manoeuvre. If you make mistakes, you will accrue faults on your test score.

For the second half of the test, the examiner will watch your independent driving skills as you follow road signs and maybe a set of directions. Your navigation skills will not be an issue but you must drive safely. The ordeal is over when you return to the test centre.

To pass the test you must score no more than 15 faults, unless you drive in a dangerous manner, in which case the test will be over.

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