19 Tips for passing your practical driving test

Sam Bisby

By: Sam Bisby

Approximately 50 per cent of drivers fail their first driving test, and with the practical test being one of the pressuring moments of your life, we’ve laid out 19 tips to help you become part of the other half that do pass their practical driving test first time.

Wear comfortable clothing

To feel comfortable on your driving test, you should wear clothing that you feel comfortable in, with the likes of trainers, t-shirts and loose trouser of joggers among the most popular items. Ideally, your clothing shouldn’t restrict your movement whilst you are driving; otherwise, you’re likely to struggle during manoeuvres.

Keep it a secret

A lot of the pressure involved in passing your practical driving test comes from the expectations of family and friends when you tell them about it. In order to avoid this, it could be best not to say a word of the test until afterwards (or not at all if it doesn’t go to plan).

Get extra experience with another driving instructor

If you can, try to drive with another driving instructor or driver at the side of you; that way, you can get a more encompassed view on how to drive. The driver will need to be at least 21 and have held a full driving licence for at least three years.

Remember to eat and drink

You shouldn’t skip a meal or avoid drinking before the test. Eating and drinking before your driving test will make sure that you can concentrate on the driving an not an empty stomach.

Arrive early for your test

Arrive at your driving test at least 15 minutes early so you are not in a hurry and don’t feel rushed or stressed on your test day. This may also help you get acquainted with your examiner and allow you to feel comfortable with them.

Stay calm

You will probably feel nervous and anxious during your practical driving test. It can be the hardest thing to stay calm, but it can help to improve concentration.

Apply for your test only when you feel ready

You should only apply for your practical driving test when you feel ready to take it and you shouldn’t be pressured in to taking it too early by your driving instructor or family. If you take your driving test too early and fail, it can knock your driving confidence.

Schedule your test for the right time for you

You should schedule your practical driving test to be during lower traffic times, preferably outside of rush hours. You should also avoid taking your driving test around high stress times such as around exam times.

Familiarise yourself with the test routes

You should familiarise yourself with the driving test routes to ensure you feel more relaxed and confident during your practical driving test. It will also mean you know where you are going on the test.

Get enough sleep

If you feel tired or sleepy on the day of your test, it will mean your reaction times and concentration will be hampered. You must ensure you have a good night’s sleep so that you can perform at your best on the day.

Try every road condition

The weather in the UK is changeable, therefore it is always a good idea to try driving during every type of weather you can, including rain, wind, sunny and ice conditions. You should also try driving on country roads, dual carriageways and other roads to ensure you are happy driving on them.

Be positive

When you get up on the morning of the test and before as well as during the test you should be positive. It can be hard to be positive when you are worried or nervous, but remaining positive and feeling confident can encourage you to do your absolute best.

Listen carefully during the test

Ensure you listen carefully to the examiners instructions and ask if you have problems hearing it the first time. If you mishear something you will probably not fail as long as you perform the driving properly; however, an examiner may give you a direction to go other than left, right or straight on, such as the name of a road or town.

Visit the bathroom beforehand

Try to visit the bathroom before you go on your test to ensure you will not feel the need to go during your test as you will be unable to.

Arrange a driving lesson before your test

You should try to arrange a driving lesson just before your driving test. This will mean you can practice your driving, as well as have the car set up to your personal settings before you get to the test centre.

Don’t schedule much on test day

Try not to schedule anything for test day that way if the test overruns, you won’t be in a rush. Plus after your test you may feel too tired to do anything due to the nervousness and adrenaline you have experienced.

Don’t rush

Take your time with your manoeuvres as the examiner wants to check you can complete your manoeuvres safely and correctly, not as fast as possible. If you see the manoeuvre isn’t going correctly, you can always correct it.

Remember your documents

You should ensure you take all of your essential documents with your for your driving test. You should bring your theory test pass certificate as well as your paper counterpart and card driving licence to your practical driving test. 

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