15 Tips to Pass Your Driving Test

learner driver driving with an instructor

Driving test tips for preparation

You've passed your theory, taken your lessons and know you're ready to take your driving test. Here are 15 tips you can use to prepare for your test and make you pass first time. Your driving test will consist of 5 main parts that cover both your practical driving skills and your wider understanding of vehicle and road safety.

The first part of the test is an eye-sight test, where drivers can be asked to read a number plate from distance of at least 20 meters. There will then be a series of 'show me, tell me' vehicle safety questions. Following this you will have you driving ability test that will involve at least one manoeuvre and a period of independent driving where you'll be asked to follow directions given by traffic signs of a sat-nav. Overall, the test will last around 40 minutes.

  • Learn vehicle manoeuvres

    You will be asked to perform an in-the-road manoeuvre on your driving test. This could be a parallel park at the side of the road, a reverse bay park, a rejoin traffic manoeuvre, and potentially an emergency stop.

  • Drive in different weather conditions

    You never know what the conditions will be like on the day of your test. Become comfortable driving in wet, hot, warm, icy and cold weather and you won't be caught out by the weather in your test.

  • Practice performing vehicle safety checks

    Part of the 'show me, tell me' test may assess your understanding of vehicle safety features. You should practice your answers to common questions like 'where would you find the information for the recommended tyre pressure for this car' or 'how would you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted.'

  • Practice driving under instructions

    The independent driving part of your test can last for up to 20 minutes during which you'll need to follow instructions given by either a sat-nav or by road signs. Your might be instructed to travel to a certain location following traffic signs, for which a good understanding of signage will be needed.

  • Practice driving on a variety of roads

    You won't know the test route prior to your driving test but should practice driving in a variety of roads including dual carriageways and rural roads. Also try and practice driving in busy periods as you may have to take your test during rush hour.

  • Don't avoid situations

    If you have a particular weakness don't try and avoid practising this situation. Your instructor should know any particular weaknesses you have and aim to improve these prior to the test. The examiner will try and test you in a range of situations so you never know what you'll be asked to do on the test.

  • Prepare for 'show me, tell me' questions

    'Show me, tell me' questions are asked by the examiner during your driving test that will ask you to either show or tell them how you perform a set safety check. For example, this could be how you would check a vehicle's power steering is working or how you would check for a problem with a vehicles anti-lock braking system.

    These are all questions you can easily practice in your own vehicle or with your instructor. Check out these 'show me, tell me' vehicle safety questions from the DVSA.

How to pass your driving test

  • Book your test at the right time

    Don't book your test that collide with other stressful things are happening in your life. Try and avoid periods of time that you have school exams, a period of time in which you are unwell, or when you have distractions that will hinder your driving abilities.

  • Have a lesson before hand

    Your instructor may suggest this but having a lesson is great to settle your nerves before your test and get some last minute practice in too. It would be a good idea to drive around the roads near the test centre as you will have to use these areas in your test.

  • Wear comfortable clothing

    Don't unsuitable shoes and clothing that you can get too warm or too hot in. If an item of clothing is uncomfortable to drive in for 40 minutes or more then don't wear it. Being comfortable is one of those little things you can do that will go a long way to helping you pass your test.

  • Emphasise your mirror checks

    Not checking your mirrors regularly commonly lead to a driving fault being recorded and in certain situations can lead to a serious or dangerous fault that could fail you. Emphasise that you are checking your mirrors at all times and especially whilst performing a manoeuvre.

  • Don't assume you've failed

    Even if you make a mistake that you think will be marked down as a serious or dangerous fault still finish the test as if you were trying to get a clean score and no faults. You don't know how the examiner will mark you down in certain situations so assuming you've failed when you have not could eventually mean you do fail as you've lost concentration. Maintain your focus throughout the test and let the examiner be the judge of your skills.

  • Know why other people fail

    Knowing why other people fail can help you avoid making those same mistakes. Common mistakes are made at junctions and during manoeuvres when drivers make poor observations and don't check their mirrors. If you approach a hazard take your time with assessing the situation. Whilst you can be penalised for hesitation don't rush past a hazard as this could lead to a serious fault marked against you.

  • Know what you will be tested on

    Understanding the test and what the examiner will mark you on is really important. If you make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults then you will pass your test. There a three types of faults you can make on your driving test. A dangerous fault: this is when you pose real danger to 'yourself, the examiner, the public, or property'. A serious fault: this is a potentially dangerous fault caused by your driving. A driving fault: there is no potential danger, but if you continue to make the same mistake then it could become dangerous and therefore a serious fault.

Here are some more pages you might like to read