When it comes to sitting your driving test, there is not a cheat sheet, unfortunately! But there are definitely steps you can take to best prepare yourself for the challenge of the modern UK driving test!
It can seem very daunting at the beginning, especially if you are not yet comfortable behind the wheel. However, it is absolutely worth doing, as not much can compare to the freedom of being able to go wherever you want whenever you fancy!
Nerves are normal, but the best way to placate them on the day of your driving test is to be as prepared as possible with these top tips:
Be on time!
You may think this is obvious, but it is always good to arrive in plenty of time before your test. If you arrive late, you could completely miss your slot and have to re-book another test day, as well as paying for the one you missed! 10-15 minutes in advance is a good number to aim for.
Have a lesson pre-test
It is always a good idea to have a test with your instructor as close to your test as possible, so you can run through all of the questions/tasks you may be asked to answer/complete. A lesson will also help calm you down on the day, as you will have all the answers fresh in your mind!
Revise the Highway Code
This is basically the rulebook for driving on British roads. This is as close to a cheat sheet as you can get. It will familiarise you with road signs, markings and junction layouts.
It is also extremely useful information once you have passed your test with your day to day driving.
Look at those Mirrors!
When doing lessons or sitting your test, you should be checking your mirrors all the time! One of the most common reasons for failing is inadequate observation. We would also suggest making those observations as obvious as possible, I mean really exaggerate it!
It may only take you a glance to see, but your examiner will mark you down if he/she doesn’t see you checking regularly.
Don't panic, keep going
This may also seem pretty obvious, but it can be hard to stay calm, especially if you make a mistake. The good news is, you are allowed a handful of minor faults before you are failed, so even if you know you made a mistake, keep going.
It is good to bear in mind, if your examiner asks you to do the same thing more than once, you’re probably making an error on it!
If you miss an instruction, ask them to repeat
If you didn’t hear or understand an instruction, make sure you ask for clarification. They won’t mark you down for this as this shows you are trying hard and paying attention.
Remember the examiner is a human too, talk to them if it helps you relax! As long as you listen to all their instructions and look at the road...
Use a car you know
Whether it is your instructor’s car you’ve been practising in or your own, make sure you are comfortable with the controls and that you know where all the main maintenance points are.
There will be a ‘show me, tell me’ section at the start of the test where you may get asked to identify or locate some common car parts such as the windscreen wash refiller. This is also useful knowledge for after you have passed.
Choose where to take the test
It is to be expected that test centres in highly congested town centres with lots of complicated junctions will have a lower pass rate than those out in the countryside or in low population areas.
If you happen to live in an urban centre, it may be worth taking the test somewhere outwith the town/city. It is not cheating to take your test somewhere with a higher pass rate, but importantly, ask yourself if this will leave you unprepared for driving after the test.
Bring your instructor along for the test
You do not have to sit the test alone, you are allowed to invite your instructor along during the test if that makes you feel more confident. They’ll also provide another pair of eyes so if you do happen to fail, they’ll have their own constructive feedback for lessons going forward. In fact, you can take anyone you want along for reassurance, providing they are over 16.
Understand your mistakes
Remember that your instructor and examiner are very experienced drivers and are well versed in the requirements to pass. So don’t ignore their advice, as this will almost guarantee failure. This is particularly important if you don’t pass the first time, as the mistakes you made in the first go can be amended and give you a better chance the second time.
Take the opportunity to learn what you can and what you need to work on and make yourself a better, safer driver going forward, even after the test.
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