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Practical driving test...

How does your instructor know you are ready to take the practical driving test?

In order to know if you are ready to book the test, your instructor must see that you are a safe, independent driver. In practical terms this means that he can see that you follow the directions he gives you. Deal safely with all driving situations you encounter, and complete all possible manoeuvres with no help, either verbally, or physically from your instructor. If you can do this consistently during your normal driving lessons, you are ready!

As you get towards test standard in your driving lessons he may also conduct a mock driving test. This test is to check your driving standard and to let you know what to expect on your real driving test. He will complete the test in the same way as a proper practical test and mark it accordingly. He will go over the test report sheet, which will help you understand how it is marked and the reasons for the minor/serious fault.

About your practical driving test

The driving test is straightforward and has been developed to see if you can show that you can drive safely and if you have a good knowledge of The Highway Code and can demonstrate this through your driving.

At the beginning of your test the examiner will ask you if you wish your instructor to be present in the back of the car during your test. This may be beneficial if you think it may help you feel less nervous or more comfortable during the test.Your instructor will sit behind you, but must remain quite during the test and cannot help or comment during your test.
The test will last around 40 minutes. You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in an unsuccessful attempt). However, if you make one serious or dangerous fault this will result in an unsuccessful attempt.

Throughout the test you should drive in the way your instructor has taught you and follow the driving examiners directions. If you make a mistake don't worry about it, it may only be a minor fault and may not affect your result. Keep calm, concentrate and carry on.

What will the test include?

The first part of your driving test will start with an eyesight check. The examiner will ask you to read a number plate, the minimum distance for this is 20.5 meters for the old style plate and 20 meters for the new style plate (if you cannot complete this part, the driving test will not continue).

You will then be asked two vehicle safety questions from the DSA Show Me Tell Me set questions. Next you will be examined on your standard of driving and the examiner will ask you to complete one of the following manoeuvres:

  1. Turning in the road
  2. Reversing around a corner
  3. Reverse parking (Parallel Parking)
  4. Bay park
In addition to the manoeuvre you may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise and you will need to carry out 10 minutes of independent driving where you follow a diagram shown to you by the examiner or signs.

After the practical test

When the driving test is over, the examiner will give you the result and then give you and (if you gave permission) your instructor a debrief of any faults incurred during the test.

When you pass

When you pass and have a photo card driving licence the examiner will ask you if you want your full driving licence issued to you automatically. If you agree to this the examiner will ask you to handover you provisional licence. You will then receive your pass certificate and your new full licence will be sent to you in the post.

If you are unsuccessful

The examiner will give you a driving test report form. This will show you where you made any driving faults during your test. You should keep this form and show it to your instructor, as it will enable you and your instructor to work and correct those faults before your next test. You can take another practical test 10 working days after your test.

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