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Your Driving Test


The day of your driving test is definitely nerve wracking for most but it doesn’t have to be! By this point you should have received plenty of instruction and practice. Remember that during your test, you won’t be

asked to do anything that you haven’t already done dozens of time before during your lessons.

When booking the Driving test, please be aware of websites that will charge you more. The driving test costs £62. Check our links page for the correct link.

The night before

It’s important to get plenty of sleep the night before. This will help you focus during the test, if you’re tired you run the risk of your reactions being slower than usual.

The morning of your test

Most driving instructors will recommend that you have a lesson just before your test. This usually lasts an hour and is a chance to “warm up”. Shake off your pre-test nerves and make mistakes so you don’t repeat them during the test!. What to bring for your practical driving test

There are a few things you’ll need to make sure you bring with you for your driving test:

• Your provisional licence

• Your theory test pass certificate

• A car – most people use their driving instructor’s, but you can use your own

What happens at the start of the driving test?

Before you begin, the examiner will test your eyesight. You’ll have to read a number plate on a parked car from a distance of 20 metres. If you fail the eyesight check, you will fail your driving test.

Next, you will be asked 2 questions on vehicle safety – these are called ‘show me, tell me’. This is because one question will be answered by demonstrating something to the examiner, and one will be answered by simply explaining your answer to the examiner.

What can you expect during your driving test?

The practical driving test takes around 40 minutes. During this time your general driving ability and skills will be tested in a variety of road and traffic conditions.

You will be asked to the following during your test:

• An eyesight check

• ‘Show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions

• General driving ability

• Reversing your vehicle

• Independent driving

You may also be asked to complete an emergency stop. 1 in 3 tests will involve a emergency stop

The driving test is the final hurdle a learner driver has to tackle before getting that all-important pink licence. The test format is the same whether you do it in an automatic or manual car.

The test typically lasts around 40 minutes (or 70 minutes for those who have previously been banned from driving). It consists of 5 parts which are:

• An eyesight check

• ‘Show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions

• General driving ability

• Reversing your vehicle

• Independent driving

Eyesight check

At the beginning of the test, the driver will have to read a number plate from 20 metres away to ensure their eyesight is acceptable for driving. If you fail the eyesight check, you won’t be able to continue.

‘Show me, tell me’ vehicle safety question

During the test, the driver will be asked 2 questions on vehicle safety – these are called show me tell me. This is because one question will be answered by demonstrating something to the examiner, and one will be answered by simply explaining your answer to the examiner. An example of a show me question is “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?”. An example of a tell me question is “Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system”; the answer to which would be “a warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system”. 

General driving ability

In this part of the test, the examiner will give you instructions on where to drive. The routes used for the tests are not published, so you won’t be able to check them before your test. You will be asked to pull over and pull away from the side of the road. These will consist of normal stops at the side of the road, pulling out from behind a parked vehicle, and a hill start.

You may also be asked to perform an emergency stop within this section of the rest.

Reversing your vehicle

Here you will be asked to perform one of three exercises:

• Parallel park at the side of the road

• Park in a parking bay – either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)

• Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths, and re-join the traffic


Independent driving


You’ll also have to drive for around 20 minutes (half of the test) following either a sat nav or traffic signs; the examiner will tell you which one of the two to follow. If you use a sat nav, the examiner will set it up for you – you cannot use your own.If you can’t see a traffic sign because of an obstruction, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.If you make a wrong turning the examiner won’t give you a fault – they’ll help you to get back onto the intended route.

Making a mistakeIf you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world. It might affect your overall score slightly, but you will still carry on with the test. The examiner will only stop the test if they think your driving is dangerous to other road users.You are allowed no more than 15 minor driving faults and no serious faults. These are sometimes known as ‘minors’ and ‘majors’.If you pass your test, the examiner will tell you how many faults you made, give you your certificate, and ask if you want your full licence to be sent to you automatically. If you want this, give the examiner your provisional licence and your full licence will be posted to you. If you haven’t passed the examiner will let you know what faults you made. Remember it’s not the end of the world and you can book another test 10 working days away. Take a look at our guide on what to do if you fail your test.