Driving Tests - What to remember

Taking a driving test can feel like a really big deal. There’s so much to remember! Relax and follow this guide and you’ll be fully prepared for your test.

The first thing to remember is to book the test. It might seem obvious but when you have a date booked, you can organise your practice and revision so you’re in peak form for the test. You can always change the date of the test if you need to.

Before you get to take the practical test, you’ll need to pass the theory test. Have a look for our guide on the theory test on this site. There is help available for people who have difficulty reading and/or writing, a health condition, or a disability, contact your local driving testers for assistance if you need it. You’ll need some proof of disability or reading difficulties, this can be a letter or email from a teacher or doctor.

For the theory test, you’ll need to know the Highway Code, know the traffic signs, and have the essential skills of driving covered. You can find easy guides to these in many high street shops or online. A practice test is a good idea to show you how much you know.

When you get to the test, you’ll need a few things:

• UK driving licence

• Theory test certificate

• A car to drive (you can use your instructors)

Make sure you’ve got those things, you can’t take the test without them.

The next step is to have an eyesight test. The minimum requirement is to be able to read a number plate at 20 metres (or 20.5 metres for old type number plates). You’ll need your glasses if you wear them.

A hazard perception test will be a part of the test, you can practice this online.

After that, it’s down to you to take the test. It won’t last more than about 40 minutes and you will be tested on all the knowledge and skills you have learned during your practice and revision. Lots of people do not pass their test the first time, usually because they are nervous.

Although feeling nervous may just be a natural mix of emotions, nervousness while driving can be a real problem. It isn't a stretch to say that nervousness has been a contributory factor in some accident claims involving learner drivers so how can you calm your nerves?

To help with nervousness, the first step is to make sure you have learned all the test material properly. Make a plan several weeks before the test to go over everything you know, and make sure you communicate any concerns you have with your instructor. The more time you spend on the road, the more confident you will be, so getting lots of practice can really help you pass your test first time.

If you didn’t pass the first (or second, or third …) time, do not panic! Lots of great drivers never pass the first time, so take a little while to practice and memorise everything you need and start again when you’re feeling more confident.

Pass Plus Driving Tests

A Pass Plus training course can dramatically improve your safety on the road and your enjoyment behind the wheel. Many insurance companies offer discounts to people who have taken them, so they make good financial sense too.

Generally, they are best taken within a year of passing your test – before you form many bad habits. You’ll need to book with a registered Pass Plus approved driving instructor. Costs can vary and some local councils offer discounts, check with your local council before you book!

The test itself can take at least 6 hours. You’ll be driving in towns; on rural roads, motorways, and dual carriageways; at night; and in different weather conditions.

All the sessions you spend with your instructor should be on the road, but in some cases you might need to take a theory test if the conditions are not available. Once you’ve shown the instructor you can drive in all the necessary conditions, they will give you a training report. Your skills will have improved significantly, but to prove this to an insurer, you need to apply for a Pass Plus certificate. Your instructor will have the forms, remember to get them to sign it before you send it off. It needs to be sent to the DVSA. Check that your insurer gives a discount to Pass Plus holders before you apply.