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Practical Test Tips

For many, the practical driving test can seem daunting. This section is designed with the help of driving instructors and is aimed to aid the pupil to pass the driving test.

Before your Test

  • Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Average pass rate is around 40%, its not uncommon to fail. The test can be taken as many times as necessary, so while everyone hopes to pass first time if you don't there is no need to be disappointed. Learn from what went wrong and work on correcting those mistakes. It'll make you a stronger driver in the long run.
  • Be prepared. Make sure you have everything you need, papers, card, test certificates, correct time, glasses if needed.
  • Try to take a lesson before the test to relax yourself into the situation. Use this for a quick brush up and to go over anything you're concerned about.
  • Make sure it's a mutual decision with your instructor. If either of you feel you are not ready to take the test it can always be rearranged. You can cancel or rearrange a test up to 3 working days before hand without any loss of fee.
  • If necessary you may take someone along for support. They must be over the age of 16 and may not interfere with the test in anyway. They cannot advise or instruct you in anyway. They only way they may interact with the test is if they are participating as a translator.
  • Try to be as well rested as possible and avoid a late night or alcohol the night before. You'll feel much better and be more alert for your test if you've slept well.

During the test

  • If you make a mistake don't panic. Many people assume that you must be flawless to pass the exam. In most cases mistakes you make will only result in a minor fault. Keep calm and just keep driving as best as you can until the end of the test.
  • Remember, everything the examiner is asking you is something you have done many times before and its well within your ability. They will not be looking to catch you out.
  • Be confident. If both you and your instructor have decided you are in a position to take tests have faith you are ready to do so.
  • If you don't understand exactly what the examiner is asking you to do be sure to ask for clarification.
  • If you come across a new situation, take time to assess it and then act as you see appropriate. Avoid making rash decisions if you are unsure as to what to do.
  • Most of all, remember that everyone gets nervous. It's natural to have nerves about taking the test but don't worry too much. There isn't any pressure to pass first time, it can always be retaken. Thinking about the test as something you have pass as soon as possible is only going to cause stress and frustration.

Common faults

It's also beneficial to take some time to understand the main faults that people usually receive and work on getting those right before you take the test. The most common mistakes that are made are often the simplest to correct.

  • Use of mirrors/Observation - Check your mirrors frequently and be aware of the road around you. Make sure to check them when as you move off and when approaching junctions. The examiner will also be looking for good observation when you are doing your reversing maneuvers
  • Parallel Parking/reversing maneuvers - Be technically proficient with you parallel park. If you aren't sure as to whether or not you've met the requirements ask the examiner if he is satisfied you have met the criteria. If you feel you aren't doing it right in the middle of the maneuver ask if you can start again rather than continuing badly.
  • Road discipline - Making sure you are in the correct lanes when using roundabouts and junctions and keeping the car under control consistently.
  • Speed/hesitance - It's natural to be concerned about making mistakes or going too quickly and to drive cautiously to adapt to those feelings, but often this is more of a hindrance than a help. The examiner is looking for confident driving so be aware of your surroundings but be willing to act quickly.

If you follow these tips you will be well prepared to pass the Practical driving test.

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