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Taking Your Practical Driving Test

The practical itself is designed to test your ability when driving unassisted to see how safely you drive and demonstrate your understanding of the High Way code. The test is conducted by a driving examiner. The test is usually last around 40 minutes and will be conducted along a test route designed to test your skills as a driver. During the exam you will be required to follow the instruction of the DVSA examiner at all times. During the test the examiner will be looking for you to:

  • Keep control the car at all times
  • Demonstrate a good awareness of the road and your surroundings
  • Be observant, constantly assessing and reacting to other road users around you appropriately

The test will begin with the DVSA examiner taking you to your car and first asking you to read the number plate. If you fail this eyesight check you will not continue with the test. If you require corrective glasses ensure that you bring them with you.

The examiner will then ask two questions about car maintenance and safety. These questions usually consist of basic car maintenance such as how to check oil levels, tyre tread or how to check that your lights are working. You must answer both questions correctly otherwise the examiner will record a fault. You will then be asked to get into the car and begin driving.

The examiner will be looking for you to demonstrate that you can drive safely and competently at all times, keeping good control of the car in all situations and always observing the road. The test route choosen will incorporate typical road conditions you would find yourself in on a daily basis such as dealing with traffic and pedestrian crossings, hillsides and various junctions. The examiner will also ask you to perform two of the three reversing maneuvers you will have covered with your instructor. You may also be asked to park in a bay or carry out an emergency stop.

To pass the test you must score less than 16 minor faults and must not commit a single serious or dangerous fault. Should you record a serious of dangerous fault you will fail the test regardless of the standard you have driven at during the rest of the examination. If at any time the examiner deems your driving to be unfit or unsafe the test will stopped and you will not be allowed to continue.

Completion of the test

Once the test is over the examiner will take a brief moment to assess your results and will then inform you as to whether you have passed or failed. If you have passed the examiner will hand you a pass certificate and also a copy of your test sheet. He may also take your card licence and send the information to the DVSA. If you have failed you should ask the examiner for feedback on your performance and ask how you could have improved. They will go through your faults and explain how they have come to that decision.

Don't worry if you have failed, the test can always be retaken. If you fail your practical you don't need to do the theory again, and you can retake your practical test after 10 working days of the previous test.

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