Passing your driving test is a tough task. It’s worth doing, however, because little can beat the freedom to hit the open road and go where you want, when you want. Nothing will replace lessons with a good instructor and plenty of practice, but a few handy hints could help you on your way to getting that coveted pink licence.
See our list of the best cars for learner and new drivers if you’ve just passed or are on your way to licence ownership.
Here are our favourite tips for passing your driving test:
1. Don’t rush it
Some people pick up driving faster than others so don’t be tempted to rush into your test if you’re not ready. Driving lessons can be pricey but failed tests are expensive so there’s no point rushing through lessons only to come undone on test day. Take your time and practice as much as humanely possible before you book your test.
2. Revise the Highway Code
It’s important to keep topping up your knowledge on the Highway Code all the way through your lessons and before your test. This means you’ll be as familiar as possible with road signs, speed limits, lane markings and junction layouts so you won’t have to work them out during your test, helping you feel more at ease. This knowledge will remain useful long after you’ve passed too.
3. Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors
In lessons and on your test, you should constantly check your mirrors because inadequate observation is one of the most common reasons for failing a driving test. We’d suggest making your observations as obvious as possible on your test – a quick glance might be all you need to know you’re safe but your instructor will mark you down if they’re not totally sure you’ve made the checks.
4. Keep calm and carry on
It’s somewhat obvious, but good advice nevertheless – keep calm on your test and you’ve a better chance of passing. If you’ve done enough lessons and learned the Highway Code, you’ll have a good chance. This will come most in handy should you make a mistake on your test – you’re allowed a handful of minor errors before you fail so don’t let that one mess up ruin the rest of your test. Remember, if your examiner asks you to do the same thing more than once, you’re probably making an error on it and they’re giving you the chance to not make that error again.
5. Preparation and organisation
Being prepared and organised will help keep you calm on your driving test day. Get plenty of sleep the night before, eat a good breakfast and remember to bring your theory test pass certificate and photocard provisional driving license. Not having to stress about the little things means you can focus on the test in hand.
6. Drive the local area
A great way to prepare for your test is to familiarise yourself with the areas around the test centre, because these are the roads you’ll have to tackle on your test. If you already know how to take on the awkward car park exits or difficult roundabouts in that area, you won’t have to face them for the first time on your actual test.
7. Manoeuvres galore
There are a few different manoeuvres you can be asked to perform on your test including a turn in the road (three-point turn), reversing around a corner, along with bay and parallel parking. Practice them in the area around your test centre so you’re happy doing them in context. Manoeuvres are another common area where drivers fail so it pays to practice them.
8. Ask questions
Asking questions of your instructor or examiner could make the difference between passing and failing your test. If you didn’t hear or understand an instruction, make sure you ask for clarification – your examiner will assume you’re asking because you care about the test result so won’t mark you down for doing so. If you fail for something you could’ve checked, you’ve only yourself to blame.
9. Get familiar with the vehicle
Whether it’s your own car or your instructor’s you’re doing the test in, familiarise yourself with its controls and basic maintenance points before your test. This will help for the ‘show me, tell me’ part of the test where you’ll be asked to identify or locate some common car parts such as the windscreen wash refiller or the hazard light button. This remains essential knowledge even after you’ve passed, too.
10. Understand your mistakes
Your instructors and examiners are experienced drivers so, if they point out an error or mistake during a lesson or test, it’s something you need to work on. Don’t reject their advice because you can be sure you’ll fail because of it – instead heed it and become a better driver as a result. This is particularly important if you don’t pass first time because addressing the mistakes you made in your test will give you a better chance for your next one.
Save money on your next car
See our list of the best cars for learner and new drivers if you’ve just passed or are on your way to licence ownership. Check out carwow’s latest savings on our car deals page. For more options, head over to our car chooser tool or use our PCP calculator to get an idea of how much your next car could cost per month.