Tips for Acing Your Driving Test
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Ushering in the New Year often comes with the task of trying to maintain resolutions made for the upcoming months - perhaps one of them is passing your driving test. But this, similarly to most New Year resolutions, poses its own set of challenges.
Taking your practical driving test can be one of the most daunting, yet rewarding, experiences of your life. In the run-up to it, you may be feeling nervous and doubtful. Not to worry, this is perfectly normal. Your instructor will never make you take a test if you are not ready.
The average pass rate across the country currently stands at about 50%, and while this is the highest in more than a decade, there are still elements you can implement and practise in preparation for the big day to improve your success rate.
Thankfully, the team at PassMeFast has offered ten driving instructor-approved tips and tricks to help you pass your test in the New Year with flying colours.
1. Get to know your test routes
It's a smart idea to familiarise yourself with the area and the different routes you could take during your test, as you will have to drive independently for around twenty minutes of the test.
When you are under pressure, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and confused. Familiarising yourself with each individual route you could take can calm your nerves and offer reassurance during the test. It can also help you to become aware of challenging roundabouts, turning points and changes to speed limits coming up.
If your instructor hasn’t during your lessons, ask them to take you on each route or practise with a licensed adult under your learner driver's insurance.
2. Exaggerate mirror checks
Failing to check your mirrors is one of the most common minor faults that can result in a failure. It may not feel natural to be constantly checking your mirrors, but it demonstrates to the examiner that you are aware of your surroundings. Make sure you move your head slightly when checking your mirrors and not just your eyes so that your examiner notices.
Of course, you should do it within reason as your eyes need to be on the road and focused on the cars around you. But, you should be checking them most commonly after setting off, approaching any hazards, and changing lanes and gears.
3. Be on time
It may seem like an obvious one, but punctuality is important. Arrive at the test centre at least ten to twenty minutes before, as you want to make a good first impression to your driving examiner and not eat into anyone else’s test time. As practical driving test slots are currently heavily saturated and fully booked, it isn’t worth risking losing your spot because you are late.
If you are late, you also may feel more flustered and, therefore, lack concentration. It is important to feel calm and confident when you are taking your test, as this could make all the difference in how successful you are and how you are perceived by the instructor.
4. Double check you have everything with you
If you forget all the necessary information needed for your test, you will not be able to take it. It is imperative that you bring your UK driving licence with you, as well as your theory test pass certificate.
In addition to these two pieces of documentation, check with your driving instructor beforehand that the car you have chosen to use for your driving test meets every requirement, as this is equally important.
5. Calming nerves
This is much easier said than done, but calming nerves before a test will help you feel more collected and focused.
You can ask for your instructor to come along with you for the test. It will offer more reassurance during the test and their presence alone could act as a memory trigger for all the little tips you learned during your lessons.
Another thing you can do is communicate with your examiner. They aren’t there to catch you out - if anything, they want you to succeed. If you’re feeling nervous, tell them and they can reassure you. Additionally, if at any point you don’t understand their instructions or find yourself stuck, they can repeat their questions and clear up any confusion. It’s better that you do this than second-guess yourself, becoming flustered and panicky.
Most obviously, but equally as importantly, don’t feel as if you have to take your test if you don’t feel ready. The DVSA actively encourages you to postpone your test if you and your instructor don’t think you are test-ready, and this is promoted via the ‘Ready to Pass?’ Campaign. Everyone learns at a different pace, so don’t put pressure on yourself to be confident at driving if you feel you need more time.
6. Book your test at a quieter time
If you have the option to book your test on a number of different dates, try to find a time that is convenient for you. Do not book it when you have additional exams or have other commitments, like a busy work schedule, as it is important to practise in the run-up to your practical test. You need to be focused on the exam, and not have any other pressures that could throw you off when driving.
7. Have your hazard routine memorised
Mirrors, signal, manoeuvre! If you see a potential hazard ahead or you are about to do a manoeuvre, the MSM routine should be the first thing on your mind. You must do this every single time, to prove to the examiner that you are aware of all your surroundings.
Before your test, get into the habit of memorising this saying, and implement it into your driving.
8. Ask to do a mock test in your final driving lesson
The best way to prepare for your practical test is to do a mock. Putting yourself in the situation beforehand and running through each element of the exam will show you what to expect.
It can make you feel less nervous when your real test comes around, as you will be prepared and understand the exam process.
9. Make conversation with your examiner
Pushing small talk with your examiner can alleviate any tension you have and make a good impression. Examiners have to moderate around seven tests a day, so talking to them beforehand and during the test (within reason) can calm your nerves and lighten their mood - as long as it isn’t too distracting.
10. If your examiner asks you if you are finished…
Sometimes, after completing a manoeuvre, if you haven’t done it entirely correctly the examiner will ask you, “Are you finished?”
This could indicate that you may have gotten something slightly off. By asking this question, it gives you time to assess if there is anything else you can do to improve the manoeuvre.
For more information on how you can successfully pass your driving test, or for exclusive insight from the team at PassMeFast, click here