The practical test makes sure you can drive confidently and safely in different road and traffic conditions, and that you know The Highway Code (and can show this by the way you drive). It lasts about 40 minutes.
You can find out more about the practical test at GOV.UK, such as what documents you’ll need to bring to the test, what happens during the test and what sort of car you can use for your test.
Before you begin the driving part of the test, the examiner will do an eyesight check and ask you two questions about safety checks on your car.
For about 10 minutes of the test you’ll drive independently: your examiner will ask you to follow signs or give you directions to reach a destination. This is so you can show you’ll be able to drive safely on your own after you’ve passed your test.
You’re allowed to take your instructor with you on your test, or anyone who’s over 16.
It’s useful to have your instructor or the person who trained you to drive with you: they can help you work on any problems the examiner notices, either to help you pass next time or if you want to keep learning after you pass your test. Having someone you know with you can also help you to stay calm during the test.
Almost everyone gets nervous about their driving test: you’ve done months of preparation and you really want to pass. But to pass, you’ll need to keep your nerves under control. Here are some tips to help you
- Don’t book your test at a time when you know other stressful things are happening, such as school exams.
- Before the test, make sure you get a few good nights’ sleep: you’ll feel more stressed if you’re tired.
- Avoid too much caffeine before your test: it might make you feel jittery and nervous.
- Arrive at the test centre about 15 minutes before your test is due so you’re not hurried but you’re also not waiting too long.
- If you want to talk to the examiner during the test, that’s fine – but remember that they might not say much because they don’t want to distract you from your driving.
- Remember, your examiner wants to make sure you’re safe on the road. They’re not trying to catch you out. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, just ask.
- Be positive: focus on passing your test rather than worrying about failing it.
If your examiner sees more than 15 driving faults during your test or one serious or dangerous fault, you’ll fail your test.
If you fail, you’ll be given a driving test report showing the faults you made, and your examiner will also explain to you why you haven’t passed. Although you’ll probably feel disappointed, listen carefully to the feedback because it will help you get things right next time.
You can’t retake your test for at least 10 days, so make the most of this time: talk to your instructor about what you need to work on and get as much practice as you can.
Well done! You can now get your provisional licence changed to a full licence. Your examiner will usually send your details to the DVLA so an upgraded licence can be sent to you by post.
Your examiner will give you feedback on your test. Remember to listen carefully to this: just because you passed your test, it doesn’t mean you drove perfectly!