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30 Dec 2019
Jamie Gibbs Alice Campion

Driving test tips – helping you pass first time


driving test tips

Follow these tips to make your driving test less nerve-wracking

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves before taking our driving test. It’s understandable - for some, there’s a lot riding on their driving test result. 

The pressure can leave you feeling flustered. But the right preparation can ease that pressure. Our tips will help you prepare from the moment you’re test ready. 

Booking your test

You’re done with the dual controls and you’re ready to book your test. Here are some things to bear in mind before you do: 

Time and day

Be mindful of when you book. You don’t want your test to fall during a busy or stressful period in your life. Try and choose a time when it can be your sole focus. 

Once you’ve decided, you need to choose which day to take your test, but where do you start?

Using data from the DVSA we found out which is the best day and time to increase your chances of success.

Although this tool won’t guarantee that you’ll pass, it might help give you a boost.


There’s no doubt that a busy area with complicated roundabouts will have a lower pass rate than a rural area.

If you’re willing to move to Scotland – pass rate 57% – then great! But the rest of us will have to look closer to home.

You can find out the pass rate for local test centres on the DVSA website. But before you book, ask yourself whether it’s practical to switch test centres. 

Ask your instructor where they'd recommend you taking your test.  As they’ll be deciding on where you drive during your lessons they'll know where's best. 

Read more: Learning to drive: The facts 


Preparing for your test

It’s likely you’ll be having lessons before you book your practical test. Here are some key things to prepare before your test:

Use your instructor 

It seems obvious but make the most of your lessons. Ask your instructor questions on your weaknesses and focus your lessons on these. 

Go over your theory

Usually there's a while between your driving theory and your driving test. 

It’s worth dusting off the theory book and refreshing your memory on your road signs. 

That way, if you come across any that you don't understand you can ask your instructor well in advance.

Know your test route 

Once you’ve selected your test centre, try driving around the area with your instructor. 

That way you can prepare for any tricky roundabouts that might appear on your test.

Drive in different conditions

If you’ve had lessons over a few months, it’s likely that you've driven through most types of weather. Especially if you're learning in the UK. 

If not, try and get on the road at night, when it’s raining or foggy, in advance. You’ll feel more equipped to deal with the worst conditions when your test rolls round. 

It’s worth checking the weather forecast a few days in advance too. That way you can mentally prepare for bad weather if needed. 

Read more: Making sense of road signs

Driving test tips

On the day of the test

The day has arrived, it’s likely you’ll be feeling some butterflies. If you’re not, brilliant! Either way, these tips will stand you in good stead:

Do you have everything?

Before you leave, check you have what you need. 

You must bring your provisional driving licence and your theory test pass certificate. If you don't you won't be able to take your test.

Have a lesson before your test

See this as a ‘warm up’ that’ll put you in the right frame of mind for your test. 

Use it to ask your instructor any last-minute questions or practice any manoeuvres.

Use your instructor's car

Using your instructor’s car will help reduce stress on the day of your test. 

The car will be familiar, and you’ll know where everything is for the ‘show me, tell me’ part of the test.

Some people find it useful to have their instructor with them during the test. As well as a second pair of eyes, it might put you at ease during your test. 

Read more: Is pass plus a worthwhile investment?

driving test tips

During the test

Double-check if you need to

If you didn’t hear or understand an instruction, ask the examiner to repeat it. 

If you clarify you won’t get flustered and thrown off course. 

Slightly exaggerate mirror checks

Your examiner will be looking out for mirror checks, but it pays to give them a bit more gusto. Especially as lack of observation is one of the top 10 reasons why people fail their test. 

Try moving your head instead of glancing when you check your mirrors. You could even try saying ‘mirror’ every time you check. That way there’s no doubt in the examiner's mind.

After the test

Listen to the examiner’s advice

Whether you’ve passed or failed, your examiner will give you feedback on your test. If you failed, they’ll explain why. 

If you’ve passed, you’ll get feedback too. Even though you’ll be on top of the world, chances are you may have made a few mistakes. 

Remember you can always improve your driving. Your examiner and instructor will provide you with advice to help your driving in the future.

Good luck!


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