What to Expect On the Day of Your Driving Test

What to Expect On the Day of Your Driving Test

What to Expect On the Day of Your Driving Test

Feeling a little apprehensive on the countdown to the big day? Trust us – you are not in the minority. And nor should you be beating yourself up about it, as a little nervousness before something as important as a driving test can actually be a good thing!

But as is the case with most major milestones like this, having a good idea of what to expect on the day can make the whole thing so much easier to handle. Plus, you will probably find that it isn’t nearly as foreboding as you expect, once you get down to business.

So, if you have been wondering exactly how things play out on the day, here is what to expect from your practical driving test:

1.     The Whole Thing Takes About an Hour

Much as you may be anticipating a somewhat long and drawn-out ordeal, the whole thing is actually over in around an hour. You can expect a little admin at the test centre before the exam itself begins, so it is a good idea to arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment.

The test itself takes around 50 minutes to complete and is divided into a series of sections.

2.     It Begins With a Vision Test

Before you head out, you will be asked to read the registration plate of a vehicle around 20 metres away. It is an automatic fail if you cannot read it promptly and accurately, so be sure to bring your glasses or contact lenses with you.

On that note, it is also an automatic fail if you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, but forget to bring them with you on the day – even if you can read a number plate from 20 metres or more.

3.     There is a Show Me, Tell Me Section

You can expect to be asked a couple of questions related to vehicle safety – one where you show your examiner something and one where you tell them something.

This is a fairly straightforward part of the test for most lenders, given how there is a full list of all the questions you might be asked on Gov.uk. So really, there is no excuse for being caught by surprise with something you hadn’t expected on the day!

4.     Your General Driving Will Be Assessed

The general driving aspect of the test lasts for about 20 minutes, which really does fly by. This is where your examiner will tell you exactly where to go, observing you are driving proficiently in several different environments.

You will most likely encounter dual carriageways, urban streets, busy junctions and so on. However, you will not have to drive on a motorway during your test.

5.     You Will Have to Perform a Reverse Manoeuvre

There is always some variation from one driving test to the next, but you will have to perform at least one reverse manoeuvre. This could mean reversing into a parking bay, performing a reverse/parallel park on the street, or simply reversing backwards at the side of the road safely, before moving off once again.

If it is the reversing aspects of learning to drive you are less confident with (which is often the case), be sure to get as much practice as you can with your instructor before your test.

6.     There’s an Independent Driving Assessment

These days, the practical driving test also includes 20 minutes of ‘independent’ driving. This is where a destination is set in a Sat-Nav and your examiner observes your driving proficiency as you progress, without actually giving you any direct instructions.

Contrary to popular belief, going entirely the wrong way during this part of the test won’t result in a fail – just as long as you drive safely the whole time.

7.     You Won’t Know the Result until the End

Irrespective of how epic or awful you think your test is going, your examiner will not give you any indication at all of whether you have passed or failed, until the end. Hence, the worst thing you can do is make the kinds of assumptions that could affect the way you drive for the remainder of your test.

NOTE: Before your instructor puts you in for your test, you will be assessed and asked to do a Mock Test – the graphic below explains the thought process your instructor will typically take:

driving mock test infographic

driving mock test infographic

After completing your full practical test, it is common to think that you might have failed, but this may not be the case at all. Hold your nerve and stay focused from start to finish, as you could well be on your way to passing – without even realising it!

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