What Happens On The Practical Driving Test | Driving Test Success

What happens on the Practical Driving Test

Practical Driving Test

When you’re ready to finally take your Practical Driving Test you’ll probably feel a little nervous, but there’s nothing to worry about. Once you know what to expect, you’ll be better prepared!

On the day of your Practical Driving Test, you'll probably have a lesson with your instructor beforehand so you can calm down and practise any areas you're still concerned about. 

It's important that you've already addressed any Driving Test nerves that you might have so you can stay calm throughout the test. 

What to bring to the Practical Driving Test

On the day of your Practical Driving Test you must make sure you bring with you:

  • Your Theory Test pass certificate (or confirmation) if you are not exempt
  • Your photocard provisional licence.  If you have an old-style paper licence, you must take your signed driving licence and you must also bring a valid passport. Please note that no other form of photographic identification will be accepted. 
  • You must also bring an appropriately insured and licensed vehicle suitable for the test. 

Obviously, most people will use their instructor’s car, but you can also use your own if you have one.

What will I be expected to do on my Driving Test?

On your driving test, you need to be able to drive safely and skilfully in various road and traffic conditions. 

You will be given directions clearly and in good time, and asked to carry out set exercises. 

Before you can start the driving part of your test you must complete an eyesight check to ensure that you can read a number plate on a parked vehicle from 20 metres away. If you need more information about the eyesight check, read our eyesight requirements blog.

You will also be asked vehicle safety check questions known as “Show Me, Tell Me”. 
The “Tell Me” questions are answered verbally by explaining the answer to the examiner, but with the “Show Me” questions you will need to carry out the check in full to show the examiner you understand the required check. 

At the start of the test, you will be asked a ‘Tell Me’ question.

A full guide to this is available on our Show Me Tell Questions blog. 

Once you begin driving, there should be no surprises, as your instructor will have thoroughly prepared you for everything you’ll need to do. Simply keep calm and concentrate on your driving. 

If you make a mistake, don’t panic, it will make things worse! It’s more than likely a minor mistake and doesn’t necessarily mean you have failed your test

What manoeuvres could I be asked to complete on the Driving Test?

As from October 2010, you will now only be required to complete one manoeuvre from the following:

  • Parallel parking.
  • Reversing – pull up on the right side, reverse for two car lengths and then rejoin the traffic.
  • Bay parking. 
  • Correctly answer a ‘Show Me’ question.

Your Driving Test will also include the new Independent Driving which will last for approximately 20 minutes.

You will receive step by step instructions from the examiner which you must follow while proving that you can drive safely and make decisions independently.

The ‘Independent Driving’ portion of the test will involve the examiner asking you to follow road signs or diagrams (or a combination), or to follow sat nav directions which will have been supplied and pre-planned by the examiner.

practical driving test using the sat nav


What is the examiner looking for on the Driving Test?

As you perform your test your examiner will be assessing your driving, and he or she will often be marking something down on a piece of paper. Again, this is nothing to worry about. They are simply making a record of your test and are required to mark down any driving faults you make. 

There are three different types of fault:

  • Minor fault
  • Serious fault
  • Dangerous fault

For more information about how faults are assessed, read our Understanding Driving Test Faults blog.

Back at the Test Centre after your Practical Driving Test

Providing you have not accrued 16 or more minor faults, or a single serious or dangerous fault, you will pass your test!

On arrival back at the Test Centre, your examiner will go through your Driving Test report. You may want to ask your instructor to come and listen to the explanation even if you’ve passed, it’s still worth listening to what the examiner has to say because they’ll be pointing out your minor faults. 

This way you’ll become aware of the small mistakes you make whilst driving, enabling you to do your best to eliminate them and become a better driver.

If you’ve passed you’ll be given your shiny new pass certificate!

Good luck and let us know how you get on!

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