17 Tips for Passing Your Driving Test
Learning how to drive is one of the most important skills anyone can develop. It’s a ticket to freedom – the freedom to move yourself around your city and avoid having to depend on public transport (or worse yet, your parents) for personal travel.
Because of the importance of the practical driving test, it’s gained a legendary status among learner drivers. Tales of tests failed after a single small mistake have become commonplace in high schools and other environments full of learner drivers.
With the right mix of confidence and practice, you’ll be able to pass your practical driving test. Image © Depositphotos.com/Christopher Elwell
In actual fact, passing your practical driving test is surprisingly easy if you’ve spent a normal amount of time memorising the road rules, practiced driving and developed the self-confidence required to become comfortable behind the wheel.
Still nervous? Don’t worry – everyone gets a little nervous before taking the driving test. These 17 tips for controlling your nerves and perfecting your driving skills will help you ace your practical test on the first go.
Before you take the test
In order to register for the practical driving test, you will need a valid UK driving license, a theory test certificate number and a valid form of payment. You’ll also need to book your practical driving test ahead of time to ensure availability.
You can book your practical driving test online here at the Driver & Vehicle Agency website. Make sure you’re prepared and confident – there’s no point taking the test if you aren’t yet ready.
Thanks for all of the good luck messages, but I failed my driving test… AGAIN!
— Rachel Smith (@Gymnast_Rachel) July 31, 2013
Don’t take your test until you’re ready
Don’t feel confident? If you aren’t entirely confident in your driving abilities, you’re not ready to take the practical test. Make sure you’ve practiced driving alongside an instructor and feel confident behind the wheel before booking your test.
Practice your test route in advance
Most driving tests in the UK take place along a predetermined route. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for the practical test is by driving along the route you’ll be tested on beforehand. You can check most routes online at 2Pass.co.uk.
I failed my driving test. The examiner asked: “What do you do at a red light?” I said: “I usually check my emails.”
— Phil Torcivia (@PhilTorcivia) April 29, 2013
Learn your way around your vehicle
The key to success is confidence, and being confident behind the wheel means being aware of how your vehicle works. Before taking your test, make sure you’re totally familiar with your car, from its controls to the way it brakes and accelerates.
Practice driving in a variety of conditions
Although driving tests are carried out in normal conditions, it’s important to be able to control your car in a variety of conditions. Practice driving with an instructor in a variety of conditions, from sunny weather to rainy days.
Relax and keep calm during your test
You’ll always perform your best when you’re calm. Remember that the practical test isn’t a life-or-death situation and making a mistake isn’t the end of the world. Being relaxed and remaining calm will improve your driving habits during your test.
Relearn the road rules and theory
From stop signs to roundabouts, make sure you’re familiar with the rules of the road before you sit your test. Even if you think you’re a driving theory expert, reread your instructional guide to make sure you don’t make any theory-related errors.
Just failed my driving test for playing the air drums at a red light. Goes to prove that they have to fail a certain number for nothing.
— Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (@RossOCK) July 26, 2013
Practice parking before your test
Parking is one of the most difficult parts of the practical driving test, and a part that causes many people to fail. Before you take your test, practice all forms of parking – from parallel to perpendicular – to make sure you’re an expert.
Don’t forget about your mirrors
How often do you look in your rear-view and wing mirrors? Remember to check the mirrors in your vehicle whenever you change speed, direction or need a reminder of your surroundings.
Defeat your fear of mistakes
Even the best driver might make a mistake during their practical test. Don’t worry – it’s not the end of the world. You’re allowed to make a few mistakes as part of your practical test, and it’s better to accept them than to panic and become nervous.
Memorise important road signs
From stop signs to merge signs, it’s important to understand all of the road signs in use in the UK. Double-check your theory materials to make sure you’re aware of all the road signs before you book your practical test.
Don’t know who was happier that I passed my driving test! My dad or me
— Emma (@emmaaa_aa) September 4, 2014
Pay attention to speed limits
Speed limits exist for a reason, and paying attention to them will help you pass your test and avoid traffic tickets in the future. Make sure you drive at a safe, responsible speed during your test and never exceed any speed limits.
Get a good night’s sleep before your test
Nothing is worse than taking a difficult driving test when you’re tired. Go to bed nice and early on the night before your test and make sure you get a full, refreshing night of sleep.
Be nice to your driving examiner
Your driving examiner will be closely monitoring your driving habits throughout the test to make sure you’re confident and safe behind the wheel. Be friendly to them – it’s a great way to increase familiarity and reduce your feelings of nervousness.
Accelerate and brake smoothly
The key to good driving is smoothness. When you accelerate, press down the pedal gently to smoothly increase your speed. Likewise, apply the brakes gently to bring your vehicle to a smooth, comfortable stop at junctions and crossings.
Passed my driving test first time!
— Anthony Sherratt (@AASherratt) September 4, 2014
Do a mock test before the real thing
How confident are you in your driving skills? Before you sit the real test, do a mock test with your driving instructor to see how many mistakes you make without even realising.
Develop your self confidence
The key to success is confidence, and the best way to become more confident behind the wheel is to practice driving over and over again. Book plenty of practice lessons before your test so that you feel like a natural once you get behind the wheel.
I would nail my driving test if they swapped the stearing wheel & pedals for a PS3 controller. I once spent 15 mins driving sensibly on GTA.
— Sean Davies (@Omac_brother) July 28, 2012
Don’t tell your friends about it
Want to conquer your nervousness? Don’t let your friends know that you’re sitting the practical test. Without the social pressure to pass, you’ll feel more confident and have an easier time controlling your nervousness during your practical test.
What was your driving test like?
Do you already have your driving license? If you’ve sat the practical test before and passed with flying colours, leave a comment about your experience to help first-time test takers calm their nerves and sit their tests with confidence.