Practical UK Driving Test


Information for the Practical U.K. Driving Test

Every year in the U.K. approximately 1.6 million people undertake the practical driving test. The test consists of driving unaided for around 38 to 45 minutes over a test route. During this time the candidate may be asked to complete an emergency, or “controlled,” stop. They must also answer two questions based on vehicle safety and maintenance- before the driving element – and drive for around ten minutes following direction signs or a route map shown by the examiner.
Before entering the car an eyesight test will be conducted. It consists of reading a registration plate at 20.5 metres distance.
Driving Instructors can accompany candidates on test and examiners will ask the candidates if they want their instructor to sit in the rear of the vehicle during the test.

How the Test is Conducted

Candidate driver errors are graded by the examiner as either dangerous, serious or “driver error.” A serious or dangerous error will result in test failure as will accruing more than fifteen driver errors. The test result is given by the examiner at the end of the test, along with a form explaining any faults committed. The examiner will also offer a verbal debrief.

It is entirely possible that two examiners may go out on a test. However, it should be noted that only one examiner conducts the test. The other will sit in the back of the car and will only observe. This is done periodically to help ensure the uniformity and fairness of tests and bares no effect upon the test result.

The national pass rate is around 43%. Not a great statistic, most would agree. This then, begs the question, how can candidates boost their chances of passing? The following sets out some advice from driving instructors, based on their many years of experience and expertise.

Be Prepared

In most instructors – and examiners – opinions the overriding reason people fail driving tests is not through nerves, bad luck, or unfair examiners, it is because they are unable to drive unassisted without making a serious driving error. With some exceptions, candidates who are able to demonstrate competence in their driving lessons before a test usually pass. Those candidates who have been unable to sustain safe driving practices in their lessons such as driving unassisted in varied road and traffic conditions, usually fail. Nerves mostly come to the fore because candidates lack confidence. Confidence is often lacking because there has been no precedent of competence. In this respect it would be strongly advisable to seek the counsel of a professional driving instructor before booking a practical driving test. Sometimes just a few more lessons make all the difference to passing.

Take a Mock Test

Rather than expend a lot of money, effort and stress, why not ask a driving instructor to conduct mock test? This is a revealing, realistic and accurate practical insight into how a test will be conducted. It also is a strong indicator towards test readiness.

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