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Passing your practical

Don’t let nerves get the better of you

From tips to prepare yourself to what you need to bring with you on the day, here’s all you need to know about passing your practical driving test.

The secret to passing your driving test

How many lessons do I need?

The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says that the average student requires a minimum of 45 hours of professional lessons before passing their test. Of course, this will vary from one person to the next, but an honest instructor will let you know when you’re ready. One of the most important aspects is that you’re confident in your ability to drive safely.

How much practice should I do?

  • While driving instructors have insurance cover for their students, you’ll still need learner driving insurance when you’re practising with a parent, guardian or friend. Make sure that anyone who is supervising meets the following criteria:
  • They must be over 21
  • They must be qualified to drive the vehicle you want to learn in
  • They must have had their full driving licence for three years

The DVSA recommends spending at least 20 hours practising what you’ve learnt in your lessons. Learning to drive can be a costly endeavour, so if you can use your practice time to help get your confidence up then this could be a big help.

Practical test – practice tips

If you’ve already passed your theory test, you should know the Highway Code. But making sure you’re putting it into practice when you’re in the driver’s seat can go a long way to helping you pass.

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the area around the test centre you plan to take your test at. If the terrain is particularly hilly for example, then it’s a good opportunity to practice hill starts. If it’s relatively flat but there are plenty of roundabouts, then they should be your area of focus.

Of course, there are times when on-the-road practising just isn’t an option. You could try brushing up on your skills with the help of an app.  These can help you stay familiar with manoeuvres and the ‘show me, tell me’ questions without getting your hands dirty under the bonnet. 

Test day tips

On the day of your practical test it’s important to wake up well-rested and as relaxed as possible.

  • Make sure you have a decent breakfast and drink plenty of water to help you stay alert
  • Leave the house in plenty of time to keep stress to a minimum and avoid being late
  • Don’t forget to bring along your provisional licence, your pass certificate for your theory test and your glasses (if you need them). You’ll be asked to read the number plate of another car, and if you’re unable to do this after 3 attempts then you’ll get an automatic fail
  • For some people, talking to the examiner can help to ease nerves, but for others it might simply be a distraction. Do whatever comes naturally – either way it won’t affect your result
  • Plenty of people need a few attempts before they pass. If you don’t get the result you were hoping for, don’t give up – and remember the experience will help you perform better next time

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