The driving test isn’t much fun – we get that. But little things can go a long way to helping you pass and as we’ve found and helped 10s thousands of people pass theirs, here are our top tips for you to pass your driving test!
1. Get a Good Nights Sleep
We get it, it’s easier said than done when your driving test is the next morning but a good night’s sleep can work wonders. Sleep helps improves focus, attention and alertness which can all provide invaluable for passing the test.
It’s not just about the length of sleep that you get though, it’s also the quality that can have such an important impact on how you do. Sleep is made up with three different cycles which are light sleep, deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement). If sleep is broken up then the affects can easily be felt the next day and could severely hamper your driving test.
The average adult needs 7-9 hours sleep and maximising the amount of kip you get will severely improve your focus on the road. Of course, you’ll likely be nervous the night before your test so we recommend the following things to help prepare you for sleep:
– Don’t look at blue screens for at least two hours before you go to bed. Screens are designed to look like sunlight and can inhibit a response within your body.
– Relax before bed. For example do yoga or mediation. Both improve sleep time and quality!
– Exercise during the day.
– Have chamomile tea. This soothing drink can really help you relax!
2. Plan Ahead
Perhaps our most important tip is simply to plan ahead when you’re conducting your driving test. Planning is essential to passing and will help you greatly. Keeping vigilant on the road and conditions in front of you will help you mind prepare and react to developing conditions.
When you are able to drive a car naturally without thinking then it leaves more time for you to concentrate on potential developing hazards. By the time you come to do your driving test you will already have passed your theory test which includes a large section on hazard perception. This is essential and one of the most important things when conducting the driving test.
As well as hazards, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs and road markings constantly. Many people easily get caught out by not seeing 20mph signs which are becoming commonplace around smaller roads and housing estates. The examiner will often take you down these streets and going more than 10% + 2 over the speed limit will be in instant fail. That’s just a 4mph leeway on some smaller roads.
Driving slower will also help you digest information better as it gives you more time to react to hazards. Some test centres will be located in densely packed town centres whilst others will be predominantly located in smaller towns or villages. Make sure you have driven the route you are going to take well before you take the test.
3. Don’t be Distracted
Much easier said than done we know but it is so important to keep focussed to give you the best chance of passing. Even a small lapse in concentration can lead to a mistake that could cost you your driving test. Whether that’s not seeing a speed sine or not paying attention to the ‘mirror signal manoeuvre’ procedure, a simple and honest mistake can cost you the test.
Don’t pay attention to what the examiner is writing. The examiner will have a clipboard with your driving test sheet on it which they use to conduct the score. It’s very difficult to read and even more importantly, it can take your eyes off the road which in turn may make you fail! In addition, the examiner often writes and marks a lot of things at the end of the test so don’t look at the paper and concentrate on the road!
Although we do not recommend it, some people have even described that taking paracetamol before the test helps increase focus and calms the nerves but the evidence for this is mostly anecdotal.
4. Don’t forget the documents!
Thousands of tests are cancelled every month because people forget their documents when arriving at the test centre. You must take your UK driving licence and your theory test pass certificate. If you forget any of these your test could be cancelled, and you will not get a refund of the £62 fee. If you have lost your theory test pass certificate you need to contact the DVSA with your:
You’ll then be sent a letter which you can take to the test instead of your pass certificate. You also need a car but hopefully you already knew that! You can also take someone with you on the test itself. You can have the person in the back of the car during the test and to be with you for the overall result and feedback but they can not interfere with the test itself.
5. Learn the Routes of your driving test
By far the most important aspect of your driving test is where you will be driving. Learning the route will allow you to focus on other safety checks rather than wondering where you are and what’s coming up ahead. Even if you’re not driving, simply knowing where things are and what is coming up ahead is essential when on your test.
Many people ask their instructor to do a ‘mock test’ to help familiarise themselves with the road. This is often a good strategy as it helps you develop under pressure as well as familiarise yourself with the routes which driving examiners may take you on. People often book tests at test centres that they are unfamiliar with due to how quickly they can get an appointment. This is never recommended as you will be unfamiliar with the route and problems that you may face on the route.
We exist for this very reason and will help you get a much earlier test at the very test centre you are most familiar with and therefore help give you the very best chance of success. Our driving test cancellation checking service will move your test forward by over 50 days on average and we have helped thousands of people pass their test earlier at the test centre of their choice.
Some sites also sell ‘test routes’ which are maps of different routes that examiners will take from test centre to test centre. This may help you to practice the different routes multiple times before your test and can give you a huge benefit.
6. Don’t worry if you forget an instruction!
Examiners are testing your driving, not your memory! If you didn’t hear or understand an instruction then just repeat it. Even if you take the wrong direction and missed the instruction that the instructor said, they cannot give you a minor or major mark as long as you carry out the driving correctly. For example, if the examiner asked you to go straight on at a roundabout and you turn left instead, the examiner cannot mark you down for doing that as long as you practice the left turn correctly.
7. Practice the eyesight test.
There is nothing worse than failing the test right at the beginning of the test itself. Make sure you practice the number plate reading test several times before you take your examination. Try and practice from varying distances. Although the official test is to read a number plate a set number of metres away it can vary from test centre to test centre. Some examination centres actually mark out a line with number plates on the wall to read from whilst others just conduct the test from a set point.
Either way, failing this test will mean a straight fail and you will not be able to go on the test. Make sure you practice it many times and if you are struggling, make sure you get an eye appointment. There is nothing worse than paying £62 and failing the test before you’ve got in the car!
8. Research and Practice the show me tell me questions.
Although you cannot actually fail your test if you get these questions wrong, you will receive one minor point for each incorrect answer and these could easily push you into a fail. There are a pool of show me tell me questions that can given and you should know the answers to all of these off by heart. It can be easier for an instructor to take you through these one by one as they will know exactly where everything is as well as showing you how to open the bonnet.
It can be trickier if you are just borrowing a car for the day. If this is the case, make sure you have access to it beforehand so you know where everything is. The show me tell me questions that can be asked are available to view on the .gov website. That contains all of the potential show me tell me questions that could be asked on your theory test.
9. It’s not the end of the world if you fail!
We get that it’s annoying and stressful if you fail but try and think of it as part of the learning to drive experience and that you can try again soon. We can help you get a much earlier test by using our driving test cancellation service. We will be able to get you a test far earlier than you otherwise would have done and we hope we can help you pass next time!
Our Other Top Tips:
Keep calm and carry on is the motto! And it certainly is true in this case. One of the most prominent things we hear about when people come to us looking for driving test cancellations is ‘I was fine the day before’. This so often rings true. By the time you get to your test, you know your instructor well and therefore feel calm on driving lessons When this becomes a test environment with someone you don’t know, nerves can so easily kick in. Nearly all of us here at Find Me A Driving test were the same.
Our tip to combat this is to take one or two lessons with somebody else in your car. This could be someone like a friend or a parent. Driving with someone else in the car who you are not used to driving will help to increase the pressure (just like the real test!).
Take Your Time
Why rush? A driving test is only a set amount of time and rushing will not only make you more likely to make mistakes but will run down the clock faster! What’s the point?
Make sure you take plenty of times with your manoeuvre. You are unlikely to fail your driving test because of the manoeuvre and therefore every minute spent doing it with no cars around, is a minute less having to deal with real and fast changing hazards.
Watch that speed!
It’s so important to keep an eye on the speed you are doing. Not only is speeding an instant fail, it gives you far less preparation time. Be extra vigilant when approaching areas with housing as recent council campaigns have seen many areas reduced to just 20mph. Driving at 30mph in a 20mph zone will result in a fail. If in doubt (and there is no traffic behind you) drive at 20mph through these estates. If the road is narrow with many obstacles, this will likely be seen as good judgement by the examiner.
Do not panic when it comes to the Sat-Nav part of the test. If you are approaching a major roundabout and you realise you are in the wrong lane, do not make every effort and get in the correct lane. Just carry on as normal and exit the roundabout in your lane a the wrong exit. The instructor cannot fail you for not listening but solely on your driving. Therefore do not panic if you realise you have to change direction. Just keep calm and carry on! You can find even more tips here.