Practical Test

Be aware when booking your practical test online. The current fee for the theory test is £62 and can be booked online by the official Directgov web site. There are however many web sites that offer to book your practical test but in addition to the cost of the test itself, charge you a booking fee. If you wish to cancel your theory test, a minimum of 5 working days notice must be given or else you will lose your fee.
What to expect.
On booking your practical test you will be sent a letter or email of confirmation.
·      Ensure the time and date are correct for your test.
·      Check the cancellation date for your test. If you do not cancel your test within the cancellation period, you will lose your test fee.
On your test day you must bring with you:
·      Your letter of confirmation
·      Your Theory Test pass certificate
·      Both parts of your provisional photo card licence.
It's important that you take both parts of your licence. If not, the test will not take place and you will lose your fee. If you misplace your licence, you must apply for a replacement from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which could take up to 15 days. If this happens, you may have to rearrange your test if you have an old style paper licence, from 1 November 2005 you must bring your paper licence and a valid passport.
We will arrive at the test centre 10 minutes early. Arriving late means that the test cannot be carried out and you will lose your test fee.
At the time of your test, the Examiner will enter the waiting room, call your name and ask you to sign an Insurance declaration. This gives the Examiner a chance to check your signature against your provisional driving licence. The Examiner will then ask if this is your current address on your licence and if you would like your instructor to come along or sit at the end for the debrief.
The Examiner will now ask you to lead the way to your car, and identify it to the Examiner. On the way to the parking area the Examiner should introduce himself and ask you what name he should refer to you as.
At the Parking area the Examiner will select a vehicle at random and ask you to read the number plate out to him. If you get the number plate reading wrong twice, the Examiner will measure out the statutory distance (20.5 metres or 67 feet, If a new style number plate is read the distance is 20 metres or 66 feet) using an official tape. Get the reading wrong now and you fail the whole test. You can, wear glasses when taking the eyesight test. If you do, then you must wear the same glasses throughout the rest of the test.
After the eye test, the Examiner will now ask you 2 questions about the car. The questions can range from tyres, brakes, lights, demisting the windows etc. These are generally known as the show me tell me questions. If you answer one or both of the questions incorrectly this counts as a single driving fault. More than a total of 15 driving faults and you fail.
Now the Examiner will walk around your car. He will take note of the make and model of your car. The Examiner will also check to see if the vehicle is road worthy. He will check the vehicle tyres, lights and windscreen wipers. If the Examiner is happy with it's condition, he will then join you in the car.

As in your lessons, before starting the car, ensure the vehicle gear is in neutral and the handbrake is on. Start on the Examiners request and then you're off. The Examiner will make it clear which direction he wishes you to go. If you are unclear, then ask him to repeat.
Through out the test, the Examiner will be marking your performance on his sheet. You have up to 15 minor faults before a test fail for example, a little late with indicating and 1 serious. The Examiner will be assessing your ability to control the car. Smooth use of gears, clutch, steering and braking. Although if moving off is a little jerky on an occasion or if you happen to stall the car, don't panic. Continue with your composure and everything can still be fine.
The Examiner will also be assessing your ability to control the car given the road conditions. For example traveling round a bend at the correct speed and gear. Giving cyclists enough distance as well as parked cars. Correct observations e.g., junctions and crossroads. Giving due regard to pedestrians and other road users.
Mirrors and signals have to be used and at the correct time.

The Examiner will be assessing your ability to navigate crossroads and junctions, watching to see if you use the M.S.M routine.
There will be pedestrian crossings during your test. He will see if you take the appropriate action for these.
You will be asked to park up on the left at various times during the test. Make sure you stop in a safe, convenient and legal position. The Examiner will not trap you by asking you to stop in a illegal place. It will be after one of these "stops" when the Examiner will ask you to do one of the of the 4 manoeuvres listed below. In one in three tests you will be required to to make an emergency stop. The Examiner will make it clear before this exercise his signal which will indicate when you perform the emergency stop. You need to stop the vehicle 'under control' Which means you should apply a constant firm pressure to the brake pedal, holding it just short of the point at which the wheels lock. Don't leave putting the clutch down too long, or you'll stall the engine. Though, this engine problem can be easily troubleshot, taking it for granted could lead to serious engine damage that may affect your car insurance. When stopped apply the handbrake, and put the gear lever into neutral. Move off again when told. Don't forget the M.S.M. routine.
During the test, the examiner will ask you to park up on the left. He or she will then explain that you are about to enter the independent part of the driving test. This part of the tests will last around 10 minutes. The examiner will ask you to follow the road signs to a particular location and possibly show you a basic map to help you understand where you are going. You are not assessed for your navigational skills, but your ability to drive safely whilst reading road signs and markings.
You will be asked to do 1 of the following 4 manoeuvres:-
·      Reverse around a corner / Left reverse manoeuvre
·      Turn in the road / Three point turn manoeuvre
·      Reverse park / Parallel parking manoeuvre
·      Bay parking manoeuvre
Now it's off back to the test centre. The Examiner will inform you that the test is over. He will then inform you whether you have passed or not. Either way, you will receive a test report. At this point the Examiner will ask you if you would like an explanation of any faults that you have occurred
Observe other people driving.
Not for tips on how to drive as they may have bad habits. Imagine yourself in the driving seat. What procedures you would use at various situations.
Put the test into perspective. It's not the end of the world if you make a mistake or even fail the test. The test can always be taken again.
Ready for your test?
If you don't feel confident with your ability to control the car and react with your surroundings in a safe and controlled manor, then the chances are you're not ready. Spare as much time as you can to practice. If however your instructors tells you that you are ready then you are. Your driving instructor is experienced and should only allow you to take the test when you are ready.
The biggest disadvantage learner drivers have is lack of experience. If at any point during the driving test a situation occurs that the learner has not come across before, they may panic and/or take the wrong course of action. Performing a manoeuvre on the driving test is where you have most control. By practising the manoeuvres until you are completely confident you can do them with ease will put you in a much higher position of passing.
Know what you are getting into.
The driving test only lasts for around 40 minutes or so. Ensure you know all the Show Me Tell Me driving test questions and answers and how to perform the Show me part such as how you would show the test examiner how you would check the oil in your car. You will only be asked 2 of the 19 Show Me Tell Me questions. One Show Me and one Tell Me. You will be asked these just before you take the car out for a drive. Fully understanding these will provide you with confidence. If you do happen to get one or both wrong, you will only receive a minor. So just forget about it and move on. Having a good understanding of what to expect during the driving test will allow you to know what to expect and leave no unexpected surprises.

During the driving test.

During your test, driving with confidence is certainly a good thing. Driving with confidence doesn't mean driving at inappropriate speeds given a certain situation such as roundabouts and junctions for example. Many tests however are failed due to lack of observation. Approach junctions, roundabouts, crossroads and left and right turns at an appropriate speed. Give yourself enough time to observe other traffic and your surroundings.
If you make a mistake on your test, don't give up. Put it to the back of your mind and persevere. Many learner drivers make mistakes during the driving test, it's quite normal. The problem is, is that many learners dwell on the mistake they have made. This in turn removes their attention to what they should be doing and results in making further mistakes. Ensure you forget about it and concentrate on the task ahead. You can get away with a surprising amount. If a manoeuvre goes wrong, say to the Examiner "I'm just going to try this again" Get it right, and the chances are you will pass.
Don't be afraid to ask.
If you are a little unsure what the Examiner says, ask him to repeat, even during the independent part of the driving test.
Examiners can be surprisingly lenient when it comes to manoeuvres. If during your manoeuvre you feel that you have over-shot a reference point for example, don't be afraid to pull forward to correct. Just tell the examiner so as they are aware of what you are doing and make sure you correct it safely. If all goes wrong and you end up mounting a curb for example, ask the examiner if you can try the manoeuvre again. Time permitting they may well let you. Essentially, do what ever it takes to get the manoeuvre done and don't give up.
Independent driving.
It is with popular opinion, even with the examiners themselves, that the introduction of the independent part of the driving test has made the driving test easier. Remember, this part of the test isn't to test your ability to navigate. If you forget where you are supposed to go, simply ask the examiner, he or she will provide you with directions. If you happen to take the incorrect direction, don't worry, the examiner will once again give you directions to put you back on course. Don't worry about where you are supposed to be going or getting lost, providing you do it all safely by following the correct procedures outlined by your driving instructor, no faults will be made on your report sheet.
Wrong turn.
Another common test fail is to take a different lane or direction that the Examiner requested, panic and abruptly change lanes without appropriate observation. If you do take an incorrect lane or direction, remain calm and try to take the correct lane by using the appropriate observation and indication. If it is unsafe to do so, then continue on your current path. The Examiner will then alter the route to put back on track. An incorrect turn isn't a test fail. Lack of observation / indication is.
Look well ahead.
Try not to focus only what is directly in front of you. Look well ahead. Look for any potential hazards. Spotting a pedestrian crossing from a distance for example. Talk yourself through what might happen. Look for people gathered around the crossing. You might see the 'wait' sign on the crossing illuminated, making the chances of the lights changing far greater. Look well ahead for road signs or road markings. If a roundabout is approaching, talk yourself through the correct procedure before you get there.
Firstly, put the test into context. It's not like you can never take it again. If you do happen to fail then don't worry about it. Just book it again. Also, the examiner sitting next to you is just a normal person doing their job. He's not expecting you to drive like a professional, after all, you're still a learner at this stage. All he wants to see you do is drive SAYFLY. 

10 reasons why people fail their tests.

1. Acting improperly at road junctions.
A common test fail with junctions is limit lines. Coming to a stop over the line is of course dangerous. Approaching junctions too fast and lack of observation results in the number 1 test fail.
On approaching a junction, use your mirrors, slow down to an appropriate speed so that it gives you plenty of time to observe the road, other vehicles and pedestrians.
2. Manoeuvre - Reversing around a corner incorrectly.
Control, accuracy and observation is the key to this manoeuvre. Hitting the curb and lack of observation is a common test fail for this. During the manoeuvre, use an appropriate speed. Keep it slow, giving yourself enough time to judge your distances correctly, use your mirrors and correct observation.
3. Failure to make proper use of steering.
Remember to feed the steering wheel through your hands. Don’t cross your hands on the wheel, let the wheel spin back after a turn or drive with any hands off the wheel for any longer than they have to be.
4. Manoeuvre - problems with parking.
Reverse parking is arguably one of the hardest manoeuvres. It's purpose is to show the Examiner that you have good control of the car using clutch control, accuracy and observation. Keep slow, giving yourself plenty of time to manoeuvre the vehicle accurately and to observe other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and stop if they approach.
5. Failure to make proper use of gears.
Make sure you are in the correct gear before pulling away. When slowing down or coming to a stop, use the brakes to slow down and not the gears. As a general rule, move into 2nd gear as soon as you move from stationary, 3rd gear at 20mph, 4th gear at 30mph, and 5th gear at 40mph.
6. Failure to make effective use of mirrors.
Under - use of mirrors is a common mistake, especially when changing lane. Remember, any speed change - check your mirrors. Any direction change - check your mirrors. Also when moving off.
7. Driving too slowly.
Driving too slowly is seen as a sign of being lacking confidence. Use of appropriate speed is important. If the road you are on is clear and safe, then drive at the speed limit and not unnecessarily slow. Driving too slow can be frustrating for other road users causing them to to make unsafe actions such as overtaking.
8. Acting incorrectly when turning right.
When turning right, use the correct mirrors and indicate. Judging the correct time to turn can be difficult. Try to imagine yourself as a pedestrian crossing both lanes across the road. When you think it would be safe to cross as a pedestrian would be a good estimate when it would be a good time for you to pull away.
9. Hesitating unnecessarily at junctions.
Try not to take too much caution pulling out from a junction. Again, imagine yourself as a pedestrian as in the above.
10. Failure to move away correctly from stationary positions
When you move off, make sure you take the correct precautions. Mirrors, blind spot and signal if necessary. Also after a manoeuvre, take the same procedure as moving off for the first time.