10 Driving Test Tips
- Familiarise yourself with area on the day of the test
Although there is usually more than one possible test route, prior to taking your test, it is recommended that you take at least 30 mins to drive around the general area on the day of the test. It will familiarise you and more than likely boost your confidence that nothing will be a surprise, taking lesson with your driving instructor beforehand will help to calm any nerves.
- Don’t give in to peer pressure – take your test when you’re ready
It is very easy to listen to those among us that like to tell you just how quick they picked driving up and how soon after starting they passed. It is also easy to rush in to your test as it does feel that the whole experience will end up being cheaper. If you’re not ready, then 1) you probably won’t pass and it will end up costing you more in the long run and 2) you will do nothing at all for your confidence going forward.
- Learn the basics privately
If you have access to a vehicle and understanding relative or friend, then use the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the basic controls. That way you aren’t wasting time you’re paying for learning the fundamentals of driving. Another nice side effect is that you will boost your road sense and general confidence.
- When you park at the test centre
Preparing the way, is the key to feeling confident. Give yourself a head start by parking before your test in a place that’s easy to leave that way you know you can do it calmly.
- Do your homework
Just because you’ve passed your theory test, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to know your highway code for the practical test itself. How galling would it be to fail on your knowledge when that’s one of the easiest things to prepare for. A few good driving schools will help you prepare with resources and worksheets as they want you to pass. Have a look on Amazon for a wide range of helpful books. Another helpful tip is to use post-it notes that you place around your home with important things you need to learn. You will keep seeing them often and subconsciously you will be taking them in without much effort. On the toaster, on the back of the toilet door and the mirror.
- Do a mock test
Nothing can completely prepare you for the real thing, but the nearest thing to that is by doing a mock test. All aspects of your mock test are prepared in great detail to best replicate test conditions. Like driving the test route, it is giving you a prior knowledge of what to expect.
- Don’t tell everyone you’re doing your test
Don’t put undue pressure on yourself on the build up to your test day. The less people that know, the less you will feel people are ‘expecting’ you to pass. And if you don’t pass, at least you don’t need to do that dreaded call but you will pass if you believe you can. Having a positive mind-set is a powerful tool. Motivate yourself with a goal. Use the post-it notes method to build your confidence. Write what you want to achieve by explaining in detail the exact specifics. e.g. “When I pass my driving test I will drive to London for my holiday with a blue ford focus 1.6 with the windows down, with my favourite music blasting out.” This picture is automatically programming your mind to succeed. Look up NLP for more information.
- When parking, don’t be afraid to start again. You will not fail for trying again
There’s no time limit for manoeuvres. If after starting a parking manoeuvre, you feel that you’ve done something wrong. Reposition the vehicle to its original position and try again. The last thing you want to do is persist with the bad manoeuvre and hit a curb or worse still another vehicle. That WOULD be a fail….obviously.
- Don’t do your lessons too far apart
You need to keep your experience of driving fresh. The old way of doing 1 lesson per week, will get you there, but much slower. Increasing the frequency of your lessons or time spent in charge of a vehicle will significantly improve the speed of your progress.
- Don’t try and watch what the examiner is writing.
Watching the examiner’s clipboard to see if he’s writing not only takes your attention away from what you’re supposed to be doing i.e. driving, it will greatly affect your confidence if you see writing occur. Ironically, if the examiner feels that you aren’t driving safely because you are peering at what he/she is doing, they will mark you down…so don’t do it!
Lastly and perhaps not deserving the title of a full-blown ‘tip’, but essential all the same, make sure you take your provisional licence with you and that your eyesight is up to scratch. Either of these could result in the immediate termination of the test.
Happy driving and good luck!