Before you apply for a test
You need to be 17 or older, hold a valid provisional licence, and have passed your theory and hazard perception tests
. You should also have had a number of driving lessons. "How many driving lessons?" is one of the most common questions we ADI's get asked.The answer is 'how long is a piece of string? The more lessons you can take on a regular basis gives you the best opportunity to progress your driving at a decent rate.
What happens in the test?
The test lasts 40 minutes. First your eyesight will be checked and you will have to read a number plate that is 20.5m (67ft) away. If you fail the eyesight check then your test will be cancelled. After this you will be asked two questions about your car (Show me, tell me' ) and then be examined on your driving skills and manoeuvres; including reversing, parking, and perhaps an emergency stop.
What is 'Show me, tell me'?
'Show me, tell me'
are questions about basic checks that a driver should do to ensure a car is safe. For instance you may be asked: "Tell me how to check the tyre pressure" and "Show me how you would check the headlights are working.
How does the examiner decide if you've passed?
To pass, you will have to complete the test with less than 15 minor errors. You will then be given a pass certificate and asked if you want a full licence to be issued to you automatically.
What do I do about nerves?
Everyone gets nervous, so the best thing to do is concentrate on what you're doing, and drive and behave as you would on a lesson. Focusing on your breathing can also help to relax you before your test.
What if I fail?
You can repeat your practical test without having to retake your theory and hazard perception tests as long as your theory certificate is still valid (it lasts for two years). Always ask for feedback from the examiner so you can see where you went wrong. The current national average practical pass rate is 43%*.
What do I have to bring to the test?
Bring your theory test certificate, your appointment letter, and both parts of your photo card licence. You risk your test being cancelled if you forget any of these items.
How much does a practical test cost?
A weekday practical test costs £48.50, and an evening or weekend test costs £58. To book, phone 0870 0101 372, or apply online at www.dsa.gov.uk
. There will be a waiting time of between two and twelve weeks, depending on where you live. To cancel your test you must give three clear working days notice including Saturday so you don't lose your fee.
*Driving Standards Agency June 2005