Once you have passed your theory test, you can then book a practical driving test (Form DL26 available from the Driving Test Centre or your driving instructor).

Documentation you must take to the test with you are your theory test pass certificate, a valid GB or Northern Ireland driving licence and photographic proof of identity.

If you have the new style photocard licence, you must bring both parts of the licence (photocard and paper counterpart) to the test. This type of licence will also act as your photographic proof of identity.

The test usually takes approx 35 to 40mins.

How to Pass the Driving Test

Most of us at some point want to or need to pass the driving test. It can for some be a struggle while others pass the driving test first time with ease.

All learner drivers want to know the key ingredients on how to pass the driving test. Everyone’s ability is of course different and there are many factors involved that can make the learning to drive process easier and the best chance of passing the practical driving test first time.

Here you will find the best tips and advice directly from highly experienced driving instructors from learning to drive to getting that first time driving test pass.

What to expect on the driving test

It is always a good idea to know exactly what you are going into. Having a thorough understanding of what to expect on the driving test will give you more confidence as you will be aware of what exactly is going to happen on the day of the test.

Show Me Tell Me questions

Making sure you understand your car in regards to the show me tell me driving test questions will also leave no nasty surprises. If you get one or even both of these incorrect, it is only a single minor.

Get yourself off to a good start however and ensure you know all 19 questions and answer thoroughly. See the Show Me Tell Me questions and answers for further help.

Observing others driving

Whilst being a passenger, imagine yourself driving. Any junctions, roundabouts etc, go over your full mirror signal manoeuvre routine just as you will be expected to on your driving lessons and in the driving test. The more you do this, the more it will become second nature to you. During the driving test, you ideally want to do as much as possible without having to think about it, just as a experienced driver does.

Driving test routes

The DVSA don’t publish driving test routes any longer. Not all areas of the driving test routes need to be covered as much of it is just a typical road. What you should look out for on the routes are the difficult areas. Use the driving test routes with Google maps to gain an understanding of such areas. Large and complicated roundabouts, junctions or crossroads for example. If there is a one-way-system close to the test centre, it is likely that this will be used.

One of the key factors of when you are choosing a driving school or driving instructor is to know if they have a good knowledge and understanding of test routes. Test routes usually involve some difficult and hazardous areas, and our instructors are aware of these areas and they will provide you with plenty of experience and tips that will certainly aid your chances of passing the driving test first time.

Driving test manoeuvres

The driving test manoeuvres are the part of the test where you have complete control. You control the speed of the manoeuvre, the accuracy and the ability to stop the car during hazards. Practice the manoeuvres so you are completely confident with them during all kinds of situations. If you are a little unsure of any aspect of a manoeuvre, Driving Test Tips provides tutorials for all of the manoeuvres. Precise and accurate manoeuvres with continuous all-round observations is key in how to pass the driving test. These manoeuvre tutorials cover all aspects in detail.

  • Turn in the road
  • Reverse round a corner
  • Reverse parallel parking
  • Bay parking

Independent driving

independent driving test map

An independent driving test map used by DVSA examiners

The driving test incorporates around 10 minutes of independent driving. Before you are ready to sit your driving test, it is important that you are able to drive safely with the ability to follow road signs and not rely on your instructors or examiner directions.

The map to the right is a typical example of what the examiner will show you during the driving test. They will ask you to park up on the left. They will then show you a map similar to this one explaining they would like you to follow this route. He or she will then explain where you are in relation to the map.

This is at the bottom where the arrow is. They will then explain that at the end of the road they would like you to turn left, at the end of the next road they would like you to turn right and at the roundabout turn right, 3rd exit. When you have completed this, they may ask you to follow road signs or to pull over on the left and show you a similar diagram.

The driving test centre

A great deal of driving tests are failed on the roads around the test centre, often leaving the test centre. Familiarise yourself with these roads as best as you can. At the very start of the driving test you are at your most nervous and it is a this time you are the most likely to make mistakes.

Traffic systems

The driving part of the driving test may only last 30 minutes or so, but a lot of ground can be covered in this time. The examiner will test your ability on the most difficult areas of the test routes. The driving test will include roundabouts, junctions and crossroads, all of various types. Ensure you understand all of these road systems and the various types fully. If in the slightest doubt or if you don’t feel entirely confident in your ability at some of these systems, ask your driving instructor for advice.

It’s cheaper in the long run to take a few extra lessons now than fail the test and have to retake it. There is often a long wait for driving tests and it is likely that you will need several driving lessons before the 2nd test to keep your level of driving at a high standard.

Help & advice on passing the driving test

Below are some tips and advice whilst taking the driving test. The driving test should be taken in a step by step system. Dealing with each stage at a time. This guide will help you understand the most common mistakes made by learner drivers. Below are tips on how to pass the driving test during the test itself.

  • Making mistakes

    From our experience, a great many learner drivers during the driving test make simple mistakes. Mistakes that usually result in minors. They tend then to dwell on these mistakes thinking all is lost. It is very likely that you will make mistakes during the test. If you do, forget about it and move on with the rest of the test. Keep your concentration on the rest of the test and not what has happened.

  • Driving test manoeuvres

    A common misconception is that manoeuvres need to be completed in a single perfect action. This is simply the case. As in real life, it doesn’t always go to plan, so need readjusting. If you feel you have over-shot a reference point for example, pull forward to correct. Tell the examiner you are going to do this so as they are kept informed of what you are doing. Constant re-adjustment may result in a minor, but it is certainly better than failing the test.

    Never give up. If the worst happens and you are demonstrating a parallel park for example and hit the kerb hard or even mount the the kerb, ask the examiner if you can try the manoeuvre again. The is up to the discretion of the examiner, but time permitting they may well allow you another go. Touching the kerb gently should be fine.

  • Junctions, crossroads and roundabouts

    Generally during the driving test, do the speed limit if it is safe to do so. However, you are a learner and have less experience. When approaching potential hazards such as roundabouts, junctions or crossroads, slow down. Approach these a little slower than everyone else. Give yourself the time to select appropriate observations, indication and lanes. Many driving tests are failed simply because the approach speed is too fast and as a result, you are not giving yourself time to see and react with the conditions.

  • Mirrors

    Whilst driving on your test, use the appropriate mirrors whilst making turns and lane changes. Check your mirrors frequently whilst driving as this will give you confidence as you will be aware of what is around you at all times.

  • Not sure where to go

    If you are in the slightest doubt where to go or didn’t hear the examiner correctly. Ask the examiner to repeat immediately. They are perfectly happy to do so. Even if you realise you have taken a wrong turn and are going the wrong way, don’t panic. You wont fail the driving test for this. The examiner will simply guide you back on course.

  • Independent driving

    Similar to above, even though this is the independent part of the driving test, if you forget where to go, ask the examiner. They will tell you. Also, during the independent part of the test, if you take an incorrect turn, it is fine. It is not a test of your ability to navigate, it is a test of your ability to remain competent and safe under stressful conditions whilst relying on road signs to navigate.

  • Blind spot

    Not checking the blind spot is a common fail for the driving test. The examiner will ask you to park on the left frequently. Before moving off, ensure you make the appropriate mirror checks and the blind spot to the right. If you need to change lanes at any point, again appropriate mirrors followed by the blind spot of the lane change side.