The secret to passing your driving test

The secret to passing your driving test

So, what exactly is the secret to passing the driving test? (Don’t take your test on a Friday, only joking). Actually, there is no secret, it’s quite simple really:

You’ll pass if you can show your examiner, that you can consistently drive safely and demonstrate, through your driving, that you have a thorough knowledge of the rules of The Highway Code and the theory of driving safely. 

Who are driving examiners? 

The job of a driving examiner is a complex one, and it’s crucial to your safety and opportunities in life. Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), examiners are there to help you start your lifetime of safe driving if they see you have the skills. 

So, DVSA test their personality, interpersonal skills and judgement as well as their driving or riding, even before they can be accepted into typically 5 weeks of initial training. 

Ability and standard of service are crucial. Once in the job, an examiner must do: 

  • 5 days of driving or riding training every 5 years 
  • 4 days of training on carrying out tests every 4 years. 

More training is scheduled when changes are made to the test or policies, and DVSA constantly check pass rates across the country so any differences are never down to inconsistent practice. 

When you meet one of DVSA examiners, they will: 

  • aim to put you at ease 
  • carry out the eyesight check and vehicle safety questions 
  • carry out the driving test 
  • give you and your instructor feedback 
  • complete the driving test report form and give you a copy 
  • complete a much more detailed report on any faults you may have made during your test when you get back into the test centre. 

Try to relax and drive as you’ve been driving during your lessons and practice. 

Your examiner wants you to do well and will try to help you relax. If you want to talk during the test, that won’t be a problem – your examiner will talk with you but might not say too much because they don’t want to distract you from your driving. 

Don’t worry if you make a mistake; keep calm and concentrate on your driving for the rest of the test. Unless it’s a serious or dangerous fault, you won’t fail on this unless you make the same mistake a number of times. 

Does the standard of test vary? 

No, all examiners are trained to assess tests to the same standard. The test routes are designed to include a range of typical road and traffic conditions and the examiners are closely supervised to make sure they follow the national standard. A senior examiner sits in on some tests to make sure the examiner is assessing the standard of your driving properly. If this happens on your test, don’t worry – they won’t be looking at you, so just carry on as if they weren’t there. 

Can anyone accompany you on the test?

Yes, DVSA encourage this. The examiner will ask you if you would like your instructor,
or anyone else (preferably the person who trained you to drive) to accompany you on test and be there for the result and end-of- test feedback. 

It can be helpful to take your instructor with you. Pass or fail, your instructor can discuss your test with you and identify any further training you might need. 

Anyone who goes with you must be 16 or over and wear a seat belt, but they mustn’t take any part in the test. 

What the Examiner is looking for:

You’re driving instructor should be preparing you to drive alone after you’ve passed the test, so you should already be learning the skills you need to do so and be able to make decisions for yourself. Once you’ve passed your test, you’ll need to navigate roads safely, often dealing with distractions such as passengers and music. 

Throughout the test, your examiner will be watching how you drive and how you put into practice the things you learnt for your theory test. 

Your examiner will give you directions clearly and in good time, but if you’re not sure about anything, just ask. Your examiner understands that you might be nervous and won’t mind explaining again. 

You must satisfy them that you’ve fully understood all aspects, especially 

  • alertness and concentration 
  • courtesy and consideration 
  • care in the use of the controls to reduce mechanical wear and tear 
  • awareness of stopping distances, speed limits and safety margins in all conditions 
  • hazard awareness 
  • correct action concerning pedestrians and other vulnerable road users 
  • dealing with other types of vehicle in the correct manner 
  • road and traffic signs. 

The test lasts for about 40 minutes. The route will have been been selected to include as many different road and traffic conditions as possible. 

If you don’t pass: You’re driving isn’t up to the standard required. You made mistakes that could have caused danger on the road. 

If you pass: Well done! You’ve shown that you can drive safely and confidently. Your examiner will give you a copy of the driving-test report, which will show any driving faults that have been marked during the test. 

Remember, if you fail your test, the examiner only has your safety at heart. They give you the great news, you have passed, you will still need to keep your driving skills up to date.