The Practical Test

Once you’ve passed your driving theory test and you and your instructor agree you’re ready, it’s time to book your practical driving test. You will no doubt be feeling excited and nervous about the test and what to expect on the day.

As with the theory test, make sure you use the official DVSA website to book your practical driving test. If you are booking the test yourself, you will also need to confirm with your instructor that the date and time you chose is suitable with them, as well as for you.

Essentially, as per official DVSA guidance and the national standard for driving cars and light vans (category B), you need to be able to prepare yourself and the vehicle for a journey, control the vehicle safely and following the rules of the Highway Code, as well as being able to reflect on and adapt your driving behaviour when needed.

What happens in the test?

The test itself lasts approximately 40 minutes.

You will begin with an eyesight check. For this, the examiner will ask you to read a vehicle number plate from 20m.

Next are the ‘show me, tell me’ questions, which show that you understand vehicle safety. The ‘tell me’ question will be asked before the test begins and the ‘show me’ question will be asked whilst you are driving along.

The test is designed to assess your general driving ability, for example pulling up at the side of the road and moving away. You will also need to be able to reverse the vehicle safely, which you will demonstrate by doing one of three exercises. These are: a parallel park at the side of the road, parking on a bay or pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, reversing and re-joining the traffic. You will also need to be able to drive independently for 20 minutes, either using a sat nav or following traffic signs.

How is the test marked?

There are 3 types of faults you can make:

  • A dangerous fault – this involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property.
  • A serious fault – something potentially dangerous.
  • A driving fault – this is not potentially dangerous, but if you keep making the same fault, it could become a serious fault.

To pass the driving test, you can make no more than 15 driving faults and you must not make any serious or dangerous faults.

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