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The Driving Test

What to bring with you

On the day of your test it is important that you bring with you the following, the test will not take place and your fee will be lost if you do not do so:

The appointment card
Your signed provisional driving licence
Your Theory test certificate

In addition to the above you will also need to supply some form of photographic evidence that bears your signature. The following are acceptable:

Current signed passport (Doesn't have to be British)
Work I.D. card (must have photo and Signature)
Trade union or students' union card (must have photo and Signature)
School bus pass (must have photo and Signature)
Cheque card or credit card (must have photo and Signature)

If you don't have any of these you can bring a photo of yourself together with a statement that it's a true likeness of you. This should be signed by any of the following:-
Approved Driving Instructor
CBT certified instructor
Member of Parliament
Medical practitioner
Local Councillor
Qualified teacher
Justice of the Peace
Civil servant
Police Officer
Bank official
Minister of religion
Barrister or Solicitor
Commissioned Officer in Her Majesty's Forces

If you are taking a motorcycle test, your valid CBT certificate

Arrival at the Test Centre

As each examiner works to a tight schedule it is important that you arrive in good time. If you arrive late then the test cannot be carried out and you will lose your fee. When it is time the Examiner will call out your name and you will be asked to complete an insurance declaration. This gives the Examiner a chance to check your signature against your provisional driving licence. You will be asked to produce your photographic identity and you will also be asked whether you suffer from any physical disability that has not been declared on your application form. This is done to get an information update, since the form may have been filled in some months earlier.

With this done you will asked to lead the way to your car and on the way there the Examiner should introduce himself . At the Parking area the Examiner will firstly check your eyesight by selecting a vehicle at random and asking you to read the number plate. The distance is the statutory 20.5 metres (or 67 feet) and if you get this wrong twice you will fail the test. You can, wear glasses when taking the eyesight test. If you do, then you must wear the same glasses throughout the rest of the test.

After this you will be asked two questions about the vehicle checks you would carry out before driving. There will be on Show Me and one Tell Me question. Some typical examples of these questions are now provided:

  • Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil.
  • Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level.
  • Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.
  • Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
  • Tell me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car.
  • Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
  • Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
  • Tell me how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
  • Show me how you would check that the headlights and taillights are working.
  • Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.
  • Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only).
  • Show me how you would check the handbrake for excessive wear.

The Examiner will walk around your car. He will take details of the make and model on his driving test report sheet. The Examiner will also check to see if the vehicle is roadworthy. He will check for no broken lights, the windscreen wipers are in place, the tyres comply with the legal requirements. Make sure you don't have a dirty windscreen, in fact make sure that whole car looks clean, ensure also that the 'L' plates are properly displayed. If the Examiner is happy he will join you in the car.

The Practical Driving Test

The Examiner will tell you that he wishes you to follow the road ahead unless traffic signs direct otherwise, or unless he asks you to turn. You will be expected to know and act on all traffic signs and signals, as well as signals given by other drivers. Then he will ask you to drive away when you are ready. Take proper precautions before starting the engine this means, making sure that the handbrake is on and the gear lever or selector (If driving an automatic) is in neutral. Adjust the mirrors if necessary and if appropriate look over your shoulder(s) before moving away

The Examiner will be marking your performance on his sheet. You have to avoid failure points if you are to pass your test. Throughout the test the Examiner will be looking for reasonably smooth use of the controls. So you are expected to Make proper use of /accelerator/clutch/gears/foot brake/handbrake/steering.

During the whole test the Examiner will be building up a picture of your ability and common sense as a driver. The Examiner will expect you to suit your speed to the road and traffic conditions. You have to choose a proper speed for general driving and when coming to corners, bends, junction, roundabouts etc.

Mirrors and signals have to be used correctly. The Examiner will be checking that signals are given in good time and that the correct signals are given. The Examiner will also be watching to see how you deal with other road users. Show awareness and anticipation of the actions of pedestrians/cyclists/drivers. And you need to know how to Overtake/meet/cross the path of/other vehicles safely

At junctions the Examiner will be watching to see that you apply the M.S.M routine. You have to know how to deal with different junctions. Dealing with other road users means you must allow adequate clearance to stationary vehicles

Every test route includes a pedestrian crossing, so you have to take appropriate action at pedestrian crossings.

The Examiner will ask you to stop at various places during the driving test. Whenever you stop, you should do so in a safe place. The Examiner will not trap you by asking you to stop in a illegal place, but you have to select a safe position for normal stops. It will be after one of these "stops" when the Examiner will ask you to do one of the many special exercises. In one in three tests you will be required to stop the vehicle in emergency/promptly/under control/making proper use of brakes. The Examiner will show you what he intends to do in order for you to stop quickly at his request, usually this means that he will put is hand up in front of him and say STOP.

You will be asked to do 2 of the following 4 manoeuvres:-

Reverse into a limited opening either to the right or left/under control/with due regard for other road users. - The Reverse around the corner

Turn round by means of forward and reverse gears/under control/with due regard for other road users - The Turn in the Road

Reverse park in reverse gear/under control/with due regard for other road users - Reverse Parking

Reverse into a parking bay at the driving test car park - Bay Parking

Once the test is over you will either receive a PASS Certificate which must be signed and sent to the DVLC in Swansea together with your provisional driving licence which is surrendered when a “Full” licence is issued. If you fail you will receive a STATEMENT OF FAILURE form on which the Examiner will have marked with a '\' or a 'X' or a 'D' or a 'XX'

'\' means a minor fault, which does not result in an automatic failure. However, if you comment more than 15 of these minor driving faults you will FAIL.
'X' means a major fault, and a fail.
'D' means a Dangerous fault, and a fail
'XX' also means Dangerous fault. This will be used to replace a 'D' when the results are computerised.
You will also be given another application form to apply for your next test!

Data Protection Act

At this point the Examiner will ask you if you would like an explanation of any faults that you have occurred. If you say. "Yes". A debriefing will follow when the Examiner has asked you if you want your Instructor to hear the debriefing with you. If you allow your Instructor to listen to a debriefing then it should be made clear to you, by the Examiner, that the information is privileged to you under the Data Protection Act and you have the right to exclude your Instructor from the privileged information passed from the Examiner to you. If you agree to your Instructor listening to the Examiners' debriefing you waive your protective rights under the Data Protection Act. The Examiner will make this clear to you.

Even if your Instructor accompanies you on your Driving Test you retain the right to exclude your Instructor from the debriefing that the Examiner gives at the end of your Test. In other words, you may ask your Instructor to leave the car before the debriefing begins. If you decide to listen to the Examiner's debriefing without your Instructor present then you may run the risk of not fully understanding the Examiners wording.

Even if you haven't passed, you will have learned a great deal. You can build on these skills in order to pass next time. Decide on what steps you can take to improve your technique and ask your instructor for advice.

Pre-test ‘Advice’

  • Get a good night's sleep before the test.
  • Make sure you eat a good breakfast.
  • Dress comfortably - make yourself feel good.
  • Have confidence in your ability.
  • Arrive in plenty of time You should be present in the test centre at least ten minutes before the appointed time of your test..
  • Listen carefully to the examiner's instructions, act on them in good time, and ask for them to be repeated if necessary.
  • The examiner just wants to see what you would normally do - nothing that you do not already know.
  • If you make a decision that you think could be misjudged by the examiner, explain your reasons while you drive.
  • If you come across a new situation, hold back and assess it carefully before you decide to proceed - and be prepared to change your decision if necessary.
  • Show the examiner that you deserve to have those L plates removed.


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