The time has come to take your driving test. You’ve spent what feels like years practicing with your instructor, you’ve polished up your skills and you’re ready to get behind the wheel and put your abilities to the test.
You might feel ready but it can still be a nerve wracking experience - so, in order to give yourself the best possible chance, follow our top ten tips on how to prepare yourself for your driving test.
How to prepare for a driving test
- Ensure you take the correct amount of lessons before your test.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Eat something light, right before your test.
- Check over your theory material one last time.
- Refresh your memory of the most common test faults.
- Get to know the local test routes.
- Have confidence in yourself.
- Take along the right documents.
- Dress comfortably.
- Listen to music that calms you while you wait.
Ensure you’ve taken enough lessons
If you have only had a handful of lessons with an instructor, chances are you’re not quite ready and will be attempting the impossible. Get out on the road and behind the wheel as much as possible, whether that's with your instructor or a fully qualified driver.
Remember, if you are learning to drive with someone who is not an instructor, they must be over 21 and have held their driving licence for over three years - although some insurance policies are different so make sure you double check with the insurance first.
You should be taking 47 hours of lessons with your instructor and 20 private lessons, as this is considered to be the average number of hours you need to pass.
Get a good night's sleep the night before your driving test
It’s important you’re well rested before you take your test. It’s been scientifically proven that those who get a good night's sleep respond a lot better in reaction tests. Your driving test is a reaction test so you should avoid any caffeine or alcohol the night before as they could interrupt your sleep cycle. Try and get a solid eight hours sleep for your body to be fully functioning and alert.
Depending on what you eat, your body will respond in different ways. Not eating prior to your driving test could increase your stress level and lower your attention levels. There is a direct link between having eaten a decent meal, having a good break and getting a good night's sleep the night before and on the day, so make sure you’re doing all this for the best chance of passing.
Revisit your theory questions
Reminding yourself of the highway code and road signs will help massively, and give you the confidence boost you need to be able to drive in a relaxed and safe manner. This is especially handy if it’s been a while since you took your theory test - as you need to be sure you are up to date with the DVLA standards of driving and what is expected of you behind the wheel.
Abiding by the rules of Highway Code is a legal requirement, so you must make sure you are familiar with them to avoid any serious faults on your test.
Don’t forget to revisit your hazard perception training too as this will prepare you for real-life situations out on the road. The more alert you are to your surroundings, the less likely you are to have an accident.
Remind yourself of the most common faults
You might feel like you have many of these down to a T, but on the day of your test everything could change and nerves might get the better of you. We suggest that you remind yourself and practice the most common faults as much as possible. These are:
- Failing to check your mirrors before reversing.
- Not checking your mirrors when moving off.
- Failing to signal.
- Stalling due to poor clutch control.
- Failing to stick to the speed limit.
- Not reacting to what's going on around you.
Get to know the possible driving test routes
Test centres have a number of approved routes that they have to take drivers on and the chances are if your instructor is local, they will know some of them, if not all of them. In the weeks leading up to your test, ask your instructor to take you out on some of the routes so you can get used to them and understand traffic levels and speed control at different times of the day.
Make sure you have your documents ready
The night before your driving test make sure you have all your documents ready and by the front door. The important things for you to remember on the day of your test include:
- Glasses - if you need them for driving
- Your provisional licence
- The paper counterpart to your licence
- Your exam invitation letter
- Your theory test pass certificate
Know what is expected of you on the day of your test by researching how practical driving tests work and how they are marked. Check out this guide by A-Class Driving School for more information.
Ignore driving test nerves
You will only be put forward for the exam if your instructor thinks you are ready for it and have a decent chance of passing. If you lack confidence in yourself and your driving ability, there’s a high chance you could not pass. Remember you can do this, be confident in yourself and don’t doubt your abilities - if you’ve completed all the lessons and passed your theory, you have a good chance of succeeding.
Dress for comfort
It is completely up to you whether or not you want to dress smart or casual for your test. Of course, you won’t fail based upon the clothes you are wearing but you should bear in mind that you want to be comfortable when driving and that your clothing doesn’t restrict your movement when using the pedals or trying to change gear.
Choosing the right footwear for your driving test is essential, as there are many shoes that are not suitable for driving in - such as flip flops and high heels. Choose a pair of shoes that are flat and stay securely on your feet. You more than likely have a pair of shoes you drive in all the time and have no problems with, so wear those one.
Listen to music beforehand to calm you
Listen to your favourite music 10 to 20 minutes before you start your driving test as this is said to help increase your brain's ability to remember how to do things. Pull up a playlist featuring some of your favourite songs and hopefully it will help you when you get into the car. You could also check out our Spotify driving playlist to get ready for that hour behind the wheel.
The best thing for you to bear in mind is you need to be as relaxed and calm as you possibly can. Following our simple steps will help you to prepare yourself for the test and pass with flying colours. Good luck!