Tips for taking your driving test

As with most things in life, preparation is key when it comes to doing well at something. The same goes for taking your driving test; if you want things to go smoothly, you should be as prepared as possible. We've put together our top expert tips from our driving instructors in Colchester to help you pass your test.

boy ripping learner plate

Tips and tricks to pass your driving test

  1. Arrive on time
  2. Have a lesson on the day of your test
  3. Come prepared with everything you need
  4. Use your instructor’s car
  5. Have your instructor sit in on your test
  6. Ask your examiner to repeat anything you’re unsure about
  7. Don’t assume you’ve failed if you make a mistake
  8. Choose the right test centre
  9. Learn the test routes
  10. Don’t rush/take your time
  11. Check your mirrors throughout the test
  12. Look out for hints from your examiner

driving test

Arrive on time

You might think it goes without saying, but every year thousands or driving tests are cancelled due to the pupil turning up late and missing their test slot.

We recommend arriving 10-15 minutes before your test time, so you have enough time to prepare, but won’t be waiting around for too long. Not only does arriving late put you at risk of your test being cancelled altogether, rushing before your test is only going to make you even more stressed.

Have a lesson on the day of your test

We highly recommend our pupils have a lesson on the day of their test, directly beforehand if possible. Having a lesson before your test gives you a chance to go over any last-minute concerns with your instructor and you can get some extra practice in.

A lesson before your test will put you in the right frame of mind and help to calm your nerves. Once your lesson is over, you can drive right to the test centre and go straight off for your test.

hands on steering wheel

Come prepared with everything you need

Find out what you need to bring to your driving test and make sure you have all the required documents; otherwise, you risk your test not being able to go ahead.

We suggest getting organised the night before your test and having everything you need packed and ready to go. Double-check you have everything you need before leaving for your test.

Use your instructor’s car for your test

Taking your test in your instructor’s car means you will already be familiar with the vehicle’s controls and will feel comfortable. Every vehicle has different biting points and controls, you will have become familiar with your instructor’s car, and this will benefit you during your test.

learner car

Have your instructor sit in on your test

You can also ask for your instructor to sit in on your test in the backseat if you think this would make you feel more comfortable. Some learners find that having their instructor in with them on their test adds a bit of reassurance and helps deal with driving test nerves. However, for some learners, this would be added pressure and make them feel even more uncomfortable, so it’s whatever works for you.

Please note, if you’re taking your driving test during the Coronavirus pandemic, you will not be able to have your instructor sit in on your test.

Ask your examiner to repeat if you need

If you’re unsure on any instruction you get from your examiner; you can ask them to repeat what they said. You will not lose marks or fail for asking for clarification from your examiner. It’s better to ask them to repeat themselves than to panic and make a mistake.

woman with head on steering wheel

Don’t assume you’ve failed if you make a mistake

If you make a mistake during your test, don’t assume you’ve failed. Remember, you’re allowed up to 15 minors during your test, so try not to let any mistakes affect the rest of your drive.

Try not to let small mistakes play on your mind, or you might make even more and end up failing.

Choose the right test centre

Depending on where you live around Colchester, you may be close to more than one test centre. If you’re taking your driving lessons in Colchester, your nearest test centres are Colchester and Clacton-on-Sea.

The average pass rate for Colchester test centre last year was 40%, whereas Clacton-on-Sea was an average of 50%. If you’re in the middle of both test centres, you may consider taking your test at Clacton-on-Sea because of the slightly higher pass rate.

pin on map

Learn the test routes

Whatever test centre you decide on, it’s essential you learn the test routes and get to know the area surrounding the test centre. Our driving instructors are from the local area and have extensive knowledge of the roads and test routes; they will make sure you’re completely comfortable and familiar with them before you take your test.

Don’t rush/take your time

Take your time during your test, and don’t rush because you feel nervous or panicked. You’re more likely to make silly mistakes which can lead to a serious or dangerous fault if you’re rushing. If you’re at a busy junction, remember the golden rule; if you don’t know, don’t go. Don’t feel rushed into pulling out at a junction if you’re unsure on whether or not it’s safe to go.

learner car parallel parking

Check your mirrors throughout the test

You may notice your examiner looking at you as you approach a hazard, this is because they are observing your use of mirrors. One of the most common minor faults in learner drivers is lack of observation. You must check your mirrors regularly, especially when moving off, approaching hazards, and changing road position and gears.

Look out for hints from your examiner

Your examiner may provide subtle hints throughout your test; you should look out for these and use them to your advantage. One hint, as previously mentioned, is if you notice them looking at you as you approach a hazard, they are waiting for you to perform the appropriate mirror checks.

Also, once you’ve finished a manoeuvre, the examiner may stay quiet rather than telling you to move on. If this happens, take it as a hint that something isn’t right and double-check everything. If you notice that something isn’t right, for example, you’re too far from the kerb; you can correct it.

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