New Drivers: What to expect on the Practical Driving Test

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To prove your driving skills are at a confident and consistent level, you must pass the practical driving test. The practical driving test is the final step before earning your full drivers licence. You will have to drive safely through various road and traffic conditions, with as few faults as possible. A maximum of 15 minor driving faults can be made. One serious or dangerous fault will result in a failed test.

Safety Checks

The test starts with an eyesight check and car safety checks. These checks are things that can be practised on our Show Me Tell Me mock test.

Independent Driving

During the test, you will be required to drive independently, with the examiner giving you directions to a destination. Most of the time they will provide a sat-nav that you will follow, but some may not use a sat-nav and ask you to follow traffic signs.


You will also be required to complete one manoeuvre on the test. The manoeuvre will be a turn in the road, reverse around a corner, or reverse parking.

Preparing for Your Practical Driving Test

The best way to prepare for the practical driving test is with the help of a driving instructor working through the driver’s record for learner drivers. The driver’s record covers every competency you must be able to perform independently and different road experiences. Six different types of roads you should experience include:

  • Wet roads
  • Darkness
  • Daylight
  • Dual carriage
  • Country
  • Town and City

As for competencies, the driver’s record provides a comprehensive list of skills and knowledge for you to practise. Ranging from items like cockpit checks to emergency stopping, the list includes:

  • Essential driving skills
  • Highway code
  • Traffic signs
  • Vehicle handbook

Heading into your test without the right things will make you reschedule for another day. Before you head into the test, make sure you bring the following items:

  • UK provisional driving licence
  • Theory test pass certificate
  • Car (you can use your own vehicle, but most use their driving instructor’s vehicle)

Booking a Practical Driving Test

The best place to book your practical driving test is on the official GOV.UK booking service page. On there, you will be able to find the nearest test centre, change the test data/centre, or cancel.

The driving test for a car will cost you £62 on a weekday and £75 during the evening, on the weekend, or bank holiday.

Practical Driving Test Tips

Everyone is nervous for the driving test, but you have been practicing and your instructor agrees that you are prepared, so don’t worry. To help you pass your test the first time, we put together a few tips to help calm your nerves and prepare you to pass:

  • Book your test when you feel you are ready and your driving instructor says you’re ready.
  • Minimize any stress before the test and reschedule if there is a lot on your mind.
  • Get a good night sleep during the nights leading up to your test.
  • Get to the test centre 15 minutes before your test.
  • Stay positive and optimistic, thinking about passing rather than failing.

What Happens Afterwards?

If you fail the practical driving test, that means you had more than 15 driving faults or a serious or dangerous fault. A driving test report listing out the faults made, as well as an explanation will be given by your examiner. In this case, the driving test can’t be retaken for at least 10 days. Use this time to work with your driving instructor on those faults.

If you pass the driving test, your examiner will give feedback on the test and send the details to the DVSA to upgrade your licence. You can expect your full licence to be delivered by post.

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