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Pass the Driving Test first time

Updated on July 3, 2012

Driving Test Tips

If you seriously want to pass the driving test at your first attempt, then here are some tips that you need to give some thought to.

While I'm not going to guarantee that following this advice will give you a 100% pass rate, I can assure you that you will be in a better position than before you read this article.

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Professional Instructor

Pass at first attempt

1. Take professional advice. No matter which way you have learnt to drive a car and prepared for the DSA practical car test, you should seek the opinion of an approved driving instructor before attempting the driving test. A good way of doing this is to take a mock test, especially if you were taught by a family member or friend.

All UK ADIs will know what the current requirements are of the DSA examiner, and through the mock test, they can give you valuable advice that you can use to practice for the real car assessment.
Even if you are taking driving lessons with an instructor a mock test with a different ADI will serve two purposes, first you get a second and usually unbiased opinion of your current driving skills, secondly driving with a stranger only giving you directions only is a good simulation of the test conditions you will be dealing with, and should help get your nerves under control.

2. Read your driving test appointment letter throughly. The letter sent to you by the DSA contains valuable information, so familiarise yourself with all the details of what is expected of you and your car (if you aren't using a driving school vehicle). There is no point in getting to the test centre and finding out you can't take the test either because you can't read the number plates of a car at the required distance, or you supplied vehicle does not meet DSA standards. You can't for example use the new BMW Mini Convertable for the test in the UK.

3. Know where your test centre is and how to get there. If you are not familiar with where the test centre is, then visit a day or so before your appointed date to make sure you know how to get there, and be aware of any local road works or restrictions in place. You only have 5 minutes to turn up for your driving test, any later and it will not go ahead, you will lose your test fee, won't be able to book another one for another 10 days, and that will be a wasted no attempt!

Mill Hill test roundabouts

4. Read the highway code so you are absolutely confident you know the rules of the road, and can identify any road signs or understand markings you might encounter during the 40 minutes you are out in the car with the DSA examiner during the practical assessment.
It would be a shame to not to pass the driving test after a very good drive just because you did not recognise the National Speed Limit sign and were going too slow! Or maybe you were hesitant at a roundabout and held up traffic behind you when the car you gave way to was approaching from the left. You passed the theory test, and the information should be fresh in your mind while you are driving.

5. Make sure you are absolutely ready for the driving test before taking it, this includes total confidence on your maneuvers especially the left reverse round the corner. The DSA who conducts the test in the UK recommends at least 40 hours of professional driving lessons with plenty of private practice in addition to this, so bear this in mind when thinking of book your car test.

6. Practise some independent driving as this tends to catch a few candidates out. The main issue usually being that learners drive too fast unable to read signs or deal safely with junctions as the examiner is not prompting what is happening ahead. For those unfamiliar with independent driving on the UK practical car test, see the video below.

DSA Independent Driving Advice Video


There is no guarantee whatever you do that you will pass the test on your first attempt, but the driving test tips here can go a long way to increasing your chances of being among the 40% that do pass the DSA practical car assessment and earn that full British driving licence.


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