Your Practical Driving Test will last about 38-40 minutes and will cover a wide range of road and traffic situations. You will be expected to demonstrate that you know the Highway Code and can maintain a safe standard of driving throughout the test. The standard weekday test fee is £62.00. Full time Test Centres may also conduct tests at weekends although a higher fee will be charged for this. (BEWARE NON-OFFICIAL BOOKING SITES WHO WILL CHARGE A HIDDEN ADMIN FEE ON TOP OF THE OFFICIAL TEST FEE!!!!!). A link to the OFFICIAL site is at the bottom of this page.
After introducing him/herself, the examiner will ask you to read and sign the insurance and residency declaration on your driving test report form (DL25). The test will then begin with a check of your eyesight (if you fail this, your test will be cancelled and you will lose your fee, so ensure you take your glasses with you if you need them for driving!). You will be asked to read a convenient number plate that is a distance of 20.5 metres away. After completing the eyesight test you will be asked TWO vehicle safety questions (See "Show & Tell" section below). The examiner will then join you in the car and explain the remainder of the test to you. As well as covering forward driving the test will include ONE reversing exercise and a ten minute period of "independent driving". The reversing exercise will be selected from the following;
Reversing around a corner to the left (or very occasionally the right)
Turning the car around in the road
Reverse (parallel) parking
Reverse (bay) parking. (Note - Only where the Driving Test Centre has bays available for this purpose)
You may also be asked to carry out a Controlled (ie Emergency) Stop exercise.
You will be asked to stop and move away safely from a variety of different road / traffic situations at intervals throughout the test. (ie Hill Starts / Angle starts)
Vehicle safety questions (Show & Tell)
The safety questions cover basic vehicle maintenance checks that any driver should be able to carry out to ensure their vehicle is safe to use on the road. You may be asked to open the car bonnet at the Driving Test Centre but you WILL NOT be asked to touch the hot engine or actually carry out any of the underbonnet checks.
You should refer to your vehicle manufacturer's handbook for information relating to your specific make / model of vehicle.
You will be asked TWO questions, ONE 'Show Me' and ONE 'Tell Me'. Either or both questions answered incorrectly will result in ONE driving error being recorded on your Drving Test Report.
The driving part!
After joining you in the car, the examiner will explain to you that you should follow the road ahead at all times unless they (or signs and road markings) tell you otherwise. Any instructions will be given in good time and can be repeated if you are unsure. During the driving test the examiner will give you directions to follow. Don't worry if you accidentally go the wrong way! As long as you do so SAFELY and LEGALLY this WILL NOT affect the result of your driving test. The examiner is testing your ability to drive safely and correctly, NOT your ability to follow directions! During the test, the examiner will also ask you to carry out the reversing or emergency stop exercises at appropriate places. You will always be asked to stop in a convenient place at the side of the road before being asked to carry out any of the manoeuvres or the independent driving section. Wait until you are told to "drive on when you are ready" before you proceed - dont rush!
For the independent driving section you will be given a series of directions, possibly reinforced by the use of a diagram, or be asked to follow signs and road markings, or a combination of both. Dont worry if you forget the route, just ask the examiner for clarification as and when necessary. If you go the wrong way, this is not a cause for failure as long as you do so safely!
Throughout the test you should drive to the best of your ability, making good progress where the road and traffic conditions allow and being cautious where traffic situations or hazards merit this. If you realise you have made a mistake, don't worry! Concentrate on the remainder of the test or you may make further errors, the mistake might be less serious than you think and may not affect your result. For instance, if you stall the car and recover from it safely you may only get a driving error for control, but if you panic, fail to secure the car properly and then set off again unsafely you may get the dreaded SERIOUS error!
You can make up to FIFTEEN minor driving errors and still pass your test (SIXTEEN or more would result in a fail as you would be regarded as having been very lucky not to have committed a serious or dangerous error!). However, if you commit just ONE SERIOUS or ONE DANGEROUS error, you will fail your test. Should your examiner feel that you are a danger either to themselves, yourself or to other road users at any time, then your test will be terminated on safety grounds and you will lose your fee.
If you wish, you may ask someone to accompany you on the test for moral support or chaperone purposes. This person must however be OVER SIXTEEN years old and cannot take any part in the test. The examiner will instruct them to remain silent and as still as possible throughout the test. Should you require an interpreter, this is also permitted.
Occasionally a second examiner may join you on your driving test for quality control purposes. Dont worry if this happens as they will be watching the examiner conducting your test - not you. Just remember to use a little more gas to account for the additional weight in the car!
After the practical test
When your driving test is over, the examiner will take a few moments to complete your test report and will then tell you the result! Whether successful or not, it is a good idea to ask for an explanation of any errors you may have made in order that you can improve your future driving. You should also ask that your instructor be allowed to listen to this explanation so that they will be able to help you effectively.
If you pass...
If you pass and have a photocard driving licence issued after 1 March 2004 the examiner will ask you if you want your new driving licence issued to you automatically.
If you want to use this service, the examiner will take your old licence off you, scan the details and send them electronically to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You will be given a pass certificate to prove you have passed your test. DVLA will then send your new licence to you by post within three weeks of passing your practical test.
If you pass your test but do not want to use the automatic service, or have a licence issued before 1 March 2004, you will be given a pass certificate by the examiner. On the back of the pass certificate it tells you what you need to do next. This involves sending your old licence and the appropriate fee to DVLA who will then check your application and issue you with a new licence.
If you DONT pass...
If you are unuccessful, it is essential that you listen carefully to the examiner's explanation of your errors so that you can correct any mistakes and prepare properly for your next attempt. Ask that your instructor be allowed to listen to the debrief so that he/she can help you effectively. Your driving test report form will confirm where you made any mistakes and has explanations on the back to help you understand what went wrong. You can take a further practical test TEN working days after your unsuccessful attempt.
Adverse weather conditions may cause your test to be cancelled for safety reasons. If this occurs the DSA will arrange another appointment at no further cost to you. (Compensation is NOT payable). If you are in any doubt you should call the telephone number quoted on your appointment letter to check whether the test is likely to go ahead.
If your driving test cannot proceed for reasons that are YOUR responsibility ie incorrect/missing documents presented or an unsuitable/unroadworthy vehicle, you will lose your fee and have to book, pay for and take another test at a later date.
If you intend to take your driving test in your own, rather than your instructor's car, you must check that it will be suitable for the purposes of the test. Many common vehicles are unsuitable without specific manufacturers documentation (eg evidence that recall work has been carried out). For further information visit the DSA Website.