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The Driving Test

The Practical Test

The purpose of the practical driving test is to find out whether you can drive safely on the roads without supervision. You must be able to demonstrate to the examiner that you have this ability or you will not pass the test.

What happens on the day of your test?

On the day of your test, you will need to have the following documentation:

Try to stay relaxed before your driving test and wear suitable clothing and footwear that you are comfortable driving in.

During the test

The practical Driving Test will last approximately 40 minutes starting and finishing at the test centre. An examiner will be present in the car for the duration of your test. Before the driving test begins, the examiner will ask you to sign a form and ask you to show proof of your identity. You will be asked to identify the car you will be taking the test in and read out a car number plate from the minimum distance required to ensure that your eyesight is at the standard required for driving. will ask you two car maintenance related questions in the form of a show me, tell me question. If you fail to answer these questions correctly you will be marked with 1 driving fault. Here is the current Show Me Tell Me question bank.

During the drive candidate must drive within the law and within the conditions set by the environmental conditions. You will drive on a range of roads with different layouts and speed limits and you should be able to negotiate any major junction. You will not be asked to use Motorways.

One in every three or four tests will include a controlled stop, also known as an Emergency Stop. You will have to successfully perform one of the following reversing exercises:

The whole test is usually complete within 35-40 minutes. At the end of the test the examiner will inform you whether you have been successful or not, and then will offer you a debrief on your drive. It's useful if you allow your driving instructor to listen in to the debrief.

Independent Driving

For about 20 minutes, half of the test, you will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. This will be set up by the examiner, one in five driving tests won't use a sat nav you will follow road signs instead.

The examiner may show you a diagram to help you understand where you'll be going. It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way. The purpose is rather to assess your ability to drive safely whilst at the same time having to make your own decisions in order to reach your target destination. This includes for example deciding when it's safe to pull over and ask for directions. Your result will not be affected unless you commit a driving fault, even if you go off the independent driving route.

The cost of taking the test is £62 if taken on a week day and £75 if you wish to take it over the weekend.

The Theory Test

You will need to take a theory test if you are learning to drive for the first time or if you want a licence for a new category of vehicle. The Theory Test is made up of two sections, part one is multiple choice questions and part two is the hazard perception test.

Part one - Multiple Choice Questions

You will be allocated a touch screen computer on arrival at the Theory Test Centre where you will complete the first part of the Theory Test. You will be provided with instructions before you start and are given the opportunity to take a practice session to give you the chance to get used to the system. The real test will begin once you have completed the practice test. You will be presented onscreen with a question and several answer options and you have to select the correct answer (some questions may require more than one answer). You will be asked 50 questions in 57 minutes and can go back to questions later in the test.

The pass mark for the multiple choice part of the theory test is 43 out of 50. Once you have completed this first part of the Theory Test, you will have up to 3 minutes before Part Two; the Hazard Perception Test will begin.

Hazard Perception

You will be shown how the hazard perception test works before you have to take the test. The Hazard Perception Test is a computer based test and you are required to click a button on the computer mouse to respond to hazards that appear onscreen. The test consists of a series of 14 video clips and in each clip there will be at least one hazard. One of the clips will feature to hazards.

To achieve a high score you need to respond to the hazard as you see it happening on screen. The maximum score you can achieve on each hazard is five. Unlike the multiple choice part of the Theory Test, you cannot review your answers (this is because you would only have one chance on the road to spot a hazard).

To pass the Hazard Perception section of the Theory Test you need to score a minimum of 44 out of 75.