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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:
- your valid provisional driving licence, including the paper counterpart if you have a photo-card licence
- your theory test pass certificate.
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:
- parallel park at the side of the road
- park in a parking bay – either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
- pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic.
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.
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.