Guide to the Practical Test.

The Practical Test.

Then to the Practical Test.
It is always best that you and your instructor agree that you have had enough driving tuition and are at a suitable standard for the practical test.  You must be able to drive well consistently and with confidence, not require any additional assistance or guidance from your instructor.  Most people who fail, do so, because they have not had enough instruction and practice.

The weekday Practical Test costs £62.

You can book the test online, telephone (0300 200 1122), or fill in (form DL26 available from a driving test centre or from your driving instructor).

You must take the following documents to the test.  Your Theory Test pass certificate and a valid GB or Northern Island driving licence, (comprising both the photo card and paper counterpart).

The actual test.
You will first have to pass an eyesight test, by reading a vehicle licence plate from a distance.  The distance requirement for the eyesight test   is 20 metres if the new style plate is used. And 20.5 metres for vehicles displaying old-style number plates. You will then answer two vehicle safety check questions, one 'Show Me' and one 'Tell Me'.

In the practical driving test you have approximately 35 to 40 minutes to demonstrate everything you have learned in your driving lessons.  You will need to show that you can drive competently and safely in any driving situation.  You will be asked to do two of the three reversing manoeuvres that you have practised with your instructor, and may also have to do an emergency stop.

To pass, you will complete the test with no serious faults, and you must have 15 or fewer minor errors. 

From October 2010
A new section will be added to the practical test called 'Independent Driving'.

During your test you will have to drive for about ten minutes, either following a series of directions, following traffic signs, or a combination of both.

To help you understand where you're going, the examiner may show you a diagram. It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way - that can happen to the most experienced drivers.  As long as you do not make any driving errors

The Driving Standards Agency has published a short video on its YouTube channel explaining more about independent driving.  To make room for this you will only be asked to do one reversing manoeuvre, (you will still have to learn all of them), and possibly also do the emergency stop.

Be prepared.
The current national average pass rate is 43%, so it makes no sense to go unprepared.
Your instructor at City School of Motoring will advise you when you are ready for the practical test, and help you understand why some people fail.

You will need to study the Highway Code, and a good CD - ROM, your instructor can advise on this.

If in the unlikely event you fail your practical test, you have already passed the theory test, so you only need to take the practical test again next time, (note the two year limit on the theory test though).