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driving lessons
  1. Learner
12th June 2023

Driving test checklist to pass your practical

You may have passed your theory test, but are you ready for your practical exam? We list everything you will need in our handy driving test checklist.

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You’ve passed your theory test and your driving instructor has informed you that you’re ready to take a practical test, but what should you do on the morning of your practical exam?

The practical test may only last 40 minutes, but like any exam, it’s important that you’re well prepared  to avoid getting any major faults. 

To pass you need to avoid getting any major faults and only have 0-15 minors.

We’ve put together a checklist for learners on what the examiner is looking for so you know when you’re driving test ready.

The eyesight check

Before you enter the vehicle for your driving test, your examiner will conduct a short and simple eye test with you. Failure to pass this quick section of your test will result in an early termination.

The examiner will ask you to read aloud a random car number plate within the confines of the driving test centre from a certain distance. This is usually around 20 metres. If you need to wear contact lenses or glasses to see from this distance, then you will need to wear them for your practical test. 

You will be given three attempts to correctly read a number plate. Should you fail the first time, you will be asked to read another plate from a different vehicle. If you are unable to correctly recite on the second vehicle, you will then have one final chance to get it right after the examiner has accurately measured the distance between yourself and the new number plate.   

This shouldn’t be an issue as your instructor would’ve recommended you to have an opticians appointment before learning how to drive. However, if your eyesight has changed over the course of your learning period, you should book an appointment before your practical driving test, or before you continue to learn to drive.  

passing your driving test

Show me, tell me questions

This section of the test will see your examiner ask you two questions regarding the safety of your car. You will be asked a ‘tell me’ question about how to carry out a safety task and a ‘show me’ question where you will show how you would carry out a safety task. 

You will receive one minor fault should you get one or both answers wrong in this section. 

passing your driving test

Controlled driving with your examiner

Next you will get behind the wheel and will follow directions on where to go from your examiner. They will take you on a planned driving test route where you will navigate through different traffic conditions. 

What do driving test examiners look for?

During your driving test, the examiner will be observing a variety of different safety factors. You will be judged on how safely and controlled you start the engine, your clutch control, braking speed, steering, acceleration and how you move off from your starting point. 

The use of your mirrors is also a crucial part of your exam. They will be looking to make sure you are checking your blind spots, wing mirrors and rear view mirror before you change lanes, complete a manoeuvre, overtake, at junctions, roundabouts and while changing lanes.      

You will also be judged on your responses to traffic incidents such as road markings, traffic signs and traffic lights. The driving instructor will take into account your reaction time to hazards while on the road.   

passing your driving test

Independent driving

Arguably the most crucial part of your driving test is the 20 minutes you will spend driving independently, where you will follow road signs or sat nav directions without any guidance. You will be judged on how safely you drive more so than your ability to navigate, so if you take a wrong turn you shouldn’t be penalised for this.  

Performing a manoeuvre

This could either be a turn in the road, a parallel park or reversing round a corner.

Reversing manoeuvres are often the most difficult to learn and master for any driver and can be a daunting task for those on their test. You may be asked to reverse around a corner, reverse into a parking space or reverse parallel park. 

This will require extra attention and constant checking of your mirrors, positioning and depth of perception to ensure you are able to park a vehicle safely.

Reversing isn’t the only form of manoeuvre you may be asked to perform though, so it is important to make sure you are well prepared for pulling over to the side of the road, emergency stops, forward parking and turning in the road safely. 

All of these require time, patience and most of all practice. Before you take your driving test, it’s always best to have one last lesson with your instructor before you head off to the test centre so you can practice these one last time.  
Read our blog on the best times to take your driving test to help you pass first time.

Get learner driver insurance from 77p per day

Affordable learner driver insurance can be hard to find. That’s why we work with many insurance providers to offer value-for-money policies without compromising on the level of cover. Get cover from just 77p a day by calling us on 0344 381 9990 or booking a callback. We also offer black box insurance for young drivers with no curfew.

And when you do pass your test, give us a call  as we also offer young driver car insurance.

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