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How to Pass Your Driving Test: Top Tips For Learner Drivers

Learning how to pass your driving test can be a challenge but it can also be very rewarding. According to statistics provided by the GOV.UK website, in September 2020 48.8% of 100,676 young or new drivers passed their test.  It is a great feeling to be awarded your licence and gain the freedom to drive wherever, whenever you want. There will be no need to rely on public transport or a family member to get you from A to B.

As specialist providers of Young Driver Insurance, we have compiled these helpful tips for learner drivers that could help you towards passing your driving test.

Driving test pass rate statistics

Statista, a leading provider of market and industry data, reported that of the 1.6 million people who took their driving test between 2019/20 in the UK:
• 49.6% of males passed the test
• 42.6% of females passed the test
• 3.5% more females passed their theory test than males

How many driving lessons do I need? states everyone is different and the amount of lessons needed to pass your driving test is no exception. Your main concern should always be making sure you are able to drive in a safe, considerate manner that is in accordance with the industry standard.

Choose the instructor that is right for you

Other qualities you may want to look for in an instructor are:

  • Friendly
  • Trustworthy
  • Easy to talk to
  • A good listener

You may have multiple recommendations from family and friends. Word of mouth can be very convincing, but ultimately the decision about which instructor is better suited to your needs is down to you. There is no harm in trying out a few options before you commit to one instructor. It could be a good idea to try booking a “test session” with an instructor before deciding to commit.

Shop around for the best value

You should always consider your options before committing to a block of 10 or 20 lessons. The discounts may seem appealing, but the instructor may not be suitable. You may not respond to their teaching style, or you may feel that they are not focusing enough on the areas you need to develop. Price isn’t necessarily everything in these circumstances. It’s more important to secure a good quality instructor that suits your needs. If you can find the right balance for you between budget and expertise, you could find yourself with a better chance of passing your driving test first time.

Research your local test centre pass rate

If you live in an area where you can easily research your local test centre, this can be done in advance of booking your test. Having access to only one test centre in your area is by no means detrimental to your success, but if you do happen to have access to more than one it could be beneficial to do some research beforehand. You can find out the pass rate for test centres on the DVSA website. Inner-city centres could provide a totally different set of challenges compared to more rural areas, so try to do as much research about your local test centre before your test if you can.

Practice driving in different conditions

British weather can be unpredictable and is out of our control. Therefore, you can be driving under the sun one day and in the rain the next day. You cannot control the weather or driving conditions on the day of your test, but one thing you can control is when you take your lessons. Daytime and night-time driving both offer different challenges you need to be prepared for. By exposing yourself to different driving times (mornings, weekends, peak times, etc) you will likely experience different conditions that will be beneficial to you as a learner.

You will also need to prepare for every driving eventuality. Here are some examples of different driving conditions which you need to pay consideration to:

  • Rain – stopping distance is doubled, and vision can be significantly reduced the heavier the rainfall
  • Fog – greatly reduced vision, and you must use fog lights safely
  • Black Ice – hazardous road conditions and will likely result in difficulty controlling the vehicle
  • Hydroplaning – watery conditions lead to loss of vehicle control as the vehicle can slide over pockets of water on the surface of the road

Practice makes perfect

Practice on areas you feel you need to spend more time on, your driving instructor may be able to help you understand where your weaker areas are if you are unsure. This can include driving at roundabouts, at different times of the day, or through busy areas with different potential hazards. Town and city centres have lots of extra considerations, such as cyclists, speed cameras, and busy intersections.

Take advantage of these different situations to help you evolve as a driver and take extra care, as you can still get points on your licence as a learner for not adhering to the highway code. You can find out more about this here on the GOV.UK website.

Practice manoeuvres that are likely to come up during testing, such as:

  • Reversing around a corner
  • Reverse parking
  • 3-point turns
  • Turning in a road

Booking your practical driving test

You can book your practical driving test at your local test centre or by using this link to the GOV.UK website. Before booking your driving test, make sure you have the following to hand:

  • Your UK driving licence number, this can be found on your provisional licence
  • The driving instructor’s personal reference number, to ensure your instructor is available to attend your test if needed
  • Your credit or debit card for payment

What to expect on the day of your driving practical test

Try to remain relaxed and remember the knowledge you learnt during your lessons. The test itself typically comprises of:

  • An eyesight test
  • ‘Show me, tell me’ safety questions
  • Reversing manoeuvres
  • Following directions from a sat nav
  • 20 minutes of independent driving

Researching what you need to cover during your test will help towards mentally preparing you and this will likely put you more at ease when the time comes for you to take your test. Other helpful tips for beginners include:

Wearing the correct footwear

Wearing the correct footwear ensures you always have complete control of the pedals. Trainers could be the better option but failing that any appropriate shoe that you feel comfortable wearing will work.  If you are unsure of what you can and can’t wear during the test double check with your instructor beforehand.

Have a lesson before to prepare

Use your final lesson before the test to go over any last-minute practice manoeuvres and make sure you are really settled and prepared for what lies ahead. Use this time to assure yourself that you can make the manoeuvres required. This is a useful opportunity to make any important adjustments and iron out any queries or concerns.

Eat well and get plenty of rest

Make sure to get an early night the night before your test if possible. This can help you feel more refreshed and alert on the day of the test. Eating a balanced meal and staying hydrated could contribute to feeling energised, alert and enable you to concentrate better on the task at hand during your test. Avoid caffeine on the day and alcohol the night before. Finally, make sure to go the toilet prior to testing to avoid any unnecessary distractions.

Don’t forget your glasses or lenses

If you wear glasses or corrective lenses, the law requires you wear them whenever you are driving. You are not allowed to remove your glasses or lenses at any time during the test, so always remember to take them with you and wear them. A quick clean beforehand will not hurt either, as you will have enough to consider during the test without this as a potential distraction.

Keep calm and carry on

You can make up to 15 minor errors during testing, so do not dwell on potential mistakes you may have made. It may just be a minor and nothing major to worry about.

Take some friendly advice

Once the test is over and you are parked up in the test centre, the examiner will confirm whether you have been successful or not. If you have any questions this is an opportunity to speak to the examiner. Take this opportunity to understand what went well during testing and where your areas of development are. You will also receive a copy of the score sheet so you can see how you have performed for reference.

Where can I buy young driver insurance?

Acorn Insurance has experience helping new drivers secure young driver insurance since 1982. For an online quote for young driver insurance, click here.