There’s no denying that when you’re learning to drive, passing first time is the ultimate goal. Who cares if less than half of all learners manage to achieve it? It’s you that we’re interested in. And you are phenomenal! You’ve got the skillz, man! But self-confidence doesn’t really count for much on the big day. When it comes down to it, passing your driving test is all about prep. So, what can you do to increase your chances of getting through first time?
Ten tips for passing your driving test first time
1. Take your time
One of the main reasons that people fail their driving test is because they’re not ready to take it. Yeah, yeah; you’re super keen. And yeah, you don’t want to keep shelling out on lessons if you don’t need to. Fair enough. But if you book your test before you’re ready, you’re going to be booking another one in a few weeks’ time.
2. Plan ahead
Familiarity with your test area can make a big difference between passing and failing your driving test. The DVSA no longer publish designated test routes, so it’s a little bit harder than it used to be. But if you think about where you would like to sit your test before you start taking your lessons, you can find an instructor or driving school that specialises in that area. DGN know Wolverhampton, Birmingham and half a dozen other test centre towns and cities inside out. We keep track of test routes as closely as we possibly can. So, if you want to take your test in our catchment area, we can help you to prepare for all possibilities.
3. Talk to your instructor
There is never any shortage of people who want to learn to drive. Driving instructors have no need to prolong your lessons unnecessarily. If you want to know if you’re ready to take your test, ask your instructor. They are the probably the only person who really knows if you’re ready.
4. Take a mock test
Taking a mock test – preferably with someone other than your regular instructor, so it feels like the real deal – is a great way to show you if you’re ready to sit your driving test. It also allows you to experience test conditions so you can prepare and take control of your nerves in advance.
5. Use your instructor’s car for your test
Thousands of people fail their driving tests every year because their car is not test-ready. Your instructor’s car will adhere to test standards. It’s their job to make sure that it does. By using your instructor’s vehicle, you’ve immediately increased your chances of passing. It also gives you the opportunity to have a lesson before your test, which can be a great way of settling your nerves and preparing yourself.
6. Be prepared for everything
The weather can make a massive difference to any driving experience. And you have no control over what it’s going to be like on your test day. So, don’t bail out on lessons in heavy rain, sleet, snow, or gale force winds. You need to be prepared for whatever happens on your test day. But more importantly, you need to be able to drive safely in all weathers once you’ve got your licence.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask your examiner for clarification
It’s a driving test, not a comprehension or hearing test. If you’re not entirely certain what your examiner means or you think that you might have misheard them, ask for clarification. Panicking and second-guessing will probably result in failing. If your examiner knows that you haven’t fully heard or understood the instructions – before you make the wrong move – they will understand, as long as you keep your cool.
8. Don’t give up!
There always that horrible sinking feeling when you think that you’ve made a critical error during your driving test. And it’s really hard to continue with a clear mind. But you must. Because you never know what the end result will be. Things often aren’t as bad as they seem. But if you quit at the first error, you definitely won’t pass.
9. Make sure that you have your documentation with you
A distressingly high number of people fail their first driving test because they forget to bring their provisional licence and theory test past certificate with them. Don’t add to the number!
10. Don’t be late
If you’re late for your test, you may miss it entirely. And if they do let the test go ahead, the chances are that you’ll be so stressed out that you’ll fail thanks to a series of silly mistakes. Getting to the test centre 15 minutes early gives you chance to breathe, take stock and have a wee before you have to get back behind the wheel.
While everyone wants to pass their driving test first time, it’s important to remember that most people don’t. So, if you don’t quite make it first time round, it’s not the end of the world. Take a breather. Get back in the car. And use the experience to get things right next time round.