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The Practical Driving Test

The Practical Test is based at one of the many UK Driving Test Centres in the UK or one of the new Multi Purpose Test Centres. You will be driving on roads on a predetermined route, accompanied by an examiner from the Driving Standards Agency. To pass the test you have to give a safe drive in a variety of different road and traffic conditions, commit less than 15 driving faults, and not commit any serious or dangerous faults.

If you wish your driving instructor can accompany you on the test, but he or she must sit in the back directly behind you, and not interfere with the test at all.

It's best to arrive at the test centre 5-10 minutes before your test. At the allotted time an examiner will call your name. He will then check you licence details and ask you to sign a residency and insurance declaration. He will then ask you to lead the way to your car.

On the way to the car the examiner will ask you to read a number plate on a vehicle at a distance of approximately 20 metres away to check your eye site. If you can not read the number plate successfully the test will terminate there and then.

Before you start to drive the examiner 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.

The examiner will ask you to pull over to the side of the road and move away again several times, some of which may be on an uphill incline.

One in every three or four tests will include a controlled stop, also known as an Emergency Stop.

You will also have to perform one out of the following list of Manoeuvres.

  • Turn in the road.
  • Reverse around a corner.
  • Parallel Park or Bay Park.

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.

The Practical Driving Test will also includes a period of Independent Driving. The examiner will give you a series of directions to follow, sometimes demonstrated with the aid of a diagram. The directions could include following road signs i.e. "please follow the signs for the train station". To make time for the independent driving section only one manouevre will be performed.

If successful the examiner will give you a pass certificate and will then take your licence from you so it can be exchanged for a Full Driving Licence.