Practical Test

You can only apply for your practical test once you have passed the theory test. The driving test is designed to see if you can can drive safely, know The Highway Code and can demonstrate this through your driving.

What the Test Involves

The test will include an eyesight test (if you fail this, your test will not continue). After the eyesight test you will be asked the Show me/tell me questions. You will then be examined on your general driving and on two reversing exercises. The reversing exercises will be any two of the following, reversing around a corner, turning in the road and reverse parking. You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise. .

A standard driving test takes about 40 minutes. The cost of the practical driving test is £62 weekdays and £75 weekday evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.

The Eyesight Test

The driving examiner will ask you to read the number plate on a stationary vehicle. If you use glasses to read the number plate for the eyesight test, you must wear them whenever you drive. The distance requirement for the old-style number plate is 20.5 metres and with the new-style number plate is 20 metres. New-style number plates were introduced on 01/09/01 and are easily identifiable because they start with two letters ie AB51 ABC. If you are unsuccessful on the first eyesight test, you should be asked to read another number plate and if necessary be allowed to walk forward until you are just over 20.5 m away or 20 m if it is a new number plate. If you do not read the second plate correctly, the examiner must use a tape measure to measure the exact distance from a third number plate. This will be either 20.5 m or 20 m depending on the style of plate. If you can not read the number plate at this distance and the examiner is satisfied that you do not meet the required eyesight standard, you will fail the driving test, and the practical test will not continue.

Show Me /Tell Me Vehicle Safety Check Questions

This part of the driving test has been added to show a candidates knowledge of some of the basic safety checks that a driver should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use. The ‘show and tell’ questions require candidates to explain to examiners how and where to check brakes, fluid levels, lights, indicators, tyres and horns. Candidates will be asked two questions, one ?show me’ and one ?tell me’. One or both questions answered incorrectly will result in one driving fault being recorded. Although some checks may involve the candidate in opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, pupils will not be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check fluid levels.

The Show me/tell me questions are available by clicking here.

The Driving Part of The Test

During the driving test the examiner will give you directions which you should follow. Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions. During the test the examiner will also ask you to carry out 1 of the manoeurves you have been practising. There is also an element of independent driving that lasts approximately 10 minutes.

The independent drive will consist of either following:

  • traffic signs
  • a series of directions
  • a combination of both

To help you understand where you are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will 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.

Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. Driving independently means making your own decisions – this includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you’re going.

If you ask for a reminder of the directions, the examiner will confirm them to you.

If you go off the independent driving route it won’t affect the result of your test unless you commit a serious driving fault.

If you go off the route or take a wrong turning, the examiner will help you to get back on the route. You can then continue with the independent driving.

If there are poor or obscured traffic signs, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign. You won’t need to have a detailed knowledge of the area.

You can’t use a sat nav for independent driving as it gives you turn-by-turn prompts. Independent driving tests how you make your own decisions.

Throughout the test you should drive in the way your instructor has taught you. If you make a mistake, don’t worry about it, it might be a less serious driving fault and may not affect your result. The examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving. All examiners are trained to carry out the test to the same standard, they do not have to pass or fail a certain amount of candidates. So as long as you demonstrate the standard required you will pass your driving test. You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit one serious or dangerous fault you will fail the test. If at any time your examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users they will stop your test.

For details on how to book a practical test click here.

To find the nearest practical driving test centre click here.