Advice for New Drivers

After you’ve passed your theory test and you feel confident with the practical side, it’s time to sit your driving test.

Applying for the test

  • If you’re getting lessons from an instructor, they’ll tell you when they think you’re ready to sit your practical driving test.
  • Your driving instructor might apply for you, or you can apply online at the GOV.UK website.
  • You normally take your test between Monday and Friday. If you want to sit your test on Saturday, it usually costs a bit more.

On the day

You must remember to bring:

  • Your provisional licence. Bring both the paper and photocard parts of the licence. If you only have a paper licence, you must bring a passport with you.
  • Theory test pass certificate.
  • Appointment card.

What to expect:

  1. You’ll probably have a driving lesson just before you sit your test. Your instructor will make sure you’re at the test centre in plenty of time. You then wait in the waiting room until the examiner comes to meet you.
  2. The examiner asks you to sign an insurance form, which says you’re insured to drive the vehicle you’re using in the test. He then checks your documents and, once outside, will do the eyesight test.
  3. Once the examiner has checked your vehicle is displaying red ‘L’ plates and has current road tax, you’ll then start the car and head off on your test.
  4. Show me – tell me:
 Candidates will be asked two questions; one ‘show me’ and one ‘tell me’.
    If you answer one or both questions incorrectly it will result in one driving fault being recorded. Examples of safety check questions for cars:
    Open the bonnet and ‘show me’:

    • Where you check the engine oil level and how you check the engine has enough oil.
    • Where you check the engine coolant level and how you check the engine has the correct level.
    • Where the windscreen washer reservoir is and how you check the windscreen washer level.
    • Where the brake fluid reservoir is and how you check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

    ‘Tell me’ how you would check that the:

    • Brake lights are working on this car.
    • Brakes are working before starting a journey.
    • Tyres have sufficient tread depth and that they are generally in good condition.
  5. The test lasts about 40 minutes and you will be taken along a series of roads, ranging from quiet roads to busier ones.
    The required manoeuvres for the test are:

    • Emergency stop (happens in only one in every three tests).
    • Reverse around a corner.
    • Reverse parking.
    • Turn in the road.

You’ll only be required to perform one manoeuvre. You will also be required to drive independently for ten minutes, making all your own decisions while following a given route.