The taking of your practical test can be a very big part of your life and brings with it a lot of emotion, stress and expectation. But we will be there with you every step of the way to help, support and advise you and will ensure that you are 100% ready before taking the test. You will be using the same car that you learn in to take the test or if you have your own car that you practice in regularly and feel more comfortable in, it may be possible to take the test in that vehicle. For added support it is also possible for your instructor to accompany you on your test, this also helps if you are unsuccessful your instructor can see exactly what areas need some more improvement. If you have any other questions, concerns or requirements regarding the test please do not hesitate to give us a call and we will be happy to help.
To be able to book the practical test you must have already passed the theory test and the theory certificate must still be valid. The test costs currently £62 for a week day test and £75 for a weekend or bank holiday, however you need to bear in mind it is sometimes difficult to get a weekend or bank holiday test. You can book online at: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Diol1/DoItOnline/Doitonlinemotoring/DG_197299 or we can book it for you at no extra cost. There is usually a wait of about 4 weeks for a test date but this can go up and down depending on the time of year, for example if it snows there may have been tests cancelled and they will have to be rescheduled so this will cause waiting times to go up. Other things you need to be aware of is that for the use of the car on the day of the test and the lesson immediately before the test, comes out at a double lesson price as it takes up 2 hours, but may be higher if you live a long distance from the test centre you decide to use.
On the day of the test you will need to take with you your confirmation of the test booking, Theory test pass and your licence, this is both parts if it’s a new style licence and your licence and passport if it’s an old style. When you arrive at the test centre you will take a seat in the waiting room and the examiner will come to find you at your allocated time, there is usually more than one test going ahead at the same time so you will need to wait until the examiner calls out your name. He will then need to see all the documents you have brought with you and will ask you to read and sign the declaration at the top of the test form, this just confirms that you are eligible to take the test and that the car is insured for that purpose. Once you have signed the form he will then take you out and check your eyesight by reading a number plate to ensure it meets the minimum requirements and then ask you to lead the way to your car. He will then ask you 2 ‘show me tell me’ questions and then offer an explanation of what’s going to happen on the test. He will instruct you to always follow the road ahead or follow road signs and markings unless he wishes for you to turn in which case he will inform you to do so in plenty of time.
During the test he will ask you to carry out one of the following manoeuvres, this is chosen at random and you will not know which one you are getting until he asks you to carry it out.
Turn in the Road (3 point turn)
Reverse park into a Bay
Reverse into an opening on the left/right (reversing round a corner)
Also 1 in 3 candidates will have to carry out a controlled stop, the tests that are picked for the controlled stop are again chosen completely at random.
As of last year the test now includes 10 minutes independent driving. This was introduced so that the candidate can demonstrate to the examiner that they are completely capable of driving without any instructions and making decisions on their own. It is not a test of your navigation skills and it does not matter if you come off route or take a wrong turn as long as your driving has remained safe and with in accordance of the law. The instructions you are given for this section can either be to follow road signs to a certain destination or you are given a series of directions, usually 3 at a time to follow or they can decide to use a combination of both. If you are given a series of directions this is usually accompanied by a diagram like the one below to help you understand the route he wishes you to take.
If at any time you forget the direction that’s absolutely fine, just ask the examiner to repeat the instruction or confirm the direction you think he wishes you to take. If you do come off the route do not worry he will help you get back on track. If you suddenly realise you are in the wrong lane or going in the wrong direction then usually it is safer to continue in that direction rather change your mind at the last minute as this may confuse other road users or cause an accident.
You will get the result straight away at the end of the test and you can have your instructor present to listen to the de-brief by the examiner. If you have been successful he will ask you to sign some paperwork and then he will take your licence away from you and send it away, you will receive your full licence in the post. In the meantime he will issue you with a pass certificate to prove your eligibility to drive and you must not forget if you have your own vehicle you must inform the insurance company of your pass before you drive. If you have been unsuccessful it is best to let your instructor listen to the de-brief so they are best placed to help you correct any areas of weakness. You are able to rebook your test straight away, however you cannot actually sit the test for 10 working days so must rebook for a date after the 10 days have expired. Your instructor will drive you home from the test centre whether you pass or fail as you will be too preoccupied with the result of your test.
One thing to remember is that passing your test does not make you a good driver that takes time and experience. The examiner is just certifying that you are now safe to drive unaccompanied and continue to enhance your skills, abilities and experience on your own. If in the first 2 years of getting your licence you receive 6 or more penalty points your licence will be revoked and you will have to reapply for your provisional licence and retake both the theory and practical tests.
The practical test lasts approximately 40 minutes and takes in different types of roads and conditions, it also includes 1 of the 4 manoeuvres, 10 minutes independent driving and possibly an emergency stop. You must commit no more than 15 driving errors (minors) and no serious or dangerous marks in order to pass.