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Learner Drivers | The Practical Test

Here you can find out all about the Practical driving test

The Practical Driving Test

The examiner will give directions throughout the test, but you will also be asked to do 10 minutes of independent driving. You will have to follow traffic signs or a short series of verbal directions, or a combination of both. To help candidates understand where they are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will show a diagram. Candidates can also ask for a reminder as they drive.

Reporting for your practical test

You must bring the following items with you. If you do not, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) may refuse to carry out the test and you may lose your fee.

  • Both parts of your photo card licence. If you do not take both parts of your licence your test will not take place and you will lose your fee
  • If you have an old-style paper licence, you must take your signed driver licence and a valid passport

What will the test include?

  • The test will include an eyesight check (if you fail this, your test will not continue).
  • You will be asked two vehicle safety check questions.
  • You will then be examined on your general driving and on one reversing exercises.

What happens during the test?

The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving, including when you are carrying out the set exercises.

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.

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 your test will be stopped.

You are allowed to take someone with you on the test, this person must be over 16 years old and cannot take any part in the test.

During the test, the examiner will ask you to carry out set exercises.

You will be asked to carry out 1 reversing manouvures chosen from:

  • Reversing around a corner
  • Turning in the road
  • Reverse parking
  • You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise

After the practical test

When the driving test is over, the examiner will tell you whether you passed or failed. You can request feedback on your test from the examiner, who will then go through your performance during the test.

If you pass...

If you pass and have a photocard driving licence issued after 1 March 2004 the examiner will ask you if you want your full driving licence issued to you automatically.

If you want to use this service, the examiner will take your old licence off you, scan the details and send them electronically to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You will then be given a pass certificate to prove you passed your test. DVLA will then send you your new full licence by post within four weeks of you passing your practical test. If you pass your test but do not want to use this automatic service, or have a licence issued before 1 March 2004, you will be given a pass certificate by the examiner. On the back of the pass certificate it tells you what you need to do next. This involves sending your licence and appropriate fee to DVLA who will then check your application and issue you with a new full licence.

If you don't pass...

If you dont pass the test you should ask the examiner for some feedback to help prepare yourself for your next test. Your driving report form will also show you where you made any mistakes. You can take another practical test 10 working days after your car or motorcycle test.

Driving test standards

All examiners are trained to carry out the test to the same standard, they do not have pass or fail quotas. So as long as you demonstrate the standard required you will pass your driving test.

Weather conditions/ mechanical problems etc

DSA do not conduct tests in bad light or in adverse weather conditions for the safety of the candidate and the examiner. The DSA will arrange another appointment at no further cost, but compensation is not payable. Candidates should call the telephone number quoted on the appointment letter to check whether their test will go ahead. If the driving test is not completed for reasons attributable to you or your vehicle, you will have to take another test at your own cost.

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