Pass the Driving Test in a New Year

January 1st is traditionally a time when many people renew their dreams of learning to drive or having another attempt at passing the driving test, so I would like to offer some tips to help you pass the dsa driving test and get your full British licence at the beginning of the new year.

Many of you will be making new year resolutions regarding passing the UK driving test, and I would like to encourage you to follow these dreams through by having action plans to help you realise your dream of getting a full British licence and be able to drive a car unsupervised and go on motorways or anywhere you like at the time you desire.

1. Write your goal down on paper and paste it in places that you will see it daily. You need a constant reminder why you want to pass the driving test, and this should provide the incentive not only to work hard towards this by taking regular and consistent driving lessons, but will also make sure that you give priority to allocating the funds necessary to achive your goal by the end of the year 2010.

2. The DSA are making the test harder in 2010 with the introduction of independent driving elements to the practical assessment from october, so your chances of passing will reduce even further from that date, the time to prepare will grow and the costs involved will be greater, so January is better than rushing to book a test in september to beat the changes deadline.

3. Know the test requirements inside out. Even if you are paying an instructor to help you prepare for the car practical, I suggest you spend an extra £10 on the official DSA guide DVD and watch it until you've totally understood what the examiner is expecting on the day (this means not just once, but 5 maybe 10 times). This will not only boost your confidence, but it allows you to know if your instructor is actually doing their job by covering the skills required for you to pass or are just taking you for a ride (literally, by just allowing you to drive around and perform a few maneuvers).



4. Take a mock test (with a different instructor if possible) when you think you are ready to face the dsa examiner. There are 2 reasons for this, firstly by having someone only giving you directions and no assistance at all helps you to know if you are totally independent in your driving and not relying on your instructor even if it is only a yes to a question you ask (the examiner will not help you in anyway, so you need to be absolutely sure you are doing things at the required standard), secondly if you take the mock test with a different instructor, you'll be able to see how you react in test conditions with a stranger sitting next to you, you might also get some valuable independent advice on how to do things.

5. Don't get discouraged by a failed test attempt. It would be nice to pass the driving test first time in 2010, but the reality of life is that not everyone will do so, no matter how hard they have worked and well prepared they might be, just one mistake could be classified as a serious driving error which while this might cause you to fail the test, doesn't mean you are bad driver, a failure or not ready. Learn from the experience, keep your chin high, put in some more hard work, stay positive and go for it again, and you will succeed.

There are no absolute guarantees when it comes to passing the driving test, but if you follow the advice I have guven above, then you have a very good and high chance of achieving your goal in 2010, preferably before october 2010 when the new driving test changes come into effect. So don't just make a new year resolution, put a plan in action and follow it through till the very end.



Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

Driving Test - Commit Suicide

Why on earth would you think of committing suicide because you haven't passed the UK driving test?

It does not matter how many attempts you have made at getting a full British licence, you are not a failure, more importantly not being able to drive a car manual or automatic unsupervised should in no way make your life less valuable. Even if your job or a promotion depended on passing the DSA test, suicide is just a sign of how easily you have given up on life. If you really want it, there is nothing that should be able to stand in your way, and irrespective of costs, number of times an examiner has said no, if you put your mind to it, you will do it.



You are not a failure, unless you throw in the towel. Some have taken 10, 15, 100 attempts at getting a pass, spent thousands of pounds, and there is nothing in life like finally achieving that goal after what seemed like so many failures.

Rather than thinking of committing suicide, think about the many other things you have achieved in life, and dream of the day when you will also get that pink licence, go and pick up your first car, let the roof down, and drive into the summer sunset. Suicide is not an option for those who really want to succeed.

More Advice on Passing the Driving Test


Common faults on the driving test
Guaranteed Driving Test Pass courses

Late notice driving tests

If your are thinking of booking a late notice driving test, you need to think twice before doing so.

As an approved instructor, I get a lot of enquiries from candidates who have a practical test in a day or two and are either looking for a driving test car, short notice mock tests to cover the dsa routes or a late driving lesson to make sure everything is okay. My experience has shown that most people who book short notice driving tests without their instructor's advice or knowledge do not pass because they have not prepared properly and done their homework to know completely what the DSA examiner is looking for.

While I will always do my best to help foreign licence holders to get up to speed on the UK practical car test, 2 hours is not long enough to get rid of bad driving habits or to cover all the routes or test maneuvers that you might get and the locations where they are carried out.

Everyone one wants to pass the driving test as soon as possible, but you can't cheat the system by hoping to get an easy route, not be asked to carry out a particular maneuver, or get a nice and kind examiner. If you don't give the DSA assessment the respect it deserves, then you are most likely to fail. So before you accept that online slot from a short notice test cancellation, make sure you have a car to take the test in, your instructor or intended one is available, and most importantly, that you the candidate is ready, prepared and have the confidence to perform all the tasks expected of you.

Driving Test Advice Video




Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons. You should also have a look at the top 10 reasons for failing the UK driving test.

Failed driving test?

Have you recently failed to pass the driving test here in the UK, and are feeling disappointed and discouraged, then maybe you can take comfort in the story of the Korean woman who took 950 attempts to pass the theory test.

If you really want to pass the driving test and get that full british pink licence, then you can not allow failure to cause you to give up on your dream even if it is costing you a lot of money. Go back to taking driving lessons, find as many test tips as you can, taking note of them, practise with family members or friends if you can the things your instructor has taught you, read the highway code to make sure you know the rules of the road and are confident with who has the right of way at various junctions, can recognise road signs but don't consider yourself a failure or stupid because you find the DSA practical car assessment difficult, keep giving it your best effort, but what ever you do, DON'T GIVE UP.

Success could be yours after the next attempt, if you continue just like the Korean pensioner and if necessary keep your efforts secret from anyone who has a negative effect or will discourage you from achieving your goal, this is your dream, and it is up to you to do all you can to pass this driving test and you too could soon be driving a car such as the volvo shown below unsupervised.



Finally I would advice that you think twice when booking cheap driving lessons to pass the test. There are a few people out there operating illegally, who can't give you the adequate training required to reach the standard expected by the DSA examiner. You are better off paying a bit more for a fully qualified instructor (check the ADI badge) who has a reputation to protect.

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

Additional Driving Test Advice
10 driving test faults to avoid
Tackling driving test maneuvers.

Driving Theory Test

Passing the dsa driving theory test is no indication that you will pass the practical driving test especially for those foreign licence holders who have learnt to drive with standards that are far below those expected here in the UK by the dsa driving examiner.

The theory test which consists of a multple choice 50 question first part and a hazard perception section where you need to watch 15 video clips and click on the mouse to show you have identified potential/developing hazards on the road should not be difficult for someone who has had 10 years driving in a foreign country, but when it comes to the practical driving test, things are much different, and you can not expect to pass this driving test without taking professional tuition from a driving instructor.
The mistake most people make that have passed the theory test is they think that they can forget all the knowledge acquired because it won't be required for the practical element, and they have a theory test pass certificate to prove that they are half way to getting their full driving licence!

Being able to identify road signs, knowing the correct stopping distances for various speeds or knowing which traffic to giveway to at a roundabout is knowledge that needs to be applied while driving on the road, so you need to continually read the highway code to keep the information fresh in your mind for the practical test. Failure to apply this simple principle means you would not be able to fufil the dsa examiner's requirements, and thus not pass the driving test.



Many people also know that it is hard controlling a car, while at the same time thinking about which gear to select for a junction, looking to see if it is safe to emerge while still applying MSM! This is why you need to have enough driving lessons to make sure these skills are natural to you and flow smoothly while driving. Don't take it for granted that because you scored 43 out of 50, and in the HPT 44 out of 75 or higher, that the practical test will be a walk over since you can drive a car from A to B, have not had an accident in 10 years. You must know what the test standard is, what errors you will be marked against, and what are serious ones that you need to avoid in order to pass. All of this information is freely available from the DSA website, or there are books that you can buy to read and prepare with, so you don't have an excuse for arriving at a test centre with sub standard skills or a car that dosen't meet the test requirements.

Do you know what the top 10 reasons for failing the driving test are?

Guaranteed Driving Test Pass

As a DSA instructor, I would like to give some free advice/information that will help those of you looking for guaranteed driving test pass schemes or courses.

As an experienced intructor of many years who has sat on numerous practical driving tests with dsa examiners and various learner drivers, I can fully say that there is no way anyone can fully guarantee you will pass the driving test, if there was, that person would be very rich!

If you search the internet, you will see a lot of organisations offering courses or driving lessons with a guarantee you will pass the practical car test. So far I've not seen anyone of these companies offering a money back policy, many of them offer free further attemps on driving tests or additional tuition at no cost to the learner, so how are they able to offer these guarantees?

First of all let me say that non of these schemes are cheap, the minimum I've seen charged for these intensive driving courses is £900, and you always need to fully read their terms and conditions to know what their criteria are for enrolling as well as how the guarantee scheme operates.

The way these driving schools work is that they charge a flat fee for course which is run over a week or so (so you need to take time off work or studies), you would then be given the base number of driving lessons say 20 hours (which because you have so much done within that 5 days including a lot of repetition) should have you cover everything you need for the dsa practical test. Majority of people will make enough progress on these intensive courses to be able to attempt the driving test with a high chance of passing because the information is fresh in your mind and you've been practising the skills recently. If you charge £25 per lesson, having only taken 20 lessons, with £62 for a test, they've cleared £338 in extra profit (£25 is a high lesson price in the first place). Now if you don't pass your test on the first attempt, you will need to at least wait 10 days before your next attempt, your money is already banked and gaining interest, you'll have to take some more time off work and rebook yourself in at a time suitable for both of you and then depending on the guranteed scheme operating, pay for tuition and have a free re-test or take free additional tuition and test.



Now I'm not saying you should not use a school offering a guaranteed driving test pass, I'm just saying that they don't have any driving test secrets to offer you as a learner driver, and are just using statistics to give themselves a good way of earning money from provisional licence holders, because they won't be doing it if it was not profitable.

So don't think you are getting a good deal, apart from the fact that you might get a full driving licence quickly, there is no guarantee that you will be a safer driver if you pass your driving test this way, and if you don't start to drive immediately, you could infact be a danger to yourself and other road users if you take to the roads after a copule of years break.

Pass that driving test


If you are not taking one of those crash driving courses with a guarantee, here is some valuable information for you.

There are no driving test secrets or dsa examiner insider information out there. I know of at least one website selling what it claims to be secrets to passing the UK driving test, because the information is less than the cost of a driving lesson, many people are tempted to buy these ebooks only to find out it is a collection on information that is free available from the internet, or common sense.
If you really need information that would guarantee you pass the test, then why not buy the DSA DVD Prepare for your Practical Driving Test, it also costs less than an hours driving lesson, but because it is made by the people who actually conduct the practical test here in the UK, it is the official guide for any learner driver, and if there are any test secrets, then you will find them in this DVD (I recommend this product for anyone learning to drive with parents or friends).



Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

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Driving Test Maneuvers.

Under pressure on driving test

If you want to pass the driving test, then you can not allow yourself to be pressurised by other road users while you are undergoing the dsa practical car assessment with the driving examiner.

As you would know from the many experiences you have faced during your driving lessons while preparing for the test, other road users can not be bothered to be patient with learner drivers, they will tailgate you, intimidate you by revving their engines, beep their horns and just generally be a nuisance to you. This will not change while you are out on your driving test, so you need to start getting used to not getting under pressure when you come across these road users during your lessons. The earlier you know how to deal with this kind of pressure, the better the chance you have of passing the driving test.

Even if the people know you are on a driving test, not many of them are still going to be understanding, as they are usually too in a hurry to get where they are going, but this must not be allowed to affect your driving during the 40 minutes you are in the car with the DSA examiner.
At junctions, you must not emerge (especially when turning right) until it is safe to do so (suitable gaps on both sides of the road), no matter what the cars in front of you do, or how long it takes for you to find a safe gap.
Don't increase your speed just because there is a car close behind you going fast, you must consider the prevailing conditions and drive accordingly.



Whatever you do during the driving test, if you want to pass, you must continue to remain safe and follow the highway code. Other road users already have their full british licence and can do what they like, but you can't afford that luxury with the dsa examiner in the car, so only do what is legal and safe. Even going 1 mph over the speed limit is not allowed, as that could be the excuse the driving examiner needs to fail you (I don't know about driving test quotas, but you can only be failed if you do something serious or dangerously wrong), so don't do it even if a friend did the same thing on their test and got away with it (hitting the kerb for example while doing the reverse parking manoeuvre).

So in summary, you will pass the driving test if you do what the dsa examiner wants to see, and don't bow to pressure from other road users but follow the advice you been given by your instructor or supervising driver.

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Driving test in an Hour

If you have a driving test in one hour's time what can you do to increase your chances of passing? Well not alot, especially if you are not fully prepared. As a DSA approved instructor, the last hour before a practical car assessment is usually spent with the learner driving around the local test centre area routes, getting used to the traffic and weather conditions, I would normally go over the least favorite driving maneuver, just to brush up on the skills, but this is not the time to be teaching new ways of doing things.

I also use the last hour before getting to the dsa centre to boost the candidate's confidence, reminding them that they've got all the skills and experience required to get that desired pass certificate, and all they've got to do is to drive to the best of their ability as they have been doing on thier driving lessons. If they make a mistake, they should not give up, but continue until the very end.

If there is any local hotspot that can be tricky on the driving test, then I would also take them there if there is enough time during the final one hour (this wouldn't be the first time of going there, but it would just be to have an idea what conditions are like prior to the test), though things could obviously change by the time the candidate gets there with the dsa examiner.



If you are not going to the driving test with an instructor, then you need to get to the test centre area early, and drive round with you supervisor, also check the car over throughl to make sure it meets the DSA test requirements (tyres, lights, windscreen) as you don't want to lose your fee and the opportunity of getting a full british driving licence due to bald tyres or headlights not working. You don't have much time in the last hour before the test to visit a garage or change a flat tyre especially if you are not familiar with the test centre area.

Finally make sure you arrive at the centre around 15 minutes before your test so you car do the bay parking exercise. The closer to your appoinment you arrive, the busier the car park will be, and you don't want unnecessary pressure at this time, so in a nutshell make valuable use of the one hour before your UK driving test, but above all remain calm and focus on the task at hand, if you've prepared for it, then you can do it.

Don't think on driving test

If you want to pass the driving test, you can not afford to be thinking about anything else apart from the present task at hand.

Many test candidates are so pre-occupied with the fact that they badly want to pass the dsa practical car assessment, that they don't concentrate fully on their driving. Subconciously their either trying to figure out where they are being taken on the test route, what driving maneuver they will be asked to do next or remembering what they failed their last test on, and that this is their 3rd driving attempt!



The best way to guarantee you will pass is to treat the driving test as your first attempt, concentrate fully on showing the dsa examiner that you have acquired the required skills at the set standard, and that you are ready to be allowed to gain more experience as an unsupervised safe driver.
If you make a driving mistake, don't start to think did I get a major or minor fault for that, let it go, ignore it, and still continue to give the assessment your best efforts. You need to wait until it is over before you relax. If you've had enough practise, done your homework and research well, then the 40minutes will fly by quickly. But until you've got back into the driving test centre and the examiner has told you that it's the end of the test, don't let your guard down. I've lost count of the number of stories I've heard of people failing thier dsa practical car assessment either within site of or inside the test centre car park.

One split second is all it takes, so you can't afford to think about anything on your driving test apart from the developing situation in front of you. One step at a time is all it takes, deal with the present sucessfully, and move on to the next.

DSA Examiner keeps record of driving test attempts

I was speaking to a learner driver preparing for the driving test yesterday, and he was mentioning the fact that dsa driving examiners keep record of the number of times a candidate has taken the practical car test, and that the more the number, the harder they make the test!

This is just another one of those myths that seem to go around concerning the DSA UK driving test. The local test centre examiners do not keep records of individuals that have attempted to pass the driving test, and they treat each assessment on what the driver does on the day.
It is possible that an examiner might remember a candidate from a previous visit, but they can't use that against the learner driver during the current test.



It doesn't matter how many times you've taken the test, you need to focus on the task at hand, forget about previous attempts and treat this driving test as if it were your first. You need to be confident that you've learnt from previous driving mistakes, and that you have now gained the necessary skills required to be allowed on the british roads unsupervised.

If anyone is keeping records of driving test attempts, then it is you, not the dsa examiner.

One driving test mistake

All it takes is one serious or dangerous test mistake for you not to pass the driving test, and the dsa examiner will ignore how good your driving has been up to that point.

It is for this reason that the current UK driving test only has a national average pass rate of only 40% for the over 1.5 million practical car assessments that are given each year.

You as a learner driver should therefore not get into the habit of classifying some of your driving mistakes during lessons as only minor errors, as all it takes is some other road user to be affected by your actions and it becomes a serious mistake that fails you on the driving test.

While the dsa driving examiner is not expecting a perfect no error drive, you should go to the assessment with the mindset and intention of making no mistakes, and this is only possible if you've had enough practice and are confident with your manoeuvres.



Driving test mistakes can cause you to fail, so take professional advice, practise and know what is required for the various scenarios that you might encounter out on the road, including being able to drive up to 70mph on a dual carriageway, deal with junctions and roundabouts, recognise road signs/markings and obey traffic lights (no rush to beat a red light for example).

The higher the number of times you have done a particular test maneuver, dealt with a junction or roundabout, driven on a dual carriageway, the better and confident you will be, and this means the less likely you will make a mistake, with your chances of passing the driving test increased, and thus achieving your goal of getting a full british licence in the post.

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Hoping to pass the driving test

You just can't hope to pass the DSA practical driving test, you need to work hard, practice all the driving skills highlighted in the driving test requirements record, and be confident that you've done everything in your power to prepare. It is particularly important if you've already had an attempt at the test, that you don't stop taking driving lessons and just turn up at the test centre having only taken a hour tuition session on the day and think that you will still be able to drive at the test standard.

As a DSA approved assessor, I regularly see people who've failed a test, book another appointment with an examiner and only call me a week before the date asking for a 1 hour session a day or two before the test. In most cases their driving has gone rusty, and they make many driving mistakes, some of which they didn't even commit on their previous test, all because they haven't driven in the 8 week period since their last DSA practical car assessment! With only a short 1 hour driving lesson, it is not possible to make up for that gap, so the result is they go for the test and fail!

The video below shows an example of how people fail the driving test for not knowing how to deal with cars driving too close behind them.



You can't rely on lady luck to pass the test, 40 minutes is a long time and since you can be taken anywhere except the motorway, you can not fluke a pass as there are too many things that could go wrong if you have not practiced enough! Take the time to have enough driving lessons, and take a driving instructor's advice on what you need to work on, then you might have a higher chance of being successful and get that full british driving licence.

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Driving test in private car

For you to be able to pass the driving test with a private car, your vehicle must pass the basic visual inspection conducted by the DSA driving examiner.

Every week I either see or hear of driving test candidates who come in their private car being denied the chance of taking the practicar car assessment because their vehicle does not have road worthy tyres, a large crack on the windscreen or the headlights are not working properly.

All the requirements that your private car on the driving test has to fulfil are listed on the DSA driving test appointment letter sent out to all candidates, so check your car at least a day before the test, and get any defects fixed before going to the test centre.

You will lose your fee, if the test can not go ahead due to a problem with your car, and at £62 (April 2009), that could be a very expensive mistake!



If at all possible I would always recommend you use a driving school car, though you can expect the instructor would like to make sure you will not crash his vehicle by asking you have a couple of lessons before your test date, but you will not have any cancellations of test by the DSA examiner if you hire a driving test car using this method.

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10 reasons not passing driving test

Here are the top 10 reasons for failing to pass the driving test according to the DSA, the government appointed body responsible for conducting over 1.5M practical car driving tests each year with a failure rate of 60%. I have included some driving videos to help understand some of the skills expected by the examiner.

Observation at junctions, including roundabouts. Candidates fail to make effective observations and exercise good judgement especially when emerging at a T junction or crossing the path of oncoming cars either because they are in a hurry or feel pressurised by vehicles behind them.



Use of car mirrors. Not checking or failing to act on information provided by looking at mirrors, it is not just a matter of going through the motions of moving the head to please the DSA examiner, you need to react to what you see safely.

Reversing around a corner. This is one of the hardest driving test maneuvers, and ineffective observation during this set exercise or a lack of accuracy and good control of the car causes a lot of learner drivers not to pass the test at this point.



Incorrect use of signals The driver does not cancelling an indicator after use or more importantly giving out misleading signals on the driving test to other road users including pedestrians is another reason for failing.



Reverse parking exercise Ineffective observation in particular not looking behind through the rear windscreen (you can't reverse using the interior mirror) or lack of accuracy and control, usually hitting the kerb or going too fast.



Moving away safely Ineffective observation before moving off (a 6 point check will always avoid this), and because you will be asked to pull up on the left and then move away about 4 times during the driving test, you need to make this a habit starting with your driving lessons, otherwise you will be caught o
ut by the test examiner, and it is a stupid driving error to fail on!

Incorrect positioning on the road At roundabouts use the correct lane, obey road markings and stay in your lane while driving on dualcarriageways expescial on bends.



Lack of steering control Steering too early or too late, especially if you have the habit of crossing your hands is another reason for failing to pass the practical car driving assessment.

Incorrect positioning turning right At junctions, roundabouts and on one way streets, make sure you have the car in the correct position, don't cross the middle line in the road and don't cut the corner.



Inappropriate speed Many learner drivers fail the test for driving too slowly, and wonder why, when they think they are being safe! You can't of course pass the driving test if you break the speed limit.



Make sure none of the above driving errors is giving you any serious problems before booking your driving test, otherwise you will just be one of the 60% that does not pass the test.

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Driving Test Confidence

If you want to have a good chance of passing the driving test, then you need to be confident of your driving skills ability, and that you can perform to the DSA standard on the day of your practical car driving assessment. If you don't believe that you can pass the test, then you probably won't!

As a DSA approved instructor, over the years I've seen many learner drivers who have taken the required driving lessons, are at the required standard needed to pass, but yet I have to continually boost their confidence telling them that they are ready to take on the DSA driving examiner for the 40 minute car test.

Here is a checklist that should help you to be confident in the knowledge that you are ready to pass the driving test.

Driving Lessons


Have you taken the prerequisite number of driving lessons with an approved instructor who offers quality tuition covering the complete DSA syllabus as detailed in the driver's record and not just the first person you found offering the cheapest driving lessons in your area.
There are two things that needs to be covered by anyone teaching you to drive a car before you should consider yourself confident enough to book and take the driving test.
You need to learn the driving skills as expected by the driving examiner, so for example your instructor or supervising driver will show you how to carry out the parallel parking exercise to the test standard.
You also need to have enough experience of carrying out this exercise in various road conditions and situations. It is no use knowing how to do the reverse parking manuover, but can't deal safely with cars or pedestrians that turn up during the maneuver while on the test either because you've never been in such a situation before, or you've not be told the DSA standard of dealing with such situations. Experience is very important, so get enough practise doing all the driving skills as many times as possible to boost your confidence.



Believe in your instructor


If you've been preparing for the driving test with an instructor, and they advice you that you've reached the standard of the practical car assessment, then you must trust their judgment, knowledge and experience. If you don't trust your driving instructor, then why are you still paying them to give you a service that you think is second class? Usually ADI's will be telling candidates that they aren't quite ready for a test, so there is no excuse for not trusting on this one, even if you feel you aren't, then at least give it a go. Being nervous about it is common, but if you concentrate on the task at hand, then you should be okay.

Driving Knowledge Builds Confidence


Another way of building confidence is if you know the rules and regulations that govern the roads that you drive on. I've lost count of the number of times a learner driver approaches a roundabout in the UK and slows down because a car seems to be driving fast towards the junction from the left. If you know that you have the right of way, then you would approach with confidence knowing that the car will have to stop for you, or have to explain why it ran into you at the roundabout.
If you've passed the driving theory test, then the DSA driving examiner expects you to use the information while out on the road, so slowing down for cars on side roads that have give way signs, not obeying road markings or sign all affect your confidence.



I advice any driving test candidate to read the highway code in between lessons, to remind them of the information they gained from passing the theory test which could be almost 2 years ago.

It is up to you be confident about your driving test, as getting that pass certificate depends on your ability to demonstrate to the DSA driving examiner, that you deserve that full British licence.

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Signals on Driving Test

Here are some driving test tips that should help you with your signalling decisions (use of indictors) on the UK driving test. Remember that the dsa examiner will mark incorrect use of signals on the DL25 report sheet, and it is possible to fail the practical car assessment for wrong use of indicators.

1. You should always signal at a junction during the driving test, irresective of if it is a compulsory left or right turn. This also applies to whether a car is around or not when you get to the junction.

2. Remember to signal left to leave a major roundabout. The timing of the signal should be right, and not misleading, and is as you go past the exit before the one you need. So if coming off at the 3rd exit, you will put your indicators for turning left as you go past the 2nd exit.

3. You should not be using your indicators during maneuvers on the test, as there should be nobody around to benefit from them when the car moves. Use of the reverse and brake lights to inform other road users of your intentions is however required. Your driving instructor's advice should be followed here, especially for the reverse parking exercise.



4. Don't get into the habit of always signalling right to move off from a parked position on the left. While the DSA driving examiner can not penalise you for this, if you forget to cancel the signal or the timing leads to confusion for other road users, it could cost you the driving test. If there are cars approaching from behind, and there is not a safe gap, don't signal to come out, wait till they've gone or a safe gap appears, and you can move off without signaling.

5. You should always signal when changing lanes on a dual carriageway or any other road with more than one lane travelling in the same direction.

I hope you've found all of these tips useful, and that they help in your quest to pass the driving test, if so your comments are always welcome, and don't forget to share this information with your mates who are also learners.

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Common Driving Test Mistakes

Here in the UK, you can make mistakes on the driving test and still pass the DSA practical car assessment (I was told you can't make mistakes in the Netherlands, which is part of the EU).

The DSA driving examiner does not expect you to be a perfect driver, and you are allowed up 15 driving errors on the test (as long as they are not classified as serious or dangerous), with each mistake marked on the DL25 test report sheet underneath the appropriate section as the assessment takes place. I've already mentioned before that you should not take note of the driving examiner's marking, but it is important also that you don't giveup hope while on the driving test, no matter the mistake you make during the 40 minutes that the examiner is in the car with you.

The most sensible thing you can do if you make a mistake during the driving test is correct it if possible, so if you wanted to select a particular gear to go up a hill, don't allow the car to struggle all the way up if you accidentally got the wrong gear. The examiner might not mark you down if you make the correction immediately, but you would definately get a driver error if you allow the car to continue in the wrong gear.



The other thing to bear in mind is that the driving test is not over until you get back in to the test centre and the examiner tells you to turn off the car engine, therefore you don't know that you have passed or failed especially if you made a mistake which your instructor has told you not to do on the test (touch the kerb during turn in the road). The DSA examiner does have some discretion to use, and while you want to drive at the required standard, you must not give up hope on any mistakes you make, as you could still pass the driving test if the examiner decides to be lenient on you.

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

See also reasons for failing driving test and driving test guarantees.



Road Signs and Markings on the Driving Test



Junctions on the Test



Turn in the Road 3 Point Turn

Listen to driving instructor advice

This might seem an obvious driving test tip, but I must stress that if you really want to have a good chance of passing the uk driving test, then you need to listen to the advice given to you by a DSA approved driving instructor.

From experience, I know that a lot of learner drivers think that when ever an ADI says you are not ready for the test, they think that the instructor says this only because they want more driving lessons and money from you! If you are told to postpone a test, you should ask the question why, and find out what it is you have to do to be in a better position to pass the test.

Another thing you can do is get a second opinion on your driving skills by taking an assessment lesson with a different instructor, if the feedback to get is similiar to the recommendation from your normal ADI, then you do have some work to do before you should put yourself in for the DSA practical car test at any centre.
Many learner drivers are very quick to take advice from family members or friends when it comes to the test, but think about this, would these advisors of yours be able to pass the current driving test without taking any professional instruction?



An approved driving instructor has all the knowledge and driving skills to pass the test as required by a DSA examiner, so they are the best person able to let you know if you have reached the required standard, you should also make sure you have covered all the skills mentioned in the DSA drivers record available from the driving standards agency website.

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Can a driving school promise I will pass dsa car test?

Driving Test Tip - Speed Fail for too slow

All learner drivers should know that they can't break the speed limit and expect to pass the driving test, but it is not just speeding that you need to avoid.
You could be failed on the driving test for driving too slow as well.

The DSA examiner is assessing your use of speed in different conditions, so while the speed limit on a street might be 30MPH, you as a learner driver need to know if it is safe to drive at that limit considering the prevailing road conditions. Is it a busy high street with people walking about, cars parked on the left and right, buses stopping and moving off, all these factors will affect the speed that you drive at, so you might need to drive at a slower speed than the posted limit.

Making progress on the driving test



The DSA driving examiner also wants to see you making progress on the test, so your speed must be close to the limit if it is safe to do so, as you don't want people trying to overtake you when it is not safe.
This is one of the reasons why the examiner will fail you for driving too slow on the driving test even if it is a multi-lane National Speed Limit (NSL) dual carriageway and you are doing 50MPH.

More reading
Can you guarantee I will pass driving test?
Listen to DSA instructor advice.
10 reasons people fail the driving test in the UK.
Stalling the car during the DSA practical car assessment.

DSA Driving Test Maneuvers Instructor Advice

On the 4th of October 2010 the driving standards agency (DSA) responsible for conducting the driving test in the UK, made an important change to the practical test by introducing a 10 minute independent driving element to the test, and reduced the number of maneuvers required to just one, so you now have a lower chance of failing the driving test doing a manuever.

Here in the UK, you will be required to do at least 2  1 maneuver during your driving test as part of the practical car assessment. Turn in the road (formerly called 3 point turn), bay parking (reversing into a limited opening), parallel/reverse parking and reversing around the corner to the left are the driving skills that will need to covered, as you don't know which of these the DSA examiner will require you to perform in order to pass the driving test.



Many learner drivers fail to pass the current UK driving test on manuovers due to simple driver errors that could easily be avoided, and would only cost a little extra effort on the candidate's part.

Key driving maneuver skills


The video above shows you how to do the parallel parking exercise to the desired DSA standard. It was shot in a Toyota Yaris, but the reference points should work in other vehicles.

The key driving skills that the DSA examiner is looking for while performing manoeuvres on the driving test are ability to carry out the set exercise correctly in a safe manner and under control. This is one of the reasons why a lot of foreign licence holders have problems passing the driving test, they can do the maneuver okay, but according to the standards required, it was not safe or the examiner deemed the driver not to be in complete control of the car all the way through the exercise.

So what does the potential full British licence holder have to do to get that coveted pass cerificate and succeed while carrying out maneuvers on the practical car assessment?

Know what is the required standard for each set exercise, in particular that you must look through the rear windscreen when reversing, and not use the interior mirror to look behind (it doesn't matter if you hold a foreign international licence and have used this method for 10, 15 years without an accident), as this is not safe according to the DSA whether you agree with them or not.

Get a free Giffgaff Sim

Keep the car slow while performing any maneuvers, making sure you start with the POM routine system, and continue to take effective observations throughout the maneuver giving way to other road users (including pedestrians) where necessary. If in doubt as to whether it is safe to proceed or not, stop and secure the car using the handbrake, have a good look all around and then continue, always using POM. You should not rush to complete the exercise, safety should be paramount, while avoiding undue hesistation. This is where having the advice of a professional instructor can help with passing the driving test, as they have the experience and knowledge to be able to guide you through the various scenarios that you might encounter on each maneuver.

Left reverse round the corner




Reversing round the corner to the left (or right if you do the test in a van without a rear windscreen) is in my opinion the hardest driving test maneuver that a learner driver can be asked to perform by the DSA examiner, especially on a busy road, and this is why it is important that you have had enough practise of carrying out this driving test maneuver on various roads with different degrees of bends on the corners and also on busy roads as well as quiet ones.

Parking Brake and Maneuvers


It is not compulsary to used the parking brake (handbrake) if you stop while performing a maneuver, but the extra effort and time required to do this could potentiallly prevent you from committing a serious driver error if the car rolled out of control and hit the kerb, goes forward when you are trying to move off up a slight hill.

official guide to passing uk driving test
If you are struggling with the maneuvers, then you might want to get the DSA official guide to passing the driving test, which contains videos clips from an actual official driving test being conducted by an examiner and a user guide with step by step explanations to show you how everything should be done to the required dsa standard.

In summary, while you might think that maneuvers can be difficult, there is no reason why you can not pass the driving test no matter what set exercise you get, as you can practice all of them until you can perfectly carry them out.

Are You Ready For The Driving Test

Did you know that the number one reason many candidates do not pass the UK driving test is JUNCTIONS? Are you ready for the DSA examiner?



Common Driving Test Mistakes
I am going to list below some of the most common mistakes that candidates make on the UK driving test and gets them a serious or major dsa fault.

1. Observations: You need to make sure that you take effective observations before you commence and during your driving test manuevers. Safety should be your main concern, and if for any reason you are not sure, stop check and then continue. Pedestrians can come from anywhere, and they can esily be missed, so be slow and observant.

2. Junctions: This is the number one cause of failure on the UK car driving test, and covers roundabouts, T-junctions and being able to emerge safely, speed on approach to a junction. Undue hesitation and knowing when it is safe to proceed without being a danger to other road users. The video below should be of help in this area.



3. Road signs and markings: Most candidates concentrate mainly on speed limits, but there is more important information or instructions that signs or markings might be giving you as a driver. If you cross a solid white line for example, it could be a failure, lanes closures on dual carriaways, temporary lights or road works are all things that you need to be aware of.



4. In-Correct use of signals: On the driving test, the DSA examiner expects you to be able to correctly use signals and indicators to inform other road users of your intentions. You need to signal in good time, if necessary, and cancel the signal after turning, exiting a roundabout or changing lanes on a dual carriageway.

Don't forget the highway code is the standard expected, so master it as it could save you from make a simple error that would result in failure, revise it when not taking practical lessons!

Stalling on the driving test

It is not a big deal if you stall the car on the driving test, but you need to recover the car the correct way. There is no point in panicing, you've already got a driver error for the mistake, and you don't want to accumulate more or get a serious for doing something dangerous if you want to pass the test, so follow the tip given below.

The first thing you should do if your car stalls, is to secure the car from rolling out of control, by applying the handbrake (also known as parking brake). You can now put the car in neutral if necessary (if you stalled because you were trying to move off in 2nd or 3rd gear), otherwise you can press the clutch down and restart the engine if you were in reverse or first gear.

You can now get the car prepared (make sure you have the biting point if you are doing a hill start), do your observations (very important, as cars, motorbikes or cyclists might be trying to get round you), and then move off when it is safe. I know cars around you might be harrassing you, but you've already made the mistake, and you need to keep your cool to avoid falling your test due to the aggression of these other road users (this is why you need to practice this during your driving lessons).



There is no reason why you shouldn't pass your driving test even if you stall your car, I did.

If you stall the car a lot during driving lessons, then you need to find out why, is it because you've just changed to a petrol car which can be very different to diesel, or the vehicle has just been changed by the instructor and the clutch is different, what ever the case is, go somewhere quiet and practise until you get it right.

This will boost your confidence when you get to more busy traffic conditions, and especially on the DSA driving test.



Extra test advice
Passing the test guaranteed by some organisations.

Pass the Driving Test

If you want to pass the UK car driving test, then you must follow the rules of the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) who sets the practical car assessment.

Many learner drivers do not give the UK pratical car driving test the credit it is due, as it is one of the toughest examinations in the world that a civilian takes in order to get a full driving licence, and the figures speaks for themselves. Of over 3 Millions tests taken in a year, only 40% of candidates pass!

Driver Requirements
In order to take the UK practical car skills assessment, the candidate must be over the age of 17, possess a current provisional driving licence, have passed the DSA's driving theory test and be normally resident in the UK, in addition to this you will have to provide the car (majority of learner drivers use their driving instructor's dual controlled vehicle) to be used which must be roadworthy to the DVLA standard and adequately insured (this rules out using a hire car from Hertz, Europacar, ZipCar, etc). Before the start of your test, the DSA examiner will ask you to sign a declaration to this effect.
You must arrive on time for your appointment, if you are more than 5 minutes late, your driving test will not go ahead, you will lose your fee and have to wait 10 days before you can book another practical car test.

DSA UK Driving Test
The DSA practical car driving test lasts about 40 minutes and consists of 2 parts, the eye sight assessment and then the actual practical driving skills test.
Before you are allowed anywhere near your private or driving school car, the DSA examiner will request you read a car number plate from a distance of about 20 metres or 20.5 metres depending on the type of number plate. You will be given up to 3 chances to read the numbers, the 3rd will involve the examiner measuring the exact distance using a tape, and if you still fail to correctly identify the numbers on the DVLA specification registration plate (you can write them down if you have a problem speaking english) then you will not be allowed to do the practical driving aspect, and will be deemed to have failed.

Show Me Tell Me
The test will begin with 2 vehicle safety questions normaly refered to as Show me and Tell me, this could involve you having to open the car bonnet and identifying the engine coolant and how to check it is at the required level for example or knowing how to diagnose if the ABS system is working correctly.
It is important to know that you can't currently fail the driving test if you incorrectly answer both show and tell questions, though you will be given a driver error.

40 minutes with the DSA examiner




Once you've been asked to get into the car and make yourself comfortable, the driving examiner will walk round the car presented for the test to make sure that it is roadworthy. Things that are being looked for are that the tyres are legal, non of the lights or lamps are broken, and the car is displaying regulation 'L' plates. This is one of the reasons why it is important that you read the driving test appointment letter sent to you in the post. I have seen many learner drivers (mostly those using private cars) denied the opportunity of going out because the DSA examiner found a defect in the car which could not be fixed within 5 minutes of it being pointed out. If this happens then you will lose your booking fee and go home empty handed without a pass certificate.

If everything is okay, the examiner will get into the driving test car, complete his/her paperwork, then give you a brief synopsis of what will happen during the next 35 - 40 minutes, you will expected to drive on a variety of roads of different speed limits under various traffic load conditions, carry out at least 2 driving skills manoeuvres and might also be expected to do an emergency stop.
Important Instruction! The examiner will now say 'I would like you to follow the road ahead unless road signs indicate otherwise, If I need you to turn, I will let you know in good time'. You must take note of this, as if you get to a junction and are not giving an instruction, then you need to follow the road ahead or obey the road signs (compulsory left or right turn).

If you are able to complete the 40 minutes of the assessment, driving at the standard required by the DSA, without committing a serious or dangerous error and do not accumulate more than 15 ordinary faults, then you will pass the driving test, otherwise at the end you will hear those dreaded words 'that's the end of the test, I'm sorry to say you haven't passed, would you like me to explain why?'

I hope over the coming days to give you various driving test tips, hints and information that will help you to achieve your goal, hope that you will be able to learn from other learner driver's mistakes and the experience that I have accumualated over the years and finally pass the driving test.
Your comments are welcome, and I will try to answer all queries, but please note that I might be constrained by time and other commitments.

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Best time to book Test

Are you willing to pay for a guaranteed pass on your next driving test? Click here for more details.

What is the best time to book the driving test is a very common question that I get asked all the time, so let's have a look at it, and see when is the best time that you have a greater chance of passing the driving test, first watch the video below:



It is important that you do not book the DSA practical car driving test until you have reached the required standard, and have fully covered all topics on the syllabus. An easy way of know this is using the DSA's driver record, you should be at a level 5 on most of the driver skills and definately a consistent 4 on all of them.
There should be nothing on the driving test that you should be hoping you don't get. Multi-Lane roundabouts, 70MPH dual carriageways, left reverse round the corner or emergency stop, you should be able to do them to the required standard, you don't have to like them, just be able to do them.

If there is anything you are having problems with, then practice or get your driving instructor/supervising driver to explain it to you, as this will greatly increase your confidence on the practical assessment, and reduce the effects of driving test nerves.

Time of the day for driving test


Most people will say don't book your driving test during rush hour, as you are more likely to fail due to the busier traffic conditions and the fact that people in a hurry can either cause you t make a serious driver error or do something which you might not be able to safely deal with.
If you book your driving test between 08:00, 09:00 or 9:30 then yes the roads would generally be busier, other road users would be less tolerant of learner drivers and you the test candidate will need to be more confident with your driving skills and decision making especially when emerging to turn right at a junction or at a roundabout, does this mean you have a lesser chance of passing the driving test? Not if you are fuly prepared, and have enough on the road experience via professional driving lessons of these conditions. Someone has to take their driving tests during rush hour!



Off Peak driving tests
Most people will try and book their driving test during a time when they think the roads will be quiet, hoping that traffic will be light and thus increase their chances of getting that full driving licence, but this not necessarily true as if you have problems dealing with the Swindon magic roundabout or Apex corner, then the time of the day will not make much difference as your confidence will go down immediately you get to the junction.
You will also have to be able to make quick progress off peak as road conditions will mean driving closer to speed limits especially on dual carriage which you are more likely to get if your test is not during rush hour.

So if you want to know the best time to book your driving test in order to pass, then you've got the answer.

Don't forget the highway code is the standard expected, so master it as it could save you from make a simple error that would result in failure, revise it when not taking practical lessons!




More Reading
Top 10 driving test failure faults
Guaranteed driving test pass schemes.
Failed the driving test?
DSA Test Maneuvers.
Booking driving test, ADI number not required.

DSA driving test examiner marking

You must concentrate on what you are doing during the practical car assessment if you want to pass the driving test.

Don't be bothered everytime the DSA examiner writes on his/her clipboard, even if you've made a mistake. It is more important that you deal with what is happening on the road, and how you are going to safely negotiate the situation, than wondering if that was a serious fault that the examiner has marked on the DL25 driving test report.

Sometimes the examiner might not be marking a fault, it might be a tick in a box to indicate which set exercise you just performed, a note of how many times you've been pulled over on the left (they usually do this 3 or 4 times and will put a mark on the sheet to keep tally).

Of course they will also write on the clipboard if you make a mistake, but sometimes it might not be immediately after as there might be other hazards which need to be dealt with so they would be watching to make sure they don't miss your reaction, and will make notes after the whole situation has passed, so don't think you got away for not signalling at the last junction just because the examiner didn't write on the test report immediately after.



Whatever the case, keep your mind on performing the driving skills to the best of your ability and at the DSA standard so you have a better chance of passing the driving test. You might be surprised that what you thought was a serious mistake was only a driver error and that you had succeeded!

Read also Top ten mistakes to avoid on driving test.

Driving test guarantee