The Practical Test

When You Arrive

You must take your provisional driving licence, and your theory test pass certificate. If you aren't able to show these to the examiner, your test won't go ahead, and you will lose the test fee.

Eyesight Test

Before you get in the car, the examiner will test your eyesight by asking you to read a car number plate from a distance of 20 metres. You may wear glasses or contact lenses. If you are in any doubt about your ability to pass this test, it's important that you seek advice from an optician. If you fail, your test won't continue, and you'll lose the test fee. Additionally, the DVLA will be informed, and your provisional licence will be revoked. When you reapply for your licence, you will have to take an eyesight test with the DVSA at a driving test centre.

Vehicle Safety Questions

The examiner will ask two questions known as the ‘show me/tell me’ questions. The ‘tell me’ question will be asked before you start driving, and the ‘show me’ question will be asked while you're out on the road. If you fail to answer one or both questions correctly, it will result in a driving fault.

On The Road

You should expect to be driving for around 40 minutes on a variety of roads, but not on the motorway. The examiner will give directions in plenty of time. You'll be asked to pull over and move off a number of times during your test. You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop - the examiner will brief you on this while you're stationary.

Reversing Exercises

You will be asked to carry out one of the following manoeuvres:

  • Parallel park at the side of the road.
  • Park in a parking bay. The examiner will tell you whether you have to drive in and reverse out, or reverse in and drive out forwards.
  • Stop on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for about 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic.
Independent Driving

You'll have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either traffic signs, or directions from a sat nav - the examiner will tell you which. The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up for you - you're not allowed to use your own.

You won't be marked down for taking a wrong turning. The examiner will help you get back on the intended route.

Driving Faults

Don't worry if you make a mistake on your test. Try to put it behind you and carry on.

There are 3 types of faults that the examiner can mark:

  • A driving fault - often called a ‘minor’.
  • A serious fault - something potentially dangerous.
  • A dangerous fault - something presenting immediate danger.

If you make a dangerous fault, you will fail, and the examiner will stop the test. If you make a serious fault, you will also fail; however, the examiner will allow the test to be completed. You'll pass if you make no more than 15 driving faults.

The Result

The examiner will ask if you'd like your instructor to be present when they tell you the result of the test. They will tell you what faults you made, if any, and will give you a copy of your test report. If you pass, they will give you a pass certficate, and will ask if you want your full licence to be sent automatically. If so, you'll need to give your provisional licence to the examiner - make sure you don't need it (for example, to take a driving test in another class of vehicle) in the next 4 weeks.

If you fail, you should discuss the reasons - and what additional training you should undertake - with your instructor. You won't be able to take another test for 10 days.