Tips to Pass Your Driving Test First Time

By Issy Goode - 19:51

If I'm honest, there's no possible way anyone could say 'do this, this and this and you will pass your driving test'. It's a test that is hugely dependent on the day. It's nothing like an exam or an interview, there's no set method you can use. On the day of a driving test, there's so many variables. The weather, the traffic, road works, cyclists, tractors, animals and pedestrians. Honestly, don't doubt that absolutely anything could happen. 

Nonetheless, there are plenty of tips that I can pass on from my experience, and articles I've read on the net that helped me, to help you on your way to that pass. Once again, there's no guarantee that by following these tips, or any others you read, you'll pass with flying colours, or pass at all. I can't make any promises but do let me know if they help!

Take advice from your instructor
Obviously, the person who is going to be able to judge your driving best is your instructor. Believe them when they say you could use a few more extra hours and never forget to ask them at the end of the lesson to give you some feedback. Along each drive they're obviously going to be giving you hints and advice on what to do and what not to do, and it may sink in whilst you're going through the motions but once the lesson is up, it may go straight out the window. Simply ask at the end of the lesson if there's anything they think you need extra work on and then, ask to work on that a little more. Be open with your instructor too, if you feel ready to book a test or already have, ask them what they think about it.

Trust yourself
I think it's important to trust your instructor because they know the method that a test follows and you won't, it's also important to trust your own abilities and have faith in them too. If you're not confident in your ability to drive, but have the basics down, your confidence, or lack of, may eventually be reflected in your your driving, when really you want to be improving. But confidence does take time, so give yourself that time. Doubt may also have you making mistakes when in fact, you probably did it right the first time. 

Don't be afraid to take more lessons 
I think both the cost and the average hours people spend driving before taking a test add a little extra pressure. Obviously, concerning money it's very much dependent on your financial situation, so if you're struggling to afford more lessons and want to rush in and take a test to save, it's probably not the best idea unless you're genuinely ready. In this case, ask family members if they wouldn't buying you driving lessons for Christmas or your birthday or any holiday they fancy celebrating with you.

There's also the option of asking your dear old mum or dad to insure you on their car and be your instructor for free. I'm sure they'll love it. 

And importantly, don't be worried about the amount of hours other people have done. When you first start driving many people are likely to reflect on the time it took them saying things like 'I was dealing with roundabouts in my first two hours' or 'it only took me 25 hours, why's it taking you so long?'. My opinion? Stuff 'em. Everyone's different. There are set things you have to do to pass but people need amount of time to practice for it. In some way, you can see some similarities with an exam. Everyone's given the same time to revise for an exam and to take it. Whilst the time we get to take the test is always the same, the time you have to revise/practice for it are down to how much time, out of what you're given, you feel you need to set aside. 

In terms of actually taking the test it's not so much like an exam. Yes, there are set things you need to accomplish but there's not much chance a horse or a cyclist will prevent you from passing your degree as they will your driving test. 

Consider keeping it to yourself
It's more of a tip coming from personal experience, but I know only telling a handful of people makes me feel better about taking any test. It's what works best for you, but sometimes only mentioning that you have your test approaching to one or two people takes off a bit of pressure. When I took my theory test for the first time I told anyone and everyone and I failed. Now the fact I told people didn't make me fail, my lack of revision and preparation did. However, telling people added extra pressure. The more people who knew I was taking the test, the more people I had to tell I failed the test. On my second theory, I only told my boyfriend. I passed. On my test, I only told my boyfriend. I passed first time. 

The fact I didn't have to worry about telling people if I failed and also the fact that no one else in the country, aside from my boyfriend, was sat there wondering how I was getting on took away a huge amount of pressure. 

If you find the more people you tell, the more support you have, then tell who you feel you want to. There's no set rule, like I said, it's what works for you. 

Make the most of your last lesson 
On the day of your driving test, you'll get a lesson beforehand with your instructor. It's up to you how long you want this to be, but apparently most just recommend the hour. If it's any longer you may spend too many hours driving before even taking your test, which in some cases may feel like what you need, but when it comes to driving around before the test you just begin to feel a build up of pressure and the longer you drive around before that, the more stressed you may begin to feel. But once again, it's personal to what makes you feel better.

Pick up on the things you want a last minute brush up on and cover these over the days before your test and once more on the day. They'll be fresh in your mind and if you performed them well multiple times in the run-up, fingers crossed you can do it again. 

Work hard on not panicking
It's so much easier said than done. Personally on the day of my test I felt a little numb. I made foolish mistakes but not enough to fail me or present danger to any other road users. Now, my test is actually a blur. Some people say they remember every detail, others say it feels like they blacked out. In my experience, it's more like patchy memories in my mind as though it happened 15 years ago as opposed to 4 months ago. 

Focus on the driving and not on the person sitting beside you, and don't let them get you flustered. I don't think they try to make you flustered, I think it's just the air they often have about them. My examiner reminded me of my primary school headteacher and despite the fact that many things she did should have ruffled my feathers and my focus, I acted as though she was barely there and focused on her voice, the road and the surrounding area. I treated her more like a sat nav than a human being.

Basically, just try to keep your cool. 

If you don't pass first time, don't be disheartened...

Take a fail as a lesson
Many instructors will say that those who fail once and pass on the second time, or even fail more than once, will eventually perform the best. The main thing that's terrifying about going into your first driving test is the unknown. Your instructor, friends and family can tell you how it's going to go down, but it's never going to be like experiecing the real thing. Learn from your mistakes if you don't pass first time and remember it's not the be-all and end-all, there's still time.

Other basic things you need to remember:
  • Make sure you can read a number plate from approx. 20m away
  • Remember to bring glasses if you only wear them for driving
  • Remember your provisional license and any other bits and bobs you're asked to bring
  • Ask your instructor to cover the show me, tell me question one more time - or several if ya feeling rusty
  • Consider your speed - both going too fast and too slow will earn you points you don't want!
  • Stay in your lane 
  • Exaggerate your mirror checks - using your eyes is never enough, they need to see you moving your head
  • Know how to work everything else in the car - it may not be something you necessarily cover much but knowing how to use windscreen wipers and lights are important for any of those variable situations! 
And finally, remember that practice makes perfect...or get's you less than 15 minors and no majors which is pretty much perfect. 

If there's anything else you want a little advice on, drop me a comment below or tweet me - @missisgoode.

If you've already taken your test, what would be your best tip?

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  1. Thanks for the tips. In my case, my driving school instructor was absolutely vital in my passing the driving test. I think choosing the right driving school is important - which can prepare you well for the test and actually set everything up for a smooth and nerveless experience.

    1. No problem - both are super important! If you're uncomfortable with your driving instructing, it really can affect your driving!


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