Taking the driving test
To pass the driving test you must be able to drive safely in different road and traffic conditions, and show that you know The Highway Code by the way you drive.
What to take to your driving test
On average, more than 1,100 driving tests get cancelled every month because people:
- forget to take the right documents with them
- take a car that does not meet the rules
- arrive late for their appointment
- go to the wrong driving test centre
Don’t be one of them.
You must take your driving licence with you when you go for your driving test. Your test will be cancelled if you go without it.
What happens during the driving test
There are 5 parts to the driving test:
- an eyesight check
- ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
- general driving ability
- reversing your vehicle
- independent driving
The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars.
You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions during your car driving test.
The examiner will ask you one:
- ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
- ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving
You’ll get one driving fault (sometimes called a ‘minor’) if you get one or both questions wrong.
Driving test faults and pass mark
At the end of your driving test, your examiner will:
- tell whether you whether or not you passed
- explain any serious or dangerous faults you made
Find out about the different types of faults that your driving examiner might mark, and what happens next if you pass or are unsuccessful.
Find out about the top 10 faults that people make in the driving test, and read different examples of each type of fault. Talk to your driving instructor about any of these that you want more help with.
How to get more feedback: take your instructor with you
When you get your test result:
- your driving examiner will have a short amount of time to explain any mistakes you made – they’ll only be able to explain the most important ones
- your test result email will tell you how many faults you made and what they were about – but it will not give details such as where you were when you made them
- you might find it hard to take in and the remember the feedback the examiner gives because you’re either excited to have passed or disappointment to have failed
Because of this, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) encourages you to ask your driving instructor to sit in the back of the car during your driving test.
Benefits of your instructor sitting in
If you take your driving instructor with you, they’ll be able to:
- see how you do during the test (but they cannot give you any help)
- make notes during the test, such as where you were when you made a mistake
- help you remember the feedback the driving examiner gives you
- help you improve your skills – whether you pass or fail
Some people also find they’re calmer when they have someone they know with them.
Talk to your driving instructor before your test and let them know you’d like them to sit in.
Listening to the feedback
Your driving instructor can also listen to the feedback your driving examiner gives you at the end of your test if you want them to. They can still do this even if they did not sit in the car during the test.
51 out of every 100 driving tests were failed in Great Britain during August 2023
Driving test myths
Over the years, lots of myths about the driving test have developed. This section explains some of the most common ones and what the truth actually is.
Myth 1: Driving examiners have pass quotas
Myth 2: You automatically fail if you stall
Myth 3: You automatically fail if you cross your hands when turning the steering wheel
Myth 4: It’s easier to pass your driving test at certain times of day
Myth 5:You need to exaggerate moving your head when you check your mirrors
Check you’re ready to pass
You’ll usually be ready to pass when:
1. You do not need prompts from your driving instructor.
2. You do not make serious or dangerous mistakes when you’re driving.
3. You can pass mock driving tests.
4. You have practised ways of managing your nerves.
5. Your driving instructor agrees you’re ready.
Not feeling quite ready?
You can move your driving test back if you’re not feeling quite ready yet.
It’s free to change your appointment time, as long as you do it at least 3 full working days (Mondays to Saturdays) before your test.