Keep track of your progress when learning to drive

Each of the 27 driving skills has 5 levels of progress, so it’s important to keep track of your progress as you learn to drive.

You’ll be ready to take your driving test when you’re consistently achieving level 5 (reflection) for each of the 27 skills.

The 5 levels explained

The 5 levels of progress are:

  1. Introduced.
  2. Helped.
  3. Prompted.
  4. Independent.
  5. Reflection.

Level 1: Introduced

The subject is introduced, and you’re able to follow the instructions you’re given.

Level 2: Helped

You’re improving with the skill, but still need a bit of help.

Level 3: Prompted

Sometimes you need prompting with the skill, especially if it’s a new or unusual situation.

Level 4: Independent

You’re dealing with the skill consistently, confidently and independently.

Level 5: Reflection

When you talk to your instructor, you show that you understand how things would have been different if you had done something differently. You can adapt to situations and see why perfecting the skill makes you safer and more fuel-efficient.

How long does it take to learn the skills?

There’s no minimum number of lessons you must have or hours you must practise driving to pass through the 5 levels of progress.

How many lessons you need will depend on how quickly you learn. 

Research shows that, on average, it takes people 45 hours of driving lessons with a driving instructor plus 22 hours of private practice to pass their test. But those who manage 100 hours of driving lessons plus practice are much safer on the road after their test.

45 hours of driving lessons with a driving instructor on average to pass

22 hours of extra private practice without your instructor on average to pass

Keep track of your progress

A driving instructor discusses a learner driver's progress.

Driving lessons

Use the driver’s record to help you and your driving instructor to keep track of your progress while you’re learning to drive. You and your instructor will be able to see at a glance which topics you need to improve.

There are 2 versions of the form that you can use:

  • lesson-by-lesson progress
  • progress summary

Use the version that works best for you and your instructor.

Lesson-by-lesson progress form

The lesson-by-lesson progress version of the form includes spaces to record:

  • the date of each individual lesson
  • what level you achieved on each of the 27 skills during that lesson

Progress summary form

The progress summary version of the form shows the 5 progress levels against each of the 27 skills.

Your instructor can add the date or tick when you consistently show that level of progress.

Remember – you might move both up and down the levels of progress during your lessons until you’ve mastered the skill.

Private practice

You can also keep a record of any practice you have without your driving instructor.

This can include any worries you have about your driving. You can then discuss these with your instructor.

Other ways to keep track of your progress

There are different ways of tracking your progress. Your driving instructor might use a different form or app with different levels. That’s fine, as long as you have progressed and can carry out the behaviours of level 5.

Check you’re ready to pass

You’ll usually be ready to take your driving test when:

1. You do not need prompts from your driving instructor.
You need to be dealing with every part of driving consistently, confidently and independently – without any prompting from your driving instructor. You’ll be getting ready for your test when you’re able to adapt to situations and see why perfecting your skills makes you safer and more fuel-efficient.
2. You do not make serious or dangerous mistakes when you’re driving.
You need to be a good and safe driver to pass the driving test. If you’re making serious or dangerous mistakes during your driving lessons and brushing them off as ‘silly mistakes’, you’re not ready to pass your driving test and drive on your own.
3. You can pass mock driving tests.
Taking and passing mock driving tests with your driving instructor will help you understand if you’ve reached the standard that’s needed to pass.
4. You have practised ways of managing your nerves.
It’s really important to be able to manage your nerves to be a safe driver. Practise ways of managing your nerves to help you stay calm and focused when you take your test. This will help you in the vital months after you’ve passed your test, too.
5. Your driving instructor agrees you’re ready.
If your driving instructor says you’re not ready to take your driving test, listen to them. Driving instructors are specially trained road safety experts. They’ve got lots of driving experience – and they know what it takes to pass the driving test. Remember, they want you to be a safe driver, keep your insurance costs low, and enjoy driving for years to come.

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.

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