Unfortunately a lot of driving test candidates fail the driving test on the first attempt and some candidate’s driving test several times before they eventually pass.

Over the 20 years I have been teaching I have heard many excuses as to the reason for their failures, the main one being it was the examiners fault! But guess what? It was probably yours.

Although there is no 100% Guarantee that you will pass your driving first time, there are certain steps you can take to give yourself a much better chance of first time success.

Why do so many candidates fail?

The truth is very simple, candidates are not fully prepared. It’s totally understandable why candidates are so impatient to get there license as quickly as possible, and get their independence and freedom on the road. However what tends to happen is candidates start their driving lessons and get the basic driving skills under their belt, practice the manoeuvres required for the test till they can sort of do them and then go ahead and book the test. Although a few do get lucky and pass, most will unfortunately fail.

Do not underestimate the UK driving test it’s not easy. The level of difficulty for the driving test is designed in such a way to make sure that if you do pass, the driving examiner can be reasonably confident that you will be safe to drive on the roads without endangering yourself or anyone else on the road.

How to get ready for the test

Find yourself a good driving Instructor

You are going to spend your hard earned money on your driving lessons so it’s essential to take a bit of time over choosing the right driving instructor or driving school, The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is responsible for all approved driving instructors. Only DVSA Approved Driving Instructors also known as (ADIs) or DVSA licensed driving instructors under training are allowed to charge you for giving driving instruction.

First of all Check your driving instructors badge A green octagonal badge shows you that the instructor is fully qualified and a fully qualified DVSA ADI. A pink triangular badge shows you that the driving instructor is not yet fully qualified, but is taking practical training to become an instructor also known as a (PDI ) Provisional Driving Instructor PDIs are still allowed to teach you and charge you for giving driving instruction. Fot your safety and peace of mind all DVSA ADIs and PDIs are also checked by the DVSA to see if they have a criminal record with the CRB.

Driving schools or independent

it’s always best to phone around and compare at least a couple of driving instructors (or driving schools) before you make a final decision. Some driving Instructors are independent and work by themselves; others work as franchised instructors for bigger driving schools. Whatever driving instructor or driving school you decide to take your lessons with, make sure you like and feel comfortable with them. Another option is to ask your friends or family to recommend a driving instructor or driving school that they used.

What should you expect from good driving instructor?

Like in any profession some driving instructors will be better than others. A Good driving instructor should always make the most of your lesson time. Your driving lessons should be fully structured and have a start, middle and end. A recap of your previous lesson to start then the subject and practice for your lesson and to end with a debrief on the lesson and subject for next. During any driving lesson you should have your instructor’s full-attention throughout the whole lesson, your instructor shouldn’t shout at you or make you feel uncomfortable in any way, and even if things do go wrong your instructor should remain calm at all times. There should be no stopping off anywhere to pick up or drop off anything or to fill the car up with fuel or make any personal or business calls.

Remember, you are the one paying to learn to drive, if you feel unhappy with any of your driving lessons or your driving instructor, discuss it with your instructor and try to resolve any issues. If nothing changes then contact the driving school, and request a different instructor, if nothing changes you can always transfer to another driving school.

Does your driving instructor conduct lessons in your local test area? Knowing the Roads and areas you may get on your driving test will give you a much better chance of passing your test.

What times does your driving instructor work? Can your instructor fit in with your available days/times? Being consistent with your lessons and having an instructor that can fit you in on a regular day/time will greatly improve your chances.

What car does your instructor use and is it fitted with dual controls?  You will probably find it easier to learn to drive in a smaller car. However if you are short or tall, then you will need to find out if the car is appropriate for your particular height or size.

How long has your chosen driving instructor been teaching people to drive? Generally the more experience the better!

Does the driving instructor piggyback (pick-up other pupils using your lesson) this will use your paid lesson time and distract the instructor’s attention away from your lesson.

Do you know any friends or family that has used the driving school or driving instructor? If so what did they think of the instructor and the driving lessons?

You’re driving lesson costs 

How much does the driving school / instructor charge (remember cheaper driving lessons are not always the best value) Do you get a full-hour of tuition?

How long will your driving lessons last? Some driving instructors will do 1 hour lessons some will do 2 hour lessons. 2 hour lessons are generally more cost effective and more productive.

Does the driving school or instructor offer a lesson discount for block bookings?

Listen to your driving instructor as to when you are ready for your driving test. It doesn’t mean you’re ready just because you have passed your theory test, your parents or friends say you are, or just because you have had the exact amount of driving lessons as your best friend has or even just because you think you are. In the long run you will save money by not having wasted tests, the cost of the tuition vehicle and the lessons before and any extra lessons leading up to your driving test. If possible try to get as much private practise as possible alongside your driving tuition. “Practise Practise Practise” there’s nothing better than hours behind the wheel this allows you to come across as many different traffic situations as possible allowing you to expand your planning and awareness skills.

Providing you follow the above guidelines the chances of you passing your driving test first time are very high.

Tim Hunt

Driving School Director

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