Be completely prepared for the practical test with FINELINES thorough guide to getting
ready for the big day.
The test day:
So judgement day is here, the day which all of those lessons have been building
up to, the day where someone in a high visibility vest will judge whether you can
drive or not in a 40 minute window. It all comes down to this, so what can you
do to best prepare for your practical driving test?
Well, you can start by RELAXING! Never put the test day on a pedestal as it will more than
likely pile the pressure on you and make you nervous for no reason. If you are lucky
enough to be learning with Fineline Driving Academy, you will only take the test
when we feel you are capable of passing, so rest assured, there is a reason you
are taking your test and therefore you should have the self belief that you can
pass. Just treat it like a 40 minute driving lesson with a substitute driving instructor
(albeit, a more quieter and boring substitute). It’s simple, prove to the examiner
that you can drive safely by yourself and you will pass, below, we have detailed
various tips to take into account on the test day, these are pointers which we at Fineline
Driving Academy have built up after having taken over 1800 combined driving tests
between all of our instructors over the years and we feel we should let you in on
• Don’t take a 2 hour lesson on test day, take 1.5 or better yet 1 hour
We at Fineline Driving Academy feel that a 2 hour lesson before your test will drain
you to a point that will leave you in an exhausted state for your test. Dont get
us wrong, many people have passed with flying colours after taking a 2 hour lesson
followed by a test, but we have noticed a larger proportion of people failing if
the 2 hour lesson option is taken. We at Fineline Driving Academy prefer to give
our learners an hour long lesson before the test, (which will normally be a mock
test), and then a 20 minute break before the test starts to settle your nerves,
(this 20 minute break is free and will not cost you a penny). If our learners would
like a longer lesson, we promote a 90 minute lesson before the test and also 2 hours
at our learners requests although we try to avoid these. This is one of the reasons
why our first time pass rate is so high!
• The examiners don’t have a daily quota of passes/fails, this is simply not true
A popular rumour which we are sure you’ve heard before, it has no truth about it
whatsoever. If you drive safely for the duration of the test and prove to the examiner
that you can drive independently to a competent standard then you will pass, simple
as that! Don’t believe the rumours that an examiner can only pass a certain number
of candidates a day! Driving test examiners are required to stay within certain
margins to ensure their personal pass rates do not range too far from their test
centres average, however if you can prove you are a competent driver, the rest will
take care of itself.
• You can’t make a second first impression, so dress smartly and be polite
It might seem a no brainer but you would be surprised at some of the things our
instructors have seen on test day! Dress for the occasion, when your name is called
out by the examiner taking your test, make sure you stand up and greet your examiner,
after all you will be spending the next 40 minutes with this individual. First impressions
count for a lot, obviously the examiner will not have a clue about your driving
ability by just looking at you or talking to you, but starting off on a good vibe
will set the tone for the remainder of the exam. Treat the examiner in the same
way you would like to be treated. Remember, this is the person who will decide whether
you can have a license or not so all the more reason not to mess it up!
• Let your instructor come with you if you feel this will ease your nerves
Your examiner will ask you two questions at the beginning of the test, whether you
would like your instructor to come with you on your test or whether you would like
him/her to be present at the debrief. Discuss whether you would like your instructor
to join you prior to the test day, this decision is entirely YOURS and you should
let your instructor join you if you think it will help calm your nerves. Remember,
they cannot intervene in any way and if your instructor does try to communicate
with you during the test, he/she will be warned or in the worse cases the test could
be cancelled on the spot. Having your instructor present at the debrief is also
your entirely your decision, this just means that at the end of the test when your
examiner tells you if you passed or not, your instructor can listen to the decision
and any feedback for future reference.
• Get plenty of sleep, have a complete meal and take water with you on test day,
but don’t drink so much that you have to use the loo constantly.
It is a fact that drinking water improves your level of concentration, so don’t
down a can of fizzy pop before your test, take a few sips of some trusted water
to keep you hydrated and in top form. Ensure you sleep well on the day before the
test so you don’t feel tired or restless and don’t forget to go to the loo before
the test. Some test centres do not have toilet facilities however your instructor
should be aware of this and direct you elsewhere before the test if you need to
use a restroom.
• Make sure you know your show me/tell me inside out, including the ‘under the bonnet’
Although you will not fail if you incorrectly answer your show me tell me questions,
it will not be a good start to the test. If you are asked a question, for example,
‘How do you check your brakes are working correctly before a long journey’, and
you answer with ‘I don’t know’, then the examiner may get the impression that you
aren’t to bothered about the driving test. Ensure you are aware of the four show
me/tell me questions that involve you opening the bonnet.
• If you make a mistake during your test, carry on and don’t let it affect you.
A serious/dangerous fault will be decided by the examiner and not you, so if you
feel you have made a substantial mistake you should carry on driving in your normal
manner and await your result. There is a good chance that the examiner has not classed
your mistake as a serious/dangerous fault but instead, they have marked it as a
minor fault. For example, if you go the wrong way during your independent driving
you should let the examiner know and they will direct you on how to get back on
route, this is not a fail worthy error. If you hit the kerb during a manoeuvre you
should stop, drive slightly forward and correct yourself or even start again, it
may be worth telling the examiner what you are doing. We have had previous successful
learners who have hit the kerb during a manoeuvre but they corrected the error and
ended up passing the test!
• Getting test days nerves is normal, so don’t let them get the better of you.
Being nervous on the day of your driving test is absolutely normal and you shouldn’t
let your nerves get in the way of your confidence. Nervousness is a reflex of the
human body, in fact it would be unusual if you wasn’t nervous just before your test.
Let’s face it, those old fashioned, dreary test centre waiting rooms don’t really
help as you and a bunch of other fellow test candidates sit around in silence waiting
for your examiner. After the first few minutes of the test, your nerves will disappear
and it will feel like just another driving lesson. Your driving test examiner will
be fully aware of your nerves and will usually try their best to ease them at the
start of the test, so just drive to the highest standard you can and you’ll be fine!