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A comprehensive guide on UK Practical Driving Test

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Getting a driving license is never easy in the UK as there is a complete process that you have to follow to get your license. Whether you want to get a license for a motorcycle or a car or a truck or lorry, the overall driving process will remain the same. The driving test in the UK is split into two parts. The first part of the test is the theory test and the second part is the practical test. The first part of the test is also divided into two parts i.e. the multiple-choice part and the hazard perception part.

The practical part of the test can only be attempted if the theory part of the test is clear. If the theory part is not clear than the practical test cannot be attempted. This is why it is important to study properly for the driving test as the process is not easy for anyone. Once you pass the theory test then the roadblock for your practical test is clear and you are all set to give the practical test. The practical test is of utmost importance as if tests your ability to drive in situations that you may face when you drive in real.
The instructor evaluates the driving in the practical test to check whether it is safe in different road conditions or not. The practical test also tests the knowledge of the code of conduct of highways which is important when you are getting a license. The practical test bookings can be done only when you have cleared your theory test and not before that. The fees for the practical test varies according to different days. On weekdays, the fees are £62 and for weekends, bank holidays, and evenings it is £75. However, only a limited test center will offer practice tests on weekends or evenings or bank holidays.

The Practical Driving Test

The one thing that a candidate has to do to clear the practical driving test is to practice. The more practice a candidate does, the more chances there are of passing. Another thing that is of utmost importance is to remember the Highway Code as it will be one thing that will be tested in the exam by the instructor. The overall practical driving test is for about 40 minutes but it can go for 70 minutes if the candidate is coming back from a driving ban. There are five main parts of the driving test that are listed below:

  • Eyesight check
  • Show me Tell me safety questions
  • General Driving ability
  • Reversing the vehicle
  • Independent Driving

Apart from this, the rating of the practical driving test will be done based on three major faults. The instructor will evaluate the dangerous faults that you make during the driving process. The dangerous faults include any danger caused to the public, property, or the examiner. This will be followed by serious faults that relate to some serious fault that a candidate can conduct. The last fault is the driving fault which is the fault that a person can continuously repeat even if it is not dangerous. Hence keeping a check on this is important when

Eyesight Check
The first part of the practical test is the eyesight check of the candidate. This process is very similar to the eyesight test that an optician does. The test is conducted to see whether your eyesight is functioning properly so that you can drive on the road. In this test, a number plate needs to be read from a distance. The distance is 20 meters for new styled number plates and 20.5 meters for old-styled number plates. If the eyesight test is failed, then the practical test will end at that time. You need to clear it to go ahead with the practical test.
Show Me Tell Me Safety Questions
Once you have cleared the eyesight check, then you will move on to the next part of the practical test. The next part will consist of 2 vehicle safety questions that will be asked by the instructor. The tell me the question is where the candidate will explain how a safety task would be carried before the driving starts. The show me the question is where the candidate needs to show how the safety task would be done while driving. There are chances of getting some minor driving fault in these questions.

General Driving Ability
This is one area where the driving will be tested under various circumstances on the road in general traffic conditions. This does not include testing on motorways as you will be given directions by the instructor that needs to be followed. The instructor can ask to make stops at the road or pullover or pull away or any other thing to test your general driving ability.

Reversing the Vehicle
One of the most difficult things to do is to reverse a vehicle and that is why this test is extremely important. There are certain exercises that a candidate needs to do in this particular segment. The instructor can ask for parallel parking on the road or to park in a parking bay. This can be done by reversing in and driving out and vice versa. Another thing that the instructor can ask is to pull up on the road and then reverse and join the traffic again. This test is difficult for a lot of people to pass.
Independent Driving
Independent driving is one where you have to drive the vehicle for about 20 minutes using the traffic signs or directions from the nav. It will be decided by the examiner what you need to follow. The examiner will help you if you are unable to see signs due to any obstacle or help you get back on the route as well.

Once you are done with the test, the examiner will then give you the feedback and test result. If you clear the test then you will receive a certificate and a license to drive on the roads of the UK.

“Show Me Tell Me” questions you may get

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Show Me/Tell Me Aspect

At the beginning of your driving test, after you have been asked by the DSA examiner to read a numberplate and then arrive at your car (or your driving instructors car), you will be asked 2 of the DSA Show me/Tell me questions.

If you are taking your driving test in a driving school car, during your driving lessons you should ensure that you become familiar with where to find the required aspects that you may be asked to identify.

These questions are designed to check your knowledge of basic car safety and will include one ‘show me’ aspect, where you actually have to demonstrate how and what you would do to check/adjust something, and one ‘tell me’ aspect where you would simply have to explain how you would do something.

Similar examples of all the current (2010) ‘show me, tell me’ questions are listed below. At the bottom of the page there is a list of the specific DSA variations you may be asked (the examiners should only ask you the questions in these pairs).

Examples of the kind of ‘Show Me Tell Me’ questions you may get

This is not the same wording as the ‘official questions’ (which you can view here)

Question #1:
Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil.
Identify dipstick / oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum/maximum markers.

Question #2:
Show me / explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey. If the steering becomes heavy the system may not be working properly.
Before starting a journey two simple checks can be made. Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.

Question #3:
Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level.
Identify high/low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.

Question #4:
Show me how you would check the parking brake (handbrake) for excessive wear, make sure you keep safe control of the vehicle Apply foot brake firmly.
Demonstrate by applying parking brake (handbrake) so that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.

Question #5:
Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.
Identify reservoir and explain how to check level.

Question #6:
Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only).
Check is carried out by using control (turn on ignition if necessary).

Question #7:
Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
Identify reservoir, check level against high/low markings.

Question #8:
Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.
Applying the indicators or hazard warning switch and check functioning of all indicators. (you may need to switch ignition on)

Question #9:
Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car. (the examiner can assist you, if you need to switch the ignition on, don’t start the engine)
Operate brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows, garage doors, etc, or ask someone to help. (may need to switch ignition on, but do not actually start engine)

Question #10:
Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

Question #11:
Tell me how you would check that the headlights & tail lights are working. (No need to exit vehicle)
Explanation: Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle. (As this is a “Tell Me” question, there is no need to physically check the lights.)

Question #12:
Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
Manufacturer’s guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.

Question #13:
Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central 3 of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.

Question #14:
Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wipers.
Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen (turn ignition on if necessary).

Question #15:
Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively, this should include both front and rear screens
Set all relevant controls including; fan, temperature, air direction / source and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows. Engine does not have to be started for this demonstration.

Question #16:
Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it/them. (No need to exit vehicle)
Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.

Question #17:
Show me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on whilst inside the car.
Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.

Question #18:
Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.
The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. N.B. Some restraints might not be adjustable.

Question #19:
Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti lock braking system.
Warning light should illuminate (on the dashboard) if there is a fault with the anti lock braking system.

Possible Show Me/Tell Me Combinations

Here are the official list of the possible combinations you could be asked on the day of your driving test:

8 & 10, 5 & 9, 2 & 12, 4 & 5, 1 & 12, 3 & 18, 7 & 13, 6 & 13, 10 & 14, 11 & 15, 16 & 19, 9 & 11, 17 & 19.

If you should get either one or both of the questions wrong, you will receive one driver fault. This fault from the ‘show me/tell me questions’ would go towards your final total of driver faults received on your practical driving test. There is no ‘larger’ penalty for getting both questions wrong as opposed to only one.

5 Top tips for choosing an Instructor

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It is so important to have a good instructor that we have put together this page of what to look for/ask when you are receiving quotes, because all instructors, like learners, are not the same.

We have set out 5 main questions first, then expanded a little below:

1. Is your instructor going to be FULLY qualified?
2. What is their pass rate/experience?
3. Do they do times and days that are likely to suit you?
4. What kind of car/environment?
5. Prices and if there is any discount for block booking?

Many driving instructors in the UK today are not yet fully qualified, meaning that they are working under a temporary license (basically allowing them to get practice on you!). We recommend that you choose a fully qualified instructor, unless of course, you are 100% happy with your choice of a ‘PDI’ on a trainee licence.

An instructors’ pass rate can be important – if it is under the average for that area (the instructor should also roughly know what the average is) it can be worth asking ‘why?’ (some instructors may specialise in people with learning difficulties, or have another legitimate reason for a lower percentage).
Experience can be a valuable thing, yet a newly qualified trainer would potentially be ‘fresh’ on all the teaching topics – decide what you’ll be happier with (if you mind at all).

You may find that some of the best instructors are the most difficult to find a convenient time to meet up with, but ideally you want to make sure that you will be able to meet at a suitable time for the foreseeable future – this may help you avoid having to change instructors ‘part way’.

What car you will learn in can be important (not just for ‘street cred’) as smaller cars can be easier to manoeuvre and larger cars can prepare you for the real world (if you are likely to drive a larger car in the future) and can sometimes be safer.
Although it is now illegal to smoke in a ‘workplace’, if you are sensitive to the smell of smoke, you may wish to ensure that you get a non-smoker.

Finally, we come to price. Ideally you don’t want to choose an instructor only because they’re the cheapest – they might not provide the quality that you need. Make sure you find an instructor who fits your needs, even if it costs slightly more!

This is by no means an exhaustive list – feel free to add anything that you feel relevent.

Driving tests are changing in UK

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Driving tests are changing: what you need to know

From 4th October 2010 your practical driving test will include a section of ‘independent driving’.

During your test you’ll have to drive for about 10 minutes by either:

• following traffic signs
• following a series of directions
• following a combination of both

If you’re asked to follow a series of verbal directions you’ll be shown a diagram to help you understand where you’re going.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way – that can happen to the most experienced drivers.

Watch a video about the change to the driving test

Watch a special news report about the change to the driving test. It explains what’s happening and why the changes are being made. Sandra Dodson from the Driving Standards Agency also answers some of your questions about the new section of the driving test.

Driving tests are changing’ video on Directgov

Read detailed information about the change to the driving test

Read more detailed information about the change to the practical driving test, download an example of an independent driving route diagram, watch independent driving in action, and find out what adjustments can be made if you have special needs.

Independent driving and riding section of the practical test

What is Practical Test Part?

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The practical test is 40 minutes long, in this time you will be given eyesight check then the vehicle safety check questions (show me tell me). You will be asked to carry out 2 manoeuvres from reversing around a corner, turning in the road and reverse parking, which can be carried out in the test centre or on the test route. Some candidates will also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

During the test the examiner will direct you round the route. You are allowed to make up to 15 minor driving faults, if however you commit one serious or dangerous fault you will fail the test.

Driving tests are changing from 4th October 2010, click here to read more.

After the test the examiner will give you feedback on your performance, listen carefully!

You can book your practical test on 0870 0101372 or you can book online by calling, the test costs £62.00.

What is Hazard Perception Test?

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The Hazard Perception Test was introduced into the Theory Test in 2002, after completing the multiple-choice part you are given a few minutes break before you start the Hazard Perception part of the exam.

You will be shown an instructional video to show how the test works.

In the test you are shown 14 film clips, each clip is one minute long and all clips are filmed from a car. Each clip contains at least one developing hazard, you will be marked on your response to the developing hazard, the sooner you spot the developing hazard the higher your score.

The maximum you can score for each developing hazard is 5 pts; the pass mark is 44 out of a possible 75. You will be given the result after the test, you must pass both tests at the same time. When you pass you will be given a pass certificate, which allows you to book your Practical Test.

What is Theory Test ?

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Before you can apply for a driving test you must pass a theory test. This however does not mean you cannot start to learn to drive. The theory test is now in two parts, the first part of 50 multiple-choice questions of which you must get 43 correct. You have 57 minutes to complete this. Before the test begins you will be given instructions on how the test works. You can choose to complete some practice questions before you start. A question and several answers will appear on screen and you have to select the screen. Some questions may require more than one answer.You can navigate between questions and mark questions you want to come back to later in the test.

The most cost effective way to revise for the test is done at home with the following books:

The Oficial DSA Theory Test For Car Drivers
Know Your Traffic Signs
The Highway Code
The Official Guide To Driving
Please leave the dot marks in front of each sentence.

You can book your theory test by phone 0300-200 1122 or online. The test costs £31.00.

After a short break you will take the Hazard Perception test.

How to get a provisional license in UK?

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To be legally permitted to drive on the UK roads you must first obtain your own driving license.

Although you may not drive before your 17th birthday (or aged 16 if you are currently getting Disability Living Allowance at the higher rate) you can however apply for your driving license from 3 months prior to this.

What you will need to apply:

• You must be a resident of Great Britain
• You must be the required age (as above)
• You must be able to meet the minimum eyesight requirement
• You must not be prevented from driving for any reason
• You must have a valid UK passport or another valid form of identity
• You must be able to provide 3 years proof of address

The current fee is £50 for a standard provisional license.

The easiest way to apply is online at:

Once you have your provisional license, it is time to think more seriously about taking driving lessons. The DSA (the people who set the test) strongly recommend using a DSA approved driving instructor (ADI).

You can also come back (add us to your favourites – so you can find us again!) and we’ll be happy to help you find a good instructor!

Your First Lesson

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Your instructor will pick you up from your home, school or place of work. Your driving instructor will then explain to you how your driving course is going to work. What to prepare for how to study for the theory test, there will be a lot going on in your first lesson, so a two hour session is usually the norm. You will driven somewhere away from busy streets, so you do not have to deal with any complex traffic situations on your first lesson. Bring along or wear some sensible shoes that will make using the foot controls easier.

Don’t worry if you forget anything, your instructor will use a drivers record of progress, which keeps a track of all that you have done.

Car control can be a lot to take in at first – it’s all about physical motor reactions, which sometimes require a new range of skills, response times and hand-to-eye co-ordination skills. Even a simple procedure like moving off involves dealing with the clutch, gears, handbrake, indicators and checking the mirrors – it’s like you’re in multitasking overdrive. But don’t worry, your instructor will go over these area’s time and time again until you gradually begin to do more on your own.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, that’s what your instructor expects, and will encourage you to do, if you don’t ask you will never learn. But don’t worry if this makes you uncomfortable – hopefully you’ll relax as you become familiar with the situation.

It is recommended that prior to taking your test you should have had 40 hours in-car tuition with a qualified driving instructor and then another 25-30 hours practice with friends or family.

We strongly recommend that all candidates prepare thoroughly for the test. To help prepare we recommend The Highway Code, relevant books from our Essential Skills series and Know Your Traffic Signs. The official theory test books and CD-Roms contain the multiple choice questions. The CD-Roms show screens similar to those used in the multiple-choice part of the test and information about hazard perception.

Being a safe driver with good hazard perception skills means being able to use speed correctly, keeping the correct distance between yourself and other road users, scanning the road effectively, anticipating and planning for potential hazards.
All these skills can be taught effectively. You should prepare with skill2pass professional instructor as part of a structured programme of on-road tuition, covering the recommended driving syllabus.

Good luck with your driver training programme, and don’t forget if you need any help, just ask.

Learn to Drive

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At Skill2pass Driving School we understand that your driving lessons need to fit around other commitments like work, that money may be tight and that your knowledge will be different to that of the next learner. With that in mind, Skill2pass Driving School has designed a range of driving courses to suit your individual needs.

What’s more, our introductory offers are a great way to not only boost your confidence with the car but to also introduce you to your driving instructor. Moreover, our competitive rates and block booking discounts will ensure that you get good value for money throughout your course of driving lessons.

If time’s an issue then why not ask us about our range of intensive driving courses? Not only will you get to driving test standard quicker but you can save money too.

Our driver training courses go beyond just the practical driving test. In addition to this our mock driving tests, pass plus courses and motorway tuition mean all your driving needs are catered for.

Furthermore, here at Skill2pass Driving School, we believe that you shouldn’t have to share your driving lesson time with somebody else. That’s why we guarantee all our driving lessons are one-to-one tuition, with no back seat passengers, and unlike some other driving schools our hour lessons REALLY do last for a FULL hour!

Whatever you need, we’re here to help. So go on put the key in the ignition, and with Skill2pass Driving School drive your way to success.

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