Driving test what happens on the day?

What happens on the day of the driving test? Do you know what to expect during your test?

What happens on the day of the driving test? Do you know what to expect during your test?


DVSA overview of the driving test


What happens during the driving test?

There are five parts to the driving test:

  • An eyesight check.
  • Show me, tell me vehicle safety questions.
  • General driving ability.
  • Reversing.
  • Independent driving.


How long is the driving test?

You will drive for about 40 minutes.

Eyesight check

Before starting the driving test, the examiner will ask you to read the number plate of a parked car from a distance of 20 metres to check your eyesight.

Remember to wear glasses or contact lenses if you need them.

You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.

Show me, tell me vehicle safety questions

The examiner will ask you one ‘show me’ and one ‘tell me’ question:

  • ‘Tell me’ question (you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving.
  • ‘Show me’ question (you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving.

The official DVSA ‘Show me’ questions video.

The official DVSA ‘tell me’ questions video.

If you give the wrong answer to one or both questions you’ll get one minor driving fault.

General driving ability

You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways.

You are to follow the directions given by the examiner.

Driving ability includes:

  • Pulling over at the side of the road and pull away again.
  • Usual stops at the side of the road.
  • Pulling out from behind a parked vehicle.
  • A hill start.
  • You may be asked to do an emergency stop.


Reversing your vehicle

The examiner will ask you to do one of the following three reversing movements:

  • Parallel park at the side of the road.
  • Park in a parking bay – either by driving in and reversing out or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do).
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around two car lengths, and rejoin the traffic.

Click here for the DVSA videos for driving test reversing movements.

Independent driving

In the 20-minute independent driving part, you’ll be expected to show that you can make safe decisions without prompting.

You’ll drive either following directions from a Sat Nav or by using traffic signs. The examiner will let you know which!

You will not be allowed to use your own Sat Nav one will be provided for you when required.

Don’t worry if you get lost; it’s not a test of your navigation skills! You won’t get a fault for taking the wrong route.

How the examiner marks the practical driving test

During the driving test, the examiner will mark you by noting any driving faults you make on a practical test report form DL25.

The driving faults:

  • Minor – you are allowed up to 15 minor driving faults and still pass the test.
  • Serious – none allowed.
  • Dangerous – none allowed.

Even if during the test you feel you have failed you should continue to try because the experience will help you to identify where you need more practice.

The seriousness of an individual fault depends on the conditions at the time.

When other road users are affected, a Minor error can become a Serious Fault.

The driving examiner will record a Dangerous mistake when they or another road user has been forced to take evasive action.

Take a driving lesson immediately before the test!

You will probably arrive at the driving test centre with your driving instructor.

Most candidates have a final lesson with their instructor just before taking the driving test when they can practice a few driving points.

The reason for the driving lesson is to get you relaxed and in the right frame of mind for your driving test.

Taking someone with you on the driving test

Your driving instructor, a friend or relative can accompany you on your driving test, they:

  • Must be 16 or over.
  • Must sit in the back of the car during the driving test.
  • Can’t take any part in the test.
  • Can be with you after for the result and feedback

Some people find having someone they know with them on the test helps them to stay calm.

When you arrive at the driving test centre

What happens when you get to the driving test centre? You’ll need to:

  • Sign a form and show your provisional driving licence.
  • Have your theory test pass certificate.
  • Meet your driving examiner and head out to the car park to start the test.


Don’t forget to take provisional licence and theory pass certificate with you

Remember both your provisional driving licence and theory test pass certificate.

If you forget them, you will not be allowed to take the driving test and will lose your test fee.

Bad weather and the driving test

Sometimes DVSA needs to cancel or stop the test due to bad weather conditions.

When the DVSA call off a test because of extreme driving conditions, they notify the candidate by email and automatically re-book the driving test at no additional cost.

The driving test will not take place in dangerous conditions such as fog, flooding, high winds and ice on the roads.

If you are in doubt about your driving test happening on the day due to extreme weather, call your local test centre for clarification.


What happens when you pass your driving test

You can now exchange your provisional licence to a full driving licence. The driving examiner will inform the DVLA so your full driving licence can be sent to you by post. There is no charge to have your provisional licence converted to a Full Licence.

Start enjoying your new freedom passing your test is an exciting event in your life but remember:

  • Passing is only the start of learning to be a skilled and responsible driver.
  • The way you have learnt to drive is the safest way to drive, avoid slipping into bad driving habits.
  • Think about taking the Pass Plus with an approved driving instructor. You will learn such things as how to drive on motorways, driving at night and in conditions you would not have experienced in your driving lessons.
  • Driving with your friends can be great, BUT make sure you remain focused on your driving. The safety of your passengers is your responsibility. Nothing causes more accidents than the driver being distracted.


What if you fail the driving test?

Your driving instructor will explain why you haven’t passed the test and give you a driving test report detailing the faults you made.

You can retake your test after just ten working days, but you should follow the advice of your driving instructor and only put straight back in for your test if you both feel you are ready.

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