Practical Driving Test
The practical test lasts up to 40 minutes and will take you through a variety of roads and traffic conditions. There are no ‘daily quotas’ and if you complete the test without serious or dangerous errors and with no more than 15 minor driving errors you will pass.
There are a number of pre-determined routes. However the route may be varied at any time, particularly by unusual congestion, road works etc. During the test you will be asked to carry out one of the following: parallel parking, park the car in a car park, or pull up and park on the right-hand side of the road and reverse back. On some tests you may also be asked to stop the car suddenly under a controlled stop simulation (as in an emergency).
You will be asked to drive for 20 minutes independently. During this time you’ll be expected to follow a series of road signs, or by following the directions of a Sat-Nav device.
Try to forget the examiner and you’ll feel less nervous. Remember, they’re not going to ask you to do anything out of the ordinary. All they’ll ask you to do is drive around as you would during a lesson. Drive in a thoughtful, business-like manner. Keep up with the other traffic but be careful to obey speed limits at all times. If you are unsure about a direction, immediately seek clarification. Use good observation skills and don’t let other motorists put you under pressure. If you realise you are taking the wrong road, do what is safe and continue the turn that you are indicating. A sudden change of direction without proper observation and signalling will constitute a serious fault.
The practical test costs £62.00 on a week day or £75.00 over the weekend.
The Driving Theory Test
You must pass the Theory Test before you can book the Practical Test. You cannot take the Theory Test until you are 17 years of age.
The Theory Test can be booked by phone on 0300 200 1122, or online. You will need a debit or credit card to use these methods, which also lets you to choose your test time. Alternatively to pay by cheque, application forms are available at Post Offices.
The Theory Test is not difficult given the demanding situation of Britain’s roads. It is divided into two parts - the Multiple Choice element and then the Hazard Perception element. The whole thing takes around an hour and is performed on a computer, but you do not need experience of computers. Both parts of the test are taken on the same day at the same test centre, and you must pass both together. The Hazard Perception Test (HPT) checks your ability to identify and react to ‘developing hazards’ in everyday driving situations. It comprises a series of film clips shown on the computer, and to which you have to react by clicking the mouse.
The Multiple Choice Test
The multiple choice test is taken first - you select answers by simply touching a computer screen. This touch-screen system has been carefully designed to make sure it is easy to use.
You have an opportunity to work through a practice session lasting up to 15 minutes to get used to the system before starting the actual test.
Only one question appears on the screen at a time. You can move backwards and forwards through the questions. Answer the questions you find easy first then go back to review the harder ones. You can change your mind and alter answers before you ‘close’ the test.
You have to answer 50 questions and you currently need to answer 43 questions correctly to pass this element of the theory test.
The Hazard Perception Test
The Hazard Perception Test is taken after the Multiple Choice Test and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.
What does hazard perception mean? Hazard perception means the ability and skill to identify potentially dangerous situations as they arise. As a motorist, you do this by scanning the area ahead and anticipating developing situations. The test is designed to identify if you spot these ‘Developing Hazards’.
A Developing Hazard is something which causes you to change speed or direction.
The Hazard Perception Test consists of 14 one minute video clips, filmed from a car. Each clip contains one or two developing hazards which the candidate has to identify. Candidates are asked to imagine they are driving the car and indicate (by clicking the mouse) as soon as they see a hazard which may require them to take action. Marks are based on the candidate's responses (mouse clicks) to the hazards.
The sooner a hazard is detected the higher the score.
Only developing hazards are scored – but responses made to other hazards will not lose points.
If you randomly click in the hope of hitting the right moments the system will disqualify you for that clip.
It is important to click once when you think the hazard is developing and again once or twice afterwards so that if the first click was too soon, the second one will register.
If you think there is a second hazard soon after, then click at that one too (the first may have been a non-developing one, or there may be two scoring hazards in the clip).
You will be given your results for both the Multiple Choice Test and the Hazard Perception Test before you leave the test centre. If you fail the Theory Test then you have to wait three clear working days before you can take it again.
The theory test costs £23. You will not be refunded if you fail.