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The Practical Test

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Once you have successfully completed your driving theory test you will have a period of two years in which you must take and pass your practical test. Having had your knowledge of road laws and driving safety laws tested with multiple choice and hazard perception, it is time for an examiner to ensure that you know how to competently and safely drive on the road. You will undergo a series of tests during which time you must show that you can drive safely. Some faults are permitted so it is possible to make some mistakes and still pass your test.

What Is The Practical Driving Test

The practical driving test is exactly that – a test of your driving skills. A licensed examiner will take you out in your chosen car and will ask you to perform a series of manoeuvres and driving skills. The examiner will mark your progress to determine whether or not you pass your practical test and receive your full driving license.

What Is The Aim Of The Practical Test

The aim of the practical test is to ensure that you have complete control of the vehicle that you are driving or riding. The test will obviously be different depending on whether you are learning to ride a motorbike or drive a car. You will also be tested on factors concerning the maintenance of your car in order to ensure that you can keep it in a roadworthy and safe condition.

The Day Of Your Test

ON the day of your test you are permitted to take a third party that is over the age of 16. Typically, this will be your driving instructor but whoever you take is not permitted to get involved in the test in any way – they will be permitted to sit in the back of the car during the test. You should take your theory test certificate and your driving license. You will also need a valid vehicle in or on which you can take your test. This is usually your instructor’s car.

Eyesight Check

The first element of the test is an eyesight check during which you will be asked to read the registration plate of a parked car. Failing this section of the test means that the remainder of the test will not go ahead.

Vehicle Safety Questions

You will then be asked two vehicle safety questions which are often also called “show me, tell me” questions. You will be asked to show the examiner a specific part of the car such as the window washer liquid bottle and you will be asked to tell the examiner how you would complete a particular safety check such as ensuring the level of your washer bottles is adequate.

General Driving

In the general driving test you will be given directions to follow and be asked to perform certain tasks and skills. Your examiner will be looking to ensure that you are a safe driver and that you can competently navigate your way around the streets and roads. You will probably be asked to complete an emergency stop and be asked to drive in various different road and traffic conditions.


You will be asked to perform one specific reversing manoeuvre which aims to show that you have control of the vehicle while it is in reverse. The examiner may ask you to reverse around a corner, turn in the road, or complete a reverse parking manoeuvre either into a parking bay or a parallel parking space.

Independent Driving

For ten minutes of your practical test you will be asked to drive to a certain point. You will be expected to use road signs and directions provided by the examiner in order to reach a certain point. You will not be given the same level of instruction as you would in the rest if your test, though, as this section aims to determine your level of independence and independent decision making.

Faults And Pass Requirements

There are three levels of fault. You are allowed to make 15 or less driving faults although if you continue to make the same mistake over and over again throughout the test this may still result in a fail. If you make a dangerous or serious fault, or you make 16 or more driving faults then this will mean a fail and you will not pass your test.

Passing Your Practical Test

If you fail your test you are entitled to book another test after ten working days. If you pass then you will receive a pass certificate and you will be asked whether you would like your full licence sent to you automatically. Once you have passed, you don’t need to await your licence, however, as you can start driving straight away if you wish and assuming that you are legally allowed to do so.

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