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Passing the driving test
Image © Motoring Research
When should I book my test?
The million dollar question! To which the simple answer is: when you feel ready. Obviously your instructor will advise you on whether or not they think you are capable of passing or not and it's in their interests to make the right call - their reputation depends on your success!As to when you should book it, well that depends on the test centre and how busy they are. In some cases you may need to book six weeks (or more) in advance so you need to plan ahead. The DSA website has a directory of test centre locations, with information on individual waiting lists.
How much does it cost and how do I apply?
The standard fee for the driving test is £56, raising to £67 for evenings and weekends outside of the regular times of 7:30am to 3:27pm, Monday to Friday. Your instructor can sort out the actual application or you can arrange it yourself, either by filling in the downloadable DL26 form or via the DSA website.You can do the test in any insured and roadworthy car with L plates, but most use an instructor's car. You'll get another test free if it's cancelled for bad light or poor weather but if you don't bring your provisional licence and theory pass certificate or the car breaks down you'll forfeit your test and fee.
What happens on the test?
Most people do the test in their instructor's car and many have a lesson beforehand for last minute practice and to limber up for the test. Your instructor will then hand over to the examiner, who will first require you to be able to read a post-2001 style numberplate from a distance of 20 metres.You'll then be asked two questions relating to vehicle safety before starting the test proper, which will include a variety of driving and at least two prescribed manoeuvres such as reverse parking or turning in the road. The test will take around 40 minutes and you'll find out straight away whether you've passed or failed.
Is it easier to pass at some test centres than others?
Officially the answer is no, because the test is designed to be the same wherever you might live. But if there is more than one test centre in your area everyone in the 6th form common room will have their own theory about which is the easier one to pass at.And a test in a quiet provincial town is going to be different from one in a busy city centre. But each test centre will have designed its routes to provide plenty of challenges to test you while factors like the time of day can be critical. So, different? Yes. Easier? Not necessarily.
When will I know if I passed?
You'll find out whether you've passed or not at the end of the test. You'll fail if you get more than 15 minor faults or one serious or dangerous one and you can ask for feedback from the examiner as to why they failed you. You're eligible for another test after 10 working days.Passed? Well done! Your examiner will give you a pass certificate, scan your provisional licence and the DVLA will send you your full one within four weeks. But you're qualified to drive on your own straight away though - welcome to the world of motoring! And good luck...
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