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Driving test tips

Whether you're revising for your theory test or preparing for your practical, our top tips will help you on your learning to drive journey.

About the driving theory test

Learning to drive is a ticket to independence. So, when the time comes to take a driving test – of which there are two parts, the theory and the practical – it's best to be as prepared as possible.

You need to pass your theory exam first. This is a two-parter, with a multiple-choice section and a hazard perception section. You must pass both to qualify for your practical test.

You need to score at least 86% on both sections to pass – which breaks down as answering 43/50 questions correctly on the multiple-choice section and scoring at least 44 points out of 75 on the hazard perception test.

The test costs £23 and you can easily book it online.

Three top tips for passing

  • Put the time in

Don't be tempted to cram before the test. Set aside some reading time each day in the weeks beforehand to properly learn the Highway Code and Know Your Traffic Signs guides.

  • Get your practice in

Mock driving theory tests from TopTests and the DVSA aren't just good for getting comfortable with the format of the exam; they also help to fill in any gaps in your knowledge.

  • Book in advance

You might be eager to book your theory test, but be patient. Book it for a month's time, when you've had a chance to properly prepare.

If you don't pass straight away, don't worry. You can retake the test after 72 hours – just make sure you're fully prepared.

The practical driving test

Once you've your theory test sorted, you can start on the practical side of driving.

It costs around £62 and you can book it online.

Make sure to bring your theory test pass certificate and your driving licence or you'll be turned away.

There are three parts to the test:

  1. An eyesight check. This is for yours and other road users' safety. You'll simply be asked to read a number plate from around 20 metres away, depending.
  2. Show me, tell me. The examiner will ask for the correct answer to one of 14 'tell me' questions, before getting you to carry out a certain safety check on the car. You can find out the questions you could be asked – plus the answers – on the GOV.UK website.
  3. Driving ability. This is testing how you actually drive. You’ll be given directions to follow and you’ll need to perform basic manoeuvres, such as reversing upon request. The examiner will also go quiet for around 10 minutes, to see how you drive without guidance.

It should take about 40 minutes, depending on traffic. Once back at the test centre, you'll be given your result. To pass, you need to have not made any serious or dangerous faults (called 'majors') and received no more than 15 'minor' faults.

Tips for passing

Learning to drive takes around 45 hours of professional lessons and 22 hours of practice, according to the DVSA.

Here are some quick tips to help you ace your practical:

  • Focus on your weak points

There's no way of knowing what you'll be asked to perform on the day – so make sure you practice all manoeuvres, particularly any you struggle with.

  • Hire your instructor's car

Use the car you've been learning to drive in for your test – you can even ask your driving instructor to sit in the back if you think it will help!

  • Take in what the examiner tells you

As well as concentrating on the road ahead, listen to what the examiner is asking you to do. If you're not sure, ask them to repeat the instruction.

  • Don't dwell on your mistakes

If you know you've made an error right at the start of the test, try not to dwell on it – it might not mean you've failed, so concentrate on being faultless for the remainder of the time.

Most people don't pass their practical driving test on the first go. So don't feel bad if you fail the first time, you can book another test after 10 working days.

If you do pass, congratulations! The focus now is how to keep your insurance costs down – this can be done in various ways, such as telematics insurance.

Read more guides and research young drivers' insurance today.

All information is correct at the time of publication. Hastings Direct cannot be held responsible for any misinformation displayed.

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