What to Expect During Your Driving Test

Learning to drive can be a nerve-wracking experience in itself, but as you gear up for the big test, you might find yourself getting more and more nervous. How long will the waiting list be? How much will it cost you? If you get it wrong and fail, then what do you do? Well, thankfully, here at Scrap Car Comparison we’ve all had our fair share of driving test experiences, so we’re in a good space to prepare you for what lies ahead.

Before you set off for your test, however, are you looking at a car in your driveway at the moment that’s well past its sell-by date? Perhaps you want to get away from the hand-me-down hatchback and are eyeing up a specific car to be your first, but just don’t have the cash for it yet? By using Scrap Car Comparison, you can get rid of that tired, embarrassing old car and use the cash to get something a little bit more exciting. You’re never too far from our service, which includes free collection, and our dedicated team of scrap and salvage experts are on hand to find you the very best price in just one minute.

How long is a driving test?

A driving test will usually see you behind the wheel for approximately 40 minutes (or 70 if you’re taking an extended test following a previous driving ban), as the examiner needs to get an accurate impression of your driving skills whilst out on the roads. These 40 minutes will feature a range of expected tests and sections including the following:

  • Eyesight Check: You’ll be asked to read a number plate from 20 metres away. If you are unable to read the number plate then you will fail your test before you’ve even started.
  • Show Me, Tell Me: You’ll be asked two safety-related questions during your test. The ‘show me’ will take place before you get in the driving seat, and the ‘tell me’ will happen at some point during your drive.
  • Pulling Over & Away: You’ll be asked to show you are able to pull up at the side of the road and pull away safely. This will likely include a hill start, if geographical limitations make this possible.
  • Reversing: You’ll be expected to show an ability to reverse safely, with a manoeuvre expected to showcase this, which will either be a parallel park, bay parking (either reverse in, drive out or vice versa) or pulling up on the right hand side of the road, reversing for two car lengths and rejoining traffic again.
  • Independent Driving: You’ll be told to head for a certain location, either following road signs or a sat-nav, and will be expected to get there on your own without any help from the examiner. If you make a wrong turn the examiner will not give you a fault and will help you back on to the correct route.

The practical test will fly by when you compare it to the theory test you will have already completed. A theory test is actually twice as long as a practical test, clocking in at 1 hour and 20 minutes. If you can get through that, you can make it through the practical!

How to book a driving test

Once you’ve passed your theory test, you’ll want to keep the momentum going and book your practical test as soon as possible. In order to book your test you’ll need to go on to the DVLA’s website, and make sure you have your provisional licence, a payment card (credit or debit) and an instructor’s personal reference number if you want to check their availability.

In most cases, you’ll need to have passed a theory test to be able to book a practical test, but that isn’t always the case. For example, the following tests do not need theory tests first:

  • Tractor test
  • Test to upgrade from automatic to manual
  • Tests to progress through motorcycle categories
  • Lorry or bus and trailer tests, when you already have a lorry or bus licence.
  • Lorry test, when you have a small lorry licence.
  • Bus test, when you have a minibus licence.

All of the above (except for the Tractor Test), are classed as ‘upgrade tests’, so you’ll need to contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in order to book one of these.

How much is a driving test

Driving test costs will change depending on when you intend to take them, and the type of test you have booked.

Type of testWeekday CostEvening Weekend or Bank Holiday Cost
Theory Test£23£23
Driving Test£62£75
Extended driving test for disqualified drivers£124£150
Driver CPC part 1a: theory – multiple-choice questions£26£26
Driver CPC part 1b : theory – hazard perception£11£11
Driver CPC part 2: case studies£23£23
Driver CPC part 3a: off-road exercises£40£40
Driver CPC part 3b: on-road driving£115£141
Driver CPC part 4: practical demonstration£55£63
Motorcycle and moped
Theory test£23£23
Module 1 motorcycle test (off-road)£15.50£15.50
Module 2 motorcycle test (on-road)£75£88.50
Extended test for disqualified riders (on-road)£150£177
Tractor and other specialist vehicles
Driving Test£62£75

What’s the average number of driving tests people take before passing?

Not everyone can, or indeed does, pass at the first time of trying (although don’t look at us, the SCC team all passed first time…), but it’s not far off the majority. On average, just under half of all drivers will pass their test at the first attempt, but it’s not uncommon to see people take two, or even three, attempts to pass their practical test. For some, it can take even more.

But, passing your test first time won’t necessarily mean you’re a safer driver, and recent research has suggested that the magic number is actually three. People who pass at the third attempt are, statistically, less likely to be involved in collisions, so if you’re getting stick from your mate who passed first time, just remind him not to get too overconfident, as that could well be the reason first time drivers are involved in more accidents than those who took a little longer.

5 tips for passing your driving test first time

Obviously, everyone wants to pass their test first time, as it not only gets you out on the road sooner, but it saves you money in the long run, as you won’t need to book another test. So, here’s some of our top tips to ensure you pass your test at the first time of asking.

  1. Be On Time

Pretty obvious, but getting there on time means that you’ll be less stressed than if you arrive 2 minutes before the test is due to start – or potentially run the risk of missing the test in its entirety. Try to arrive about a quarter of an hour before your booked time, and also try to be well rested the night before. You don’t want to be half asleep when behind the wheel, as this’ll only increase your chances of a mistake.

  1. Have a Lesson Beforehand

Nothing sharpens the mind like revision, as we all learned at school with our GCSE and A-level build up. A lesson with your instructor will give you a chance to go over anything you’re unsure of and get in one last practice of all the potential manoeuvres you could be asked to carry out.

  1. Use a car you’re familiar with

You’ll want to be as comfortable and confident as possible during your test to reduce the chances of silly mistakes or nerves, which can be exacerbated by stepping into an entirely new car. Either use your instructor’s car, or your own if that’s what you’ve been practising in, to make sure you are familiar with your surroundings.

  1. Choose where you take your test wisely

Another case of being in familiar surroundings, choosing to take your test at a location that you know means you have at least some knowledge of the surrounding area so you’re not driving into the unknown. You will also be able to work out when the best time to go is, as if you know that the town centre gets gridlocked at lunch time, you can try to book a test away from the rush to make things a little less stressful for you.

  1. Check your mirrors in an obvious manner

Your examiner will want to be confident that you’re aware of your surroundings at all times, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to prove to them that you’re regularly checking your mirrors. It’s worth noting that they’re not going to be spending the entire time staring at your face, so they’re not going to necessarily see you checking your mirrors if you’re just darting your eyes from left to right. Move your head to show that you’re having a look in your wing mirrors, and make a point of adjusting the mirrors before you set off, too.

If you’re coming up to your test, but you know that your tired old family hatchback is waiting on the other side for you, why not get ahead of the game and swap it for some cash to go towards something more exciting? We’ll be more than happy to take the car off your hands, no matter its condition or age, and with certified scrap and salvage buyers all around the country, you’re never too far away from a competitive price. With a nationwide network of collectors at our fingertips, we’ll also provide a free collection, meaning not only can we get you the very best price, we’ll also take all the hassle of its last journey away, too. Get started today and find out just how much your car could be worth in as little as 60 seconds.

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