The Tests Explained
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I believe that it’s important that you have an understanding of what happens on test days and what is involved.
The Theory Test
Locally, the Theory Test can be taken either in Truro or Penzance. The Theory Test is in two sections. The first section is multiple choice and touch screen based. You will be asked to answer 50 questions and need to correctly answer 43 to pass. It is best to purchase the up to date version of the Highway Code and the Driving Test Success DVD in order to prepare yourself for the test. The second section of the Theory Test is the Hazard Perception Test. You will be shown 14 video clips featuring everyday events on our roads. You will need to click the mouse every time you see a hazard developing – for example a bus pulling out from a stop unexpectedly in front of an oncoming vehicle.
For details and all information relating to the Theory Test click here
The Practical Test
The Practical Test is always viewed as a daunting experience but if you are properly prepared you need not fear it. Examiners realise and understand that you will be nervous and will do everything that they can to help, reassure and relax you. The examiner is “on your side”, he or she wants you to pass but has to assess your driving performance against a set of strict guidelines. The examiner will at no point try to catch you out and contrary to popular belief there is no magical pass rate per month. Put simply, if you drive well enough you will pass.
On test day, pupils generally have an hour of tuition prior to the Practical Test. In that hour I generally ask the pupil what he/she wants to do. Some want to practice the manoeuvres, some will want to visit a particular junction or roundabout, others may want to visit a particular location they are unsure of whilst others simply want to drive in order to relax themselves. It really is up to you.
You will take your test in the car you learned in. We will aim to arrive at the test centre about 10 minutes before your appointment time. This gives us time to park, use the toilet etc if necessary and to relax for just a minute or two in the waiting room.
Then the examiner will come out, ask to see your documents and ask you to sign an insurance/residency declaration. The examiner will ask you if you wish your instructor to accompany you on the test and he/she will then take you outside and ask you to read a car number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres.
You will then walk up to your car. The examiner will then ask you two of the safety/show and tell questions concerned with the general safety and maintenance of the car. (I will have previously issued you with the questions/answers and gone through them with you). The examiner will ask you to get in the car and to make yourself comfortable and you will then drive off. They will sit beside you with a mark sheet. You are permitted to make up to 15 minor faults and still pass. Minor faults are, for example, signalling late at a junction, approaching a junction a little too fast, getting a bit too close to the edge on a corner, changing gear at the wrong time etc etc.
However, you MUST not make any serious or dangerous faults (for example being in the wrong lane at a roundabout and hence causing other vehicles to slow or swerve to avoid you). Serious/dangerous faults will result in a fail. You will still, however, continue with the test. The Practical Test takes 40 minutes from the time the examiner first introduces him/herself. After the initial paperwork, sight check and safety questions etc you will be driving for between 30-35 minutes.
For a maximum of 10 minutes during your test, the examiner will ask you either to follow road signs to a particular location or to follow a series of written directions.
During the test you will be asked to carry out two of the following manoeuvres :
- The turn in the road (formerly known as 3-point turn).
- Reversing around a corner.
- Parallel park (behind a parked car).
- Reversing into a parking bay.
You may also be asked to perform an emergency stop and you may be asked to drive for a short distance on a local dual carriageway.
At the end of the Practical Test you will be asked to pull into the test centre and stop the car (you do not have to park up in a bay). The examiner will tot up his marks and will very quickly tell you the result. You will be hoping to hear the words “I am very pleased to tell you that you have been successful”. Whether you pass or fail the examiner will go through any driving faults with you (and me if you are happy for me to listen). If you pass the examiner will normally take your licence from you to send off for a full licence replacement (no fee for this) and issue you with a pass certificate. From this point on you may drive unaccompanied.
You can learn more about the Practical Test on the official website.