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4th March 2014

Dealing with driving test day nerves

Woman tearing up L PLate

Starting to feel nervous about your driving test today? You’re not alone. We reached out to RED Driving School students via Facebook and Twitter, to hear their stories about dealing with test-day stress and nerves.

Prepare fully – take lots of mock tests and make sure you’re constantly passing them before you even consider applying to take a test. If you’re struggling with any particular aspects of the test, focus on those especially, so you can nail them in good time.

The night before your test make sure you have all the documents you need to show at your test ready. These are both parts of your driving licence (photo card and paper counterpart), theory certificate and confirmation email/letter of the appointment. It can also be helpful to choose what you’re going to wear on your test day the night before too.

Know your test centre – visit the test centre a few days before the test to familiarise yourself with the protocol for that test centre.

Don’t tell your friends – the more people you tell about your test, the more pressure you’ll feel to pass. So keep your test date quiet and just surprise your friends once you’ve passed!

Have a banana for breakfast – bananas are well-known among instructors as the driving test superfood. They’re full of B vitamins which helps calm your nerves and they contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ – which will keep your mood upbeat. If you don’t like bananas make sure you eat something so you have enough energy for the day and can concentrate on the task in hand rather than how hungry you are!

Avoid caffeine – don’t drink energy drinks or too much coffee before a test. The caffeine can heighten your nerves.

Laugh – before heading out watch something that really makes you laugh, like your favourite comedian on YouTube. This will put you at ease and boost your mood.

Rescue Remedy – spray some Bach Rescue Remedy, a natural remedy which helps to calm nerves in stressful situations.

Arrive with plenty of time – get to the test centre with time to spare. Rushing will just increase your nerves and make you unnecessarily flustered.

Distract yourself – sitting in the waiting room before your test is often the time when people feel the most anxious. It’s a good idea to bring a book or magazine to distract you. Remember that this is the worst bit, once you’re actually on your test you’ll be so busy concentrating on the road that your nerves will ease off.

Breathe – breathing exercises can be very useful to help calm you down. Focus as you inhale and exhale. This will have a soothing effect and stop your heart from racing.

Talk to the examiner – remember that the examiner is human and not there to fail you, he wants you to pass. Exchange a couple of words with him/her to put yourself at ease but don’t talk too much as you could get distracted from the road. Also don’t be afraid to ask the examiner any questions or to repeat an instruction if you didn’t hear it.

Open the window – to let some fresh air in the car, this can help keep you alert.

Slow down – when people are nervous they have the tendency to speed but. So imagine you’re on a normal lesson, breathe and focus.

Remember, these are just suggestions and different techniques work for different people. Your driving instructor wouldn’t let you take your practical test unless you were ready so you already have a vote of confidence from an expert who thinks you’re capable!

Learn more on how to pass your driving test.

Have confidence in yourself and good luck!

Below are a few of the best tips we received from social media, For more driving and theory test tips head over to our social channels – Take part in our weekly #TheoryThursday chat on Facebook and Twitter.

Lauren Hunt retweeted by RED Driving school
Lisa Forsyth facebook screenshot
Charlotte love retweet by RED Driving school

Even instructors still get nervous during driving tests. See what RED Driving Instructor Richard Alan Hall does to prepare:

Richard Alan Hall facebook screenshot
Margaret Blythe facebook screenshot