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Practical Driving Test

According to the DVSA, most people have had about 47 hours of professional driving tuition plus 20 hours of private practice before they pass their practical driving test. This is just an average but everyone learns at a different pace!

Clearly, it’s important to get plenty of practice before taking your practical driving test.

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Your instructor will tell you exactly what the examiner will be looking out for – and what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Passing your test is not about performing a couple of tricks. The manoeuvres are important, but what really matters is observing and understanding the situations you find yourself in, and reacting competently and appropriately.

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Booking your practical test


So you feel you’re ready for your practical test – how exciting! Just like your theory test, you can book your practical driving test online via GOV.UK/book-practical-driving-test.

To book a practical test, you’ll need:

  • A valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland provisional driving licence number
  • Credit or debit card details to pay for the test
  • Your theory test pass date and certificate number
  • Your driving instructor’s personal reference number – to make sure they are available.

Mock practical tests

Taking a mock test is not compulsory but it is something RED recommends.  They enable you to experience driving independently under observation and can be useful to help fight the nerves before taking your driving test!

An extended mock test allows for all the driving manoeuvres and emergency stop to be practiced, even if this will not happen in the real practical driving test.

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The day of the practical test

Your instructor will pick you up at the agreed time, usually around an hour before the test. This gives you the chance to ‘warm up’ and get any last minute queries answered. You have the option of your instructor sitting in the back of the vehicle for the duration of the test but this is optional.

Ensure you take both your provisional licence along with a copy of your theory test pass certificate. We would also recommend taking the booking details of the test.

Your practical test will include:

  • An eyesight check
  • The ‘show me, tell me’ test. You don’t have to be a right petrolhead but you’ve got to be able to answer some basic questions about what goes on under the hood
  • Manoeuvres / emergency stop
  • The actual driving, which lasts about 40 minutes.  This includes 10 minutes of independent driving

At the end of the test, the examiner will inform you if you have passed or failed the driving test. The examiner will produce a test report and describe any errors you made and if applicable, why you failed your test.

If you have passed, you will receive a test pass certificate that will entitle you to drive immediately. However, your instructor will usually drive you back home afterwards.

If you’re lucky enough to have your own car, there is a possibility you will want to use it on the day of the exam. If this is the case, we recommend you check the test vehicle requirements on GOV.UK before your test. You run the risk of losing your test fee if it turns out on your test day that your car can’t be used for safety reasons.

Good luck from everyone at RED with your practical test!


You might also be interested in…

How to pass your practical test - part 1

With the long bank holidays over, you’re probably thinking about your goal of passing your driving test for the summer. With this in mind, we have decided to put together a series of posts giving you tips about how to complete your manoeuvres in your practical test.

In car view from back seat

How to pass your practical test - part 2

Last week, we began our series providing you with tips on how to pass your practical test. This week we will continue by discussing the two parking manoeuvres.

How to pass your practical test - part 3

This is the final part of our series on the practical manoeuvres you may be asked to do in your driving test. We have already covered some top tips and the emergency stop, and last week we covered the two parking manoeuvres.