Part 3a and 3b: driving tests

Part 3a and 3b - these tests make sure you can drive and manoeuvre your vehicle confidently and safely in different road and traffic conditions, and that you know The Highway Code (and can show this by the way you drive).

Structure of the tests

Part 3a test: off-road exercises

The tests lasts up to 30 minutes. It includes:

  • an ‘S’ shaped reverse into a bay
  • showing the uncoupling and recoupling procedure if you’re taking a test with a trailer

Part 3b test: on-road driving

The test will include:

  • vehicle safety questions
  • 1 hour of on-road driving

During your on-road driving, the examiner will see how you:

  • use the vehicle controls
  • move away at an angle, uphill and downhill
  • do a controlled stop
  • use the mirrors
  • give appropriate signals
  • show awareness and anticipation of other road users’ intentions
  • manage your progress and control your vehicle speed
  • deal with hazards
  • select a safe place to stop

There will also be 10 minutes of independent driving, designed to test your ability to drive safely while making independent decisions.

Vehicle safety questions

During your test you’ll be asked vehicle safety questions. Check the:

Controlling your nerves

Almost everyone gets nervous about taking a driving test. But to pass, you’ll need to keep your nerves under control. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Get a good nights’ sleep before the test.
  • Be positive: focus on passing your test rather than worrying about failing it.
  • Avoid too much caffeine before your test: it might make you feel jittery and nervous.
  • Arrive at the test centre about 15 minutes before your test is due so you’re not hurried but you’re also not waiting too long.
  • If there are enough seats in the cab you can take your instructor with you. This can help you work on any problems if you need to retake your test.

Remember: your examiner wants to make sure you’re safe on the road. They’re not trying to catch you out. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, just ask.

If you pass

  • Your examiner will give you feedback on your test. Remember to listen carefully to this: just because you passed your test, it does not mean you drove perfectly!
  • You can now get your provisional licence changed to a full licence. Your examiner will usually send your details to DVLA so an upgraded licence can be sent to you by post. For more details about how to claim your full HGV driving licence, see GOV.UK.

Remember: If you intend to drive for a living, you’ll need to complete your full Driver CPC.

If you fail

  • You’ll be given a driving test report showing the faults you made and your examiner will also explain to you why you have not passed. Although you’ll probably feel disappointed, listen carefully to the feedback because it will help you get things right next time.
  • Show the report to your instructor so you can practise the things you had a problem with before you retake your test.

Remember: You’ll have to wait at least 3 working days before you can retake it so use this time to do as much practise as possible.

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