The practical test makes sure you can drive 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). It lasts about 90 minutes.
Watch this guide about what happens at the practical test from DVSA.
For about 10 minutes of the test you’ll drive independently: your examiner will ask you to follow signs or give you directions to reach a destination. This is so you can show you’ll be able to drive safely on your own after you’ve passed your test.
Instructor on test
If there are enough seats in your vehicle’s cab, you’re allowed to take your instructor with you on your test. It’s useful to have your instructor with you: they can help you work on any problems the examiner notices, either to help you pass next time if you fail the test or to sort out any minor faults. Having someone you know with you can also help you to stay calm during the test.
Almost everyone gets nervous about taking a driving test: you’ve done lots of preparation and you really want to pass, especially if it’s going to affect your career. But to pass, you’ll need to keep your nerves under control. Here are some tips to help you:
- Do not book your test at a time when you know other stressful things are happening.
- Before the test, make sure you get a few good nights’ sleep: you’ll feel more stressed if you’re tired.
- 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 you want to talk to the examiner during the test, that’s fine – but remember that they might not say much because they do not want to distract you from your driving.
- 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.
- Be positive: focus on passing your test rather than worrying about failing it.
If you fail
After you’ve taken the practical test your examiner will tell you if you’ve passed and explain how you did.
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. 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.
If you pass
Well done! You can now get your provisional licence changed to a full licence. Your examiner will usually send your details to the DVLA so an upgraded licence can be sent to you by post. For more details about how to claim your driving test pass, see GOV.UK.
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!
If you intend to drive for a living, you’ll also need to complete your initial Driver CPC before you can transport goods.