What happens on practical test day?
We've put together some information about what happens on the day of your practical test. We hope you find this information useful!
Things to remember to bring to your test:
- Driving licence
- Theory test pass certificate (if you can find it)
- Glasses (if you wear them)
- A drink
Remember to eat something beforehand! Bananas are good brain food for tests 😊
Side note - on your booking confirmation email you are told to bring your driving licence and theory test pass certificate. Pupils are rarely asked to produce their theory pass certificate to the examiner on test, however we wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't tell you to at least try and find it. If you can find it, brilliant. If you can't, don't worry too much.
Please see the coronavirus changes to the driving test at the bottom of this page.
Your instructor will pick you up an hour before your test (unless you have agreed you would like a longer or shorter pre-test lesson). They will ask to see your driving licence to ensure that you have it on you – so many students forget their licence, or even bring someone else’s licence! If you forget your licence, the driving test will be cancelled and you will lose your driving test fee.
You will have a lesson with your instructor, going over any last minute things you wish to do. Some students like to go for a drive, some like to go to McDonalds and get a coffee! This is YOUR time and you can spend it however you wish. Your instructor will direct you to the test centre around 10-15 minutes before the start time of your test.
If you are more than 10 minutes early, you will wait outside the test centre. This is a good time to go over the show me tell me questions, or just to take some deep breaths before the test. Your instructor will then direct you into the test centre car park, and you will reverse park into a bay.
Follow your instructor into the waiting room inside the test centre, and take a seat. Ensure you have your licence on you!
The examiner will come out, call your name, introduce themselves, check your licence, and ask you to sign the declaration on the iPad they use, which confirms that you have lived in the UK for the past 185 days and that the car you are using for the test is insured – rest assured that all of our instructors have the appropriate insurance for tests.
The examiner will ask you if you would like your instructor to sit in on the test. This is something you will have discussed with your instructor in previous lessons. If you say no, the examiner will ask if you would like your instructor to join you at the end of the test for the debrief – this is useful so that your instructor can listen to any faults and feedback from the examiner, which will help your instructor to help you later on. If you say yes, your instructor will follow you and the examiner outside.
The examiner will take you outside and ask you to read a number plate from 20.5 metres. If you fail the eyesight test, you will automatically fail the driving test. You will not be allowed to take the test, and you will lose your driving test fee.
After passing the eyesight test, they will then ask you to sit in the car and get set up (seat belt, etc), but NOT to start the engine. The examiner will make some basic checks on the car to ensure it’s roadworthy and legal, and they will join you in the car.
The examiner will set up the sat nav if required and they’ll explain what will happen on the test. The examiner will ask you a ‘tell me’ question and then ask you to drive on – don’t forget to start the engine!
The examiner will give clear directions in good time, and ask you to pull up on the left a few times throughout the test – this is completely normal.
You will be asked to follow a sat nav or road signs as part of the independent driving for 20 minutes. Sat navs are used in 4 out of 5 tests. The examiner will tell you when the independent driving section starts and finishes.
You will be asked to complete one manoeuvre during the test. This could be at the beginning of the test before you leave the test centre car park, during the test on the route, or at the end of the test as you come back into the test centre car park.
You may be asked to complete an emergency stop. This happens on 1 in 3 tests.
You will be asked one ‘show me’ question whilst driving.
You will drive for around 40 minutes and the examiner will direct you back to the test centre. If you have not yet completed a manoeuvre, you will complete a reverse bay park as you come back into the car park. If you have completed a manoeuvre, you will be asked to pull forward into any bay, and you will not be marked for it as a manoeuvre.
The examiner will ask you to turn the engine off and bare with them whilst they complete their forms on the iPad. If your instructor waited at the test centre, they will join you by the car – open your door so that your instructor can listen to the debrief. Otherwise, your instructor will already be in the back of the car, so will be able to listen to the debrief too.
The examiner will tell you whether you have passed or failed and they will explain why. They will explain any serious or dangerous faults, and a brief explanation of any driving faults. As your instructor is listening to the debrief, they can help you understand these faults in more detail later on, and you can review any dash cam footage with your instructor afterwards.
If you have failed, the examiner will mark the test report on the iPad accordingly, send you a copy via email, wish you luck, and leave the car.
If you have passed, the examiner will mark the test report on the iPad accordingly, and you’ll be emailed the test report. They will give you a pass certificate and a promotional booklet. You have the option of giving your provisional licence to the examiner and they can send it directly to the DVSA to be exchanged for a full driving licence. This will arrive to you by post. If your address is wrong on your licence, or you need your licence for anything in the next 2 weeks or so, tell the examiner you would like to keep your licence, and you can send your licence off yourself to be exchanged for a full driving licence at a later date – be aware that you need to do this within 2 years, otherwise your pass certificate becomes invalid. You can drive using your pass certificate straight away, you do not need to wait for your full driving licence to come through the post.
Your driving instructor will drive you home. Whether you have passed or failed, emotions will be running high, and it isn’t safe for you to drive home. Take all the time you need to debrief with your instructor, talk about the faults that occurred, and review any dash cam footage if available.
If you have passed, remember that your instructor will always be here for you in the future, if you decide you need refresher lessons, lessons to get used to your new car, or would like motorway lessons - even if you'd just like to send us pictures of your new car and tell us how you're getting on! We'd love to hear from you!
If you have failed, make a plan with your instructor before you leave the car. Make a plan as to what you'd like to do - you may want to take a break from driving for a little while, or you may decide to carry on your weekly/fortnightly lessons, and you may decide to book another test straight away. You cannot take another test for 10 working days, however you can book another test almost immediately once the examiner has updated the system.
We hope this helps you understand what will happen on your driving test day! If you have any other questions or concerns about the driving test, please talk to your instructor!
- Don’t second guess the result! What you may think is a fail, may have only been marked as a driving fault, or maybe not even marked at all!
- Safe! Remember the examiner is looking for a safe drive – it doesn’t have to be perfect! If you’re unsure, ask yourself ‘is what I’m about to do safe, and/or necessary?’
- Get lost! We don’t mean that in a rude way! :P If you find yourself in the wrong lane at a roundabout or junction etc – go the wrong way, go and get lost! It’s much safer to go the wrong way and get lost, than it is to try and still go the ‘correct’ way in the ‘wrong’ lane. It's the examiner's responsibility to bring you back on route again.
- This is your test – if you need to stop for a minute and take a breather, this is more than allowed! Just let the examiner know you need to pull over – and ensure you pull over safely (checking mirrors, signalling if necessary etc), and that you pull over in a safe, convenient and legal place.
- Ask your instructor if it’s possible to do a mock test with them before your real test, and ask if you’re able to do a mock test with another instructor! This is brilliant for getting used to different people being sat next to you, and will help you understand how you may feel under the pressure of the real test. All of our DKM instructors are happy to do mock tests with other students, where our availability allows us :)
Coronavirus changes to the practical test
- You must wear a mask throughout your driving test (unless you are exempt)
- You will not be allowed into the waiting room - you must wait with your instructor beside your car at the beginning of the test
- Your instructor will not be allowed to sit in during your driving test
- The examiner will be wearing masks and gloves
- The examiner will wipe down all touch points before getting into the car
- The car must be clean (this is your instructor's responsibility)
- Windows must be left open a few inches throughout the test to allow for ventilation
- The examiner will not handle your licence, they will ask you to put it on the dashboard for them to see
- The examiner will ask you to sign a piece of paper to confirm your signature. You will keep this piece of paper
- The testing criteria remains the same
- If you commit more than 15 driver faults, or commit a serious or dangerous fault, the examiner will end the test and return you back to the test centre early. This is to avoid spending longer than necessary in the car with the examiner