Prepare for your practical driving test

When you come to take your practical driving test, the day should contain no surprises.

You already know how the practical driving test is structured and you’ll have been given ample opportunity to prepare and practise every aspect. Your instructor will have suggested you apply for your practical test only if you’re definitely ready for it, so there’s no need to be nervous; if you are, check out our page on dealing with pre-test nerves.

Things need to start well before your test; you need to get a decent night’s sleep. That’s easier said than done if you’re apprehensive, but try to relax and ensure you’re not tired when you turn up for your test.

Start your test day with some breakfast, as it’ll help your brain to function and give you much-needed energy. Even if it’s just a slice of toast, it’ll help. When choosing your clothes for the day, wear something that makes you feel comfortable. Also dress reasonably smartly, to give a good impression – but don’t dress provocatively.

Get to the test centre in good time. You’re much better sitting at the test centre for ages than hanging around at home fretting – only to get to the centre late because of a traffic jam. If you get to the centre late, you’ll miss your slot and it’s game over. The examiner has a stack of other candidates to fit into their day; they can’t juggle their schedule to suit you.

Make sure you take your documentation with you. That means your theory test pass certificate (or confirmation) if you’re not exempt, and your photo card licence. Without these, you can't take your test.

For the duration of the test, make sure you listen intently to the examiner. Don’t be afraid to ask to hear instructions again, but if you ask for everything to be repeated three or four times, it’s going to get pretty tiresome.

The key is to remember that the examiner isn’t asking you to be superhuman – only to prove that you’re a safe, competent driver. To have got this far you must be ready for driving solo, or your instructor wouldn’t have told you that you’re ready to take your test – so you’re definitely up to it.

Find out how to book your Practical test here