The Practical Test

Your practical driving test will be roughly 40 minutes long and will
cover a wide range of roads and traffic situations.

What To Expect On The Day

Your practical driving test will be roughly 40 minutes long and will cover a wide range of roads and traffic situations. You’ll be asked to carry out one manoeuvre and a ten minute independent driving section, you may also be asked to perform a controlled stop.

You will begin your practical driving test with an eyesight check. You should be able to read a number plate from 20.5 meters, if you’re unable to then the examiner will not continue with the test. Here we will assume that you have been successful in reading the number plate and therefore continue on to where you will be asked two vehicle safety questions. These are basic checks that a driver should carry out routinely, ensuring that the vehicle is safe for use.

As vehicle technology advances, some cars are fitted with electronic diagnostic systems which will tell you the engine fluid levels and tyre pressures. It’s absolutely fine to refer to the diagnostic system (if fitted) when responding to the vehicle safety questions.

Once you’re in the car, the examiner will give you a brief explanation of the driving test and then you’re ready to roll!

What The Practical Test Includes

The practical driving part of the test will last roughly 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be expecting an overall safe standard of driving, including any time that you are performing a manoeuvre.

You are allowed up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test. (16 faults or more will result in a failure.) If you commit one serious or dangerous fault during your practical driving test, then you will fail.

During the test your examiner will direct you.  If at any point you are unsure about where to go or what you are being asked to do, just ask and they will repeat or explain their instruction. It is your practical driving test and you are paying for it, so make the most of the time available to show your examiner just how good you are!

Independent Driving Section

During your practical driving test, your examiner will ask you to park. They will then explain the independent driving section of your test. You will be asked either to follow the road signs and marking to a destination chosen by the examiner, or the examiner will show you a diagram of where they want you to go at the next 3 roundabouts (for example.)

This is not a test of your local area knowledge, you are simply being asked to follow the road signs.  If your examiner wants to change the destination then they will tell you in good time and if the road signs are poor or not clearly visible, then the examiner will help you. If there are no road signs for your destination, simply follow the road ahead or the ‘all routes’ sign. Don’t worry if you become lost, your examiner will direct you. If you’re unsure where to go or have forgotten, just ask the examiner to repeat their instruction.

If you know that you’re going the wrong way and it’s too late to change course, just go the wrong way. Apologise to your examiner and they will direct you back on course!

You will not fail for going the wrong way. The only thing you will be marked on throughout the entire test is any driver faults you commit. Just remember to breathe, stay calm and drive with confidence!

When you book your practical driving test, there is a section asking if you have any special needs. Complete this if necessary. Examiners are very experienced and will adapt the test to suit your needs.


You will be asked to carry out one of the following:

  • Turn in the road
  • Left reverse
  • Parallel parking
  • Bay parking (this is always carried out in the test centre car park)

You must show good all-round observation and control of the car when completing any of these manoeuvres.

It’s possible that you’ll be asked to carry out an emergency stop at some point during your practical driving test. The emergency stop is an exercise, if you’re asked to do one you will still have to do a manoeuvre as well. The examiner will ask you to park and then brief you on this before asking you to complete the emergency stop. You have to stop the car as if a small child has stepped out in front of you. Don’t mess about, stop the car!

The most important thing to remember throughout your practical driving test, is to drive the way your instructor has taught you. If you make a mistake, don’t worry! It may only result in a minor fault. Just continue your test and take each minute at a time, before you know it you’ll be back at the test centre and hopefully will have passed!

End Of The Test

When the test is finished, your examiner will tell you whether you’ve passed or failed. You can ask them for a debrief and they will go through your performance during the test.

The examiner will ask you whether you want your instructor to listen to the debrief, you need to answer yes. Whilst the examiner is in the car they are in charge and your instructor can only approach the car at the end of the test if invited by the examiner.

The Standard Needed To Pass

Every examiner is fully trained to carry out a driving test fairly and mark every pupil to the same standard. There are no pass or fail quotas. Just drive to the standard that your driving instructor has taught you and you will pass.

The price of the practical driving lesson is £62.

Our nearest test centre is in Newton Abbot.

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