How long will the test last?

About 40 minutes.

Note: The extended test for persons convicted of serious offences will last approximately 70 minutes.

Driving The Essential skills

Whether a new driver or an experienced motorist, this official DSA guide will help you acquire and maintain the skills necessary to keep you safe on the road. Updated to include the very latest information on Eco-Safe driving and avoiding congestion.

What will the test include?

Apart from general driving, your test will include:

  • An eyesight test (if you fail this, your test won’t continue).
  • Two questions about carrying out safety checks, while you are driving
  • Independent driving will be for 20 minutes, which may include following directions from a sat-nav

Special exercises:

You'll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • Parallel park at the side of the road
  • Park in a bay - either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.

How your driving test is assessed:

Your examiner will assess any errors you make and, depending on their degree of seriousness, record them on the Driving Test Report form. You will fail your test if you commit a serious or dangerous fault. You will also fail if you commit more than a fixed number of driving faults (previously known as minor faults).

The examiner will use the following criteria:

Driving fault – less serious, but has been assessed as such because of circumstances at that particular time. An accumulation of driving faults may result in a fail. Accumulating more than 15 driving faults will entail failure.

Serious fault – recorded when a potentially dangerous incident has occurred or a habitual driving fault indicates a serious weakness in a candidate’s driving.

Dangerous fault – recorded when a fault is assessed of having caused actual danger during the test. At the end of the test you will be offered some general guidance to explain your Driving Test Report.

What if you make a mistake during your test?

If you make a mistake, don’t worry about it as it might be a less serious driving fault and might not affect your result. However, if at any time your examiner considers your driving to be a danger to other road users they will stop your test.

What if I do something dangerous?

If at any time during your test your examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users your test won’t continue. Prepare yourself and wait until you reach the standards set before you take your test.

Click here to view Show Me/Tell Me Questions

Independent driving explained

Remember : Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills
Your practical driving test will include approximately ten minutes of independent driving.
During your test you’ll have to drive independently by either following:

  • Traffic signs.
  • A series of directions.
  • A combination of both.

To help you understand where you are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will show you a diagram.

What happens if you forget the directions

It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way – that can happen to the most experienced drivers.

Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. Driving independently means making your own decisions – this includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you’re going.

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