The Practical Driving Test.

Your driving test will start with an eyesight check and some vehicle safety questions.

You will then start your practical driving test which will include some specific manoeuvres. You will be asked to drive for 10 minutes without any route directions (independant Driving). After the Test, you will be given your result.

The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes; you will bedriving for about 35/38 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving and manoeuvres. You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test: 16 or more results in failure. If you commit a serious or a dangerous fault you will fail the test. An accumulation of minor faults in the same category may also result in a fail.

The driving test is straightforward and has been designed to see if you can drive safely and demonstrate a knowledge of The Highway Code.

Your test vehicle

The vehicle you intend to drive must be legally roadworthy, have a current MOT certificate (if applicable) and be fully covered by insurance for its present use and for you to drive.  Hired cars are unlikely to be insured for driving tests.

Your test vehicle should also display a valid tax disc and L-plates to the front and the rear. Your vehicle must also have a properly fitted head restraint and a fully functioning seat belt fitted to the front passenger seat, and an additional interior rear-view mirror for suitable use by the examiner. If you overlook any of the above your test may be cancelled and you will lose your fee. However, if you are using the LDC Driving School Car, you can be confident all these requirements will be in order. The DSA examiner will refuse to conduct the test if he can smell cigarette smoke in the vehicle. All LDC Driving School Cars are Non Smoking.

At the test centre 

You must take the following items with you to the test centre:

  • Your Theory Test pass certificate;
  • Both parts of your signed photocard driving licence or your signed driving licence and your passport.
  • Your test appointment confirmation letter or email.
  • It is extremely important that you arrive in good time at the test centre so that the above documents can be checked. If you arrive after the start time you may not be allowed to sit the test and you will lose your test fee.

    At the start of the test your examiner will introduce himself to you and ask to see your driving licence. As he/she is checking your documents, you will be asked to sign a declaration confirming that (1) the vehicle is insured for you to drive and (2) you are a UK resident. After satisfying himself that your documents are in order they will be returned to you. Take them with you on the test - you may need them at the end.

    Your examine will ask you if you would like your instructor to accompany you on the test. The benefits are: if you feel nervous, this may help you relax, having a familiar face with you. If things go wrong and you do not pass the test, your instructor will see exactly what went wrong and will be able to help you prepare for he next test.  The one downside is: if you feel a bit nervous, you may feel under extra pressure TWO people watching your driving instaed of just one. Whether to take your instructor with you on test is a personal decesion: do not be swayed by what your instructor wants or what you thing the examiner wants. This is YOUR test; you make a desision based on what would help you drive safely and pass the test. If you decide to taake your instructor on test, he will be there as an observer only; he will not take part in any way during the test. If you decide not to take youe instructor, the examiner will ask you if you would like him present at the end to listen to the result and the debrief. Whatever you desidem the examiner will ask you to lead the way out to th car.

    Eyesight Check

    The Driving Test will start with an eyesight check (if you fail this, your test will not continue). The eyesight test requires you to read a number plate at a distance of 20.5 metres; approximately 67 feet or 5 car lengths.  If you need glasses or corrective lenses to meet the requirements, no problem, as long as you wear them every time you drive.

    Vehicle Safety Questions (Show me / Tell me)

    These are basic safety checks that a driver should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use. Although some checks may involve the candidate opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, you will not be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check fluid levels.

    Candidates will be asked two questions - one “show me” and one “tell me”. One or both questions answered incorrectly will result in one driving fault being recorded.

    The questions that are used by the examiner are as follows:

    Open the bonnet and identify (show me)

    • where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil?
    • where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level?
    • where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level?
    • where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid?


      Tell me how you would check that the

      • brake lights are working on this car?

      • brakes are working before starting a journey?

      • tyres have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road?

      Tell me where you would find

      • the information for the recommended tyre pressure for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked?

      Show me how you would check the

      • headlights & taillights are working?

      • direction indicators are working?

      • horn is working (off road only)?

      • handbrake for excessive wear?

      • power assisted steering is working before starting a journey?

      During the test?

      The DSA examiners know that taking a driving test can be a stressful time and they will do their best to put you at ease. Try to relax and drive the way you have been taught.

      During the test, you will be given directions as to which road to take. Listen carefully to these directions. You will be told to follow the road ahead, unless traffic signs or the examiner directs otherwise. When they want you to turn, they will give instructions in plenty of time. Ask the examiner to clarify any instructions you are not sure about. Do not worry if you take a wrong turning; this is a test of your driving ability, not one to see if you can follow directions. As long as you drive safely, you will be directed back onto the correct route.

      Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions.
      The DSA moto, SAFE DRIVING FOR LIFE, sets the standard for the Practical Test. The examiner will be looking for a safe standard of driving overall. If the examiner can see you are a safe driver, he/she will give you your licence so that you can go on to become a good driver. However, if at any time your examiner considers you to be a danger to yourself or other road users, your will not pass thetest. In extreme circumstances, the test will be stopped and you will fail.

      During the test, the examiner will ask you to carry out some set exercises.


      During the test, you will be asked to carry out two of the following set manoeuvres:

      • Reverse park behind another vehicle.
      • Reverse park into a parking bay.*
      • Reverse round a corner to the Left.
      • Reverse round a corner to the Right.
      • Turn in the road.
      • *(You will only ever be asked to reverse into a parking bay at the driving test centre. If a test centre does not have its own car park then you will not be asked to do this manoeuvre.)

      The examiner also has the option to ask you to demonstrate an Emergencycy Stop.

      For 10 minutes you will also be asked to drive independantly.

      Independant Driving

      <info to follow>

      After the Practical Test

      When the driving test is over, the examiner will tell you whether you have passed or failed. 


      If you pass...

      If you pass and have a photocard driving licence issued after 1 March 2004 the examiner will ask you if you want your full driving licence issued to you automatically. If you want to use this service, the examiner will take your old licence off you, scan the details and send them electronically to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You will be given a pass certificate to prove you passed your test. DVLA will then send you your new full licence by post within four weeks of you passing your practical test.

      If you pass your test but do not want to use this automatic service, or have a licence issued before 1 March 2004, you will be given a pass certificate by the examiner. On the back of the pass certificate it tells you what you need to do next. This involves sending your licence and appropriate fee to DVLA who will then check your application and issue you with a new full licence.

      If you fail...

      If you fail the test your examiner will offer some feedback to help prepare for your next test. You may invite your instructor to be present at this debrief. You will be given a driving report form which will show you where you made mistakes. You can take another practical test 10 working days after your test.

      Driving test standards

      All examiners are trained to carry out the test to the same standard. They do not have pass or fail quotas; as long as you demonstrate the standard required you will pass your driving test.

      Weather conditions & mechanical problems

      The DSA do not conduct tests in bad light or in adverse weather conditions for the safety of the candidate and the examiner. They will arrange another appointment at no further cost, but compensation is not payable. In the event of bad weather on the day of the test, candidates should call the telephone number quoted on the appointment letter to check whether their test will go ahead.

      If the driving test is not completed for reasons attributable to you or your vehicle, you will have to take another test at your own cost.