The driving test backlog caused by the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 is still ongoing in 2023, meaning if learner drivers fail their first driving test they’re faced with waiting months for a new test date.
A new survey by driving experts Vanarama has found that one in eight drivers (12%) are prioritising theory and practical driving test revision over academic exams such as A-levels and university exams.
A further one in five (21%) of drivers said they revised the same amount of time for their theory and practical driving tests and A-levels and university exams.
To help students manage the workload of juggling driving tests and academic tests at the same time, Vanarama has given 10 expert tips to help someone pass your driving and theory test the first time.
Practical driving test tips:
1. Watch driving examiners on TikTok
In 2022, people in the UK spent on average 27.18 hours on TikTok per month according to research from Statista.
TikTok could help you pass your driving test the first time! Many driving instructors upload TikToks of their students’ mock exams and lessons for people learning to take tips from.
2. Don’t book the test centre with the shortest wait time (unless it’s your local one)
In 2023, learner drivers are still being affected by the waiting list backlog from when driving test centres were shut during the Covid-19 lockdowns. As a result, it can be tempting to book a practical test in a city you’ve never even been to before, never mind having driven there, to pass your test sooner.
However, this could hinder your chances of passing the first time. Not only will it add to nerves but it’s an advantage to know the driving test routes before taking your practical. If you take your test in the city you learned to drive in, it’s likely you’re going to have driven the route you’re taken on for your test before the actual event.
3. Keep your eyes on the road, not the examiner
It can be tempting to glance over at your examiner whilst taking your practical driving test to try and gauge what they’re thinking and noting down.
However, this could result in you failing your driving test for not concentrating on the road which could, in turn, cause you to veer off track and potentially cause an accident.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask your examiner to repeat themselves
Your nerves will most likely be running high throughout your practical exam so if you mishear or aren’t sure what the examiner has asked you to do, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat.
Rather than panicking and potentially making a mistake, this could be the difference between getting a major or passing your test.
5. Don’t immediately assume you’ve failed after a minor mistake
Overthinking and being self-critical in your practical test will cause you more harm than good. Sometimes you can be aware of a driving mistake you have made straight after doing it and assume you’ve failed your test causing you to take the rest of the test less seriously and making further errors.
However, the initial mistake may have just been a minor or not a fault at all, resulting in you self-sabotaging your test.
Theory test tips:
6. Get an app so you can revise on the go
Finding time to revise your theory amongst academic test revision can be difficult.
However, if you download a theory test revision app, you can revise on the go. For example, if you take a train or bus as part of your daily routine, use that journey time to take mock tests on the app and save home revision time for academic tests.
7. Practice whilst you’re a passenger of a vehicle
Although the theory test is taken on a computer, you can use your time as a passenger of a vehicle, whether it’s a friend or family member’s car or a bus, to test your knowledge on road signs you’re driving past and spot hazards on the road.
If you’re with someone, you can ask them to test you using real-life scenarios happening on the road.
8. Don’t take a wild guess, flag difficult questions instead
If you come across a difficult question whilst taking your theory test, don’t take a wild guess or spend too much time trying to think of the answer, flag the question instead so you can come back to it at the end. It could be that one of the questions following it will jog your memory or, if you have spare time at the end, you can think more about it to make a more educated guess.
9. Don’t waste your 15 minutes of practice time
Before your test officially begins, you get 15 minutes of practice time to ensure you can fix any potential problems before you start. Although this is optional, we highly recommend you take this time. Once the test begins, you won’t be able to ask for any help.
10. Don’t forget your provisional licence
Last but not least, don’t forget your provisional license. If you don’t bring this with you for your test, you will not be able to sit the exam and lose your deposit. You will also need to rebook your test which, depending on the waiting list times, could be weeks or months.