Even the most confident people around can find themselves experiencing a feeling of trepidation when the time comes to take their driving test, especially if they have never done it before. The lessons are done, the instructor is confident in your ability to get your licence, and everything is in place for success. Even then, it never feels like a sure thing. Any dips in confidence can have an impact on your performance in the test too, and you may well find yourself not passing even though you really are capable of doing precisely that. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to prepare properly for a driving test, and if you know that you have done everything possible to succeed, any anxiety will soon disappear.
1. Arrive on Time
The last feeling you want when being tested for anything is to feel rushed. If you are late for your test, you may even lose your appointment and the fee paid. In milder circumstances, arriving without enough time to prepare can affect your mental approach to the test ahead. Turning up between 10 and 15 minutes before the test should be more than enough time to get in the zone, without risking waiting around too long.
2. Have One Last Lesson Before the Test
One of the best things to hear from any driving instructor is that you are ready to take the test. By having an extra lesson just before the test, you can go over any last-minute questions, get into the mood for driving rather than a cold start, and hear those reassuring words one more time.
3. Bring Everything you Need
Documentation varies depending on the country in which the test is being taken, but there will be some items that you need to have with you before the test can begin. In the UK, this entails the theory test past certificate and your provisional driving licence. There will rarely be opportunities to collect these items if they are not already present, and that can lead to the cancellation of the test. There are generally no refunds and long waiting lists, so missing out for this reason can be massively disappointing.
4. Take the Test in Your Instructor’s Car
Even though any test car has to meet certain standards for testing purposes, there is some flexibility, and it should not be out of the question to take the test in the car in which you took your lessons. These cars generally exceed basic testing requirements by a long way, and the benefits are numerous. You will not risk picking up faults while finding the biting point, and you will have no trouble with pointing out various features on the car when requested, such as the fog lights and wipers. Incidentally, those last-minute questions on your final lesson, outlined above, will often involve ensuring you know all there is to know about the vehicle.
5. Bring Your Instructor on the Test
In most countries, it is possible to bring someone else with you on your test, and there are few better options than your instructor. They may even demand to tag along if you have opted to use their car, but it is a fantastic idea to do so. You will naturally feel more comfortable as the person that has been there for the majority of your driving experience is there too. Also, if you do happen to fail your test, they will have seen for themselves the areas in which you were not perfect and can address those issues with further lessons.
6. Stay Calm and Ask Questions
If your instructor has said that it is the right time for the test, then the mechanics of driving are there, and you need not worry. Much of the test ends up being mental and losing your cool while driving can lead to you doing something wrong that you normally have no problems with. Be cool, and do not be afraid to ask questions, such as requesting that the tester repeats instructions if you did not hear them clearly.
7. Never Assume You Have Failed the Test
Unless you cause a pile-up or get pulled over by the police, you never really know when you have failed your test. These tests are designed with some wiggle-room, and you will have noticed while out on the roads that there is no such thing as a perfect driver. If you do make a small error, it is important to forget about it as the feeling of imminent failure can cause yet more mistakes. Do as you would if you were driving alone and let the moment pass.
8. Put some Thought into the Testing Centre Location
You can take your test at any test centre, and it is worth familiarising yourself with the nature of the test prior to choosing one. If you struggle with certain road layouts or manoeuvres, it is worth choosing a centre where they are kept to the minimum. There is a balance to be struck here, as it makes sense to make the test as easy as possible, but you do not want to do something that will undermine your confidence when driving alone.
9. Test Potential Routes
It would be a little too easy if every test from a specific centre followed the same route and your tester will give instructions according to traffic and conditions on the day. However, there are only so many roads in the testing area, and it is worth familiarising yourself with all of them when you have chosen the centre for you.
10. Practice in as many Conditions as Possible
Weather reports are pretty accurate, but you never know what you might encounter on the test. Be comfortable in the sun and rain and know what to do in extraordinary circumstances such as diversions and heavy traffic. If you are ready for anything, it is hard to fail.