Learning to drive from Start to Finish
Applying for a Provisional Driving Licence
To start driving on the road you must have a signed valid provisional driving licence and be at least 17 years old except if you are receiving disability living allowance at the higher rate when you can start at 16. Form D1 is available from most post offices or can be downloaded online from
The theory test is a screen based test of two parts.The first part consists of 50 multiple choice questions in which you must get at least 43 correct. Don't worry as you will have 57 minutes to finish this part of the test -plenty of time. If you prepare well you will pass comfortably. You are allowed a three minute break without leaving your seat before starting the second part which is the hazard perception test. On the screen you will see real life traffic situations as if you were driving .There will be 14 separate clips with 15 scorable hazards in total. To score you must click on the computer mouse as soon as a hazard starts to develop which you may have to change speed or direction for .The sooner you click, the more points you will score up to a maximum of 5 for each hazard and you must achieve a total of at least 44 out of 75 to pass this part.This part lasts about 20 mins.
Both parts must be passed in one sitting.
Theory Test Study Material
Since 23rd January 2012 the exact questions are not published .This is to ensure candidates have a deeper understanding of the rules of the road and to help them to apply the rules in practice. The following are recommended reading: The Highway Code; Know Your Traffic Signs; Driving-The Essential Skills; Theory Test Questions and Answers for Car Drivers.
If the methods which are used on lessons are used privately, this can consolidate/accelerate learning and lead to a better prepared candidate on test and a safer driver after test. Therefore I would recommend as much private practice as possible. However, keep the practice relevant-if your weakness is town driving then centre your practice in town.
The examiner will need to see your documents before starting, so remember your driving licence your theory test pass certificate and appointment letter/booking reference number/confirmation e-mail. You will then be asked if you want anyone to accompany you on the test - this is usually your instructor and if you would like them to attend the debrief at the end of the test .
Next is the eyesight test where you will be asked to read a registration plate from a set distance. If you need spectacles or contact lenses to do this you must also wear these when driving. Then you will be asked two vehicle safety check questions before starting to drive.
The drive will take you on various types of roads with varying speed limits covering different types of junctions ,hazards and traffic situations and will take approximately 38-40 minutes . Also included will be a manouevre, a section of independent driving and possibly the emergency stop as well as parking and moving away.
When you have got back to the test centre you will be told the result and given a debrief where you will be told of any weaknesses in your driving which need to be worked on.
From 4th December 2017 the practical driving test is changing. The test will remain 38-40 minutes long and will still be marked in the same way. However, it will no longer include the turn in the road or the left reverse manouevres. 4 out of 5 candidates will be expected to drive independently for 20 minutes following the instructions given by a satelite navigation system. 1 out of 5 will drive independently whilst following direction signs. Also, candidates will be asked to pull up on the right hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic, reverse back a couple of car lengths and then move away again safely returning back to the left hand side of the road and driving on.
The manouevres will be either a parallel park by the roadside, a reverse into a parking bay or they will be asked to drive forwards into a bay on the right or left then reverse out without touching any bays behind and then drive on. 1 out of 3 candidates will still be asked to do an emergency stop as well.
The tell me question will still be asked before starting the drive but the show me question will be asked while on the move.
Cancelling a Test
At least three clear working days notice must be given to cancel a test without losing your booking fee.
Life after you have passed your Driving Test !
Well done, you have passed your test! But remember however few driving faults you got on test, you are still very vulnerable.The statistics don't lie -there are a disproportionate number of novice drivers(mainly 17-24 year olds) involved in road traffic accidents, so keep using the safe driving techniques you have learnt. They aren't just for the test, use them for life. View the test as a starting point and why not take some training after your test to broaden your experience -maybe Pass Plus or motorway tuition perhaps.
It could lead to an insurance discount!