Below is an explanation of the theory test, practical test and Pass Plus. This will be changing this year, watch this space!
The theory is a computer based test for which you should spend as much time as you can revising for it.
The practical test is a supervised test, with an examiner not with your instructor or the person who taught you.
The Theory Test is made up of two parts; the multiple choice part and the hazard perception part. You need to pass both parts to pass the theory test. Once you have passed the theory test you can then apply to take your practical driving test.
The theory test consists of a multiple choice element and a hazard perception element. In the multiple choice element there are 50 questions and you have 57 minutes to answer them. The pass mark is 43 correct out of 50. It will cover; Alertness, Attitude, Safety and Your Vehicle, Safety Margins, Hazard Awareness, Vulnerable Road Users, Other Types of Vehicle, Vehicle Handling, Motorway Rules, Rules of the Road, Road & Traffic Signs, Documents, Accidents, and Vehicle Loading. Also a written passage based on a case study that you will have read and then answer 5 questions on it. This will not affect the cost or duration of your theory test.
In the hazard perception element there are 14 video clips and 15 scored developing hazards (one of the clips contains two developing hazards to watch out for). Each video clip lasts 1 minute and you only get to view it once. A developing hazard is classed as something which requires the driver to either change speed, direction or stop. You are marked on how quickly you spot the developing hazards, 0 (too soon), 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 (too late).
If you have any special needs or difficulties with English then help is available. You can apply for additional time when booking the test. You also can choose to listen to the text being read in English through a headset which should help those with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. The only other language available is Welsh. A video of the test in British Sign Language is also available on screen for candidates who are deaf or have other hearing difficulties.
You will be given your results to the hazard perception test and the multiple choice test before you leave the test centre. REMEMBER - You need to have passed both tests on the same day to receive your theory pass certificate.
Your results will include feedback about any topic areas in which you answered questions and hazards incorrectly.
The Practical Driving Test
is straightforward and has been designed to see if you: Can operate a car on your own in competent and safe manner; know The Highway Code and can demonstrate this through your driving. What will the test include?
The test will firstly include an eyesight test (if you fail this, your test will not continue).
After the eyesight test you will be asked to answer two show me, tell me questions. (See Learning Zone sub menu.) If you answer one or both questions incorrectly your will incur a minor driving fault. You will then be examined on your general driving and on one reversing exercise. The reversing exercise will be chosen from:
reversing around a corner, turning in the road, paralell parking and bay parking.
You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise. So you may have an extra manoeuvre to do, however you can only have one of the parking manoeuvres, bay or reverse, to do. Not both. You will have to do three "stop & start" exercises: hill start, angled start & normal start.
For the Independent Driving part of the test click on the update - independent driving tab on the menu.
A driving test takes about 38-42 minutes.
During the driving test the examiner will give you directions which you should follow. Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions. During the test, the examiner will ask you to carry out the set exercises. Throughout the test you should drive in the way you've been taught to. If you make a mistake, don't worry about it, it might be a less serious driving fault and may not affect your result. The examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving. You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit one serious or dangerous fault you will fail the test. If at any time your examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users or pedestrians your test will be stopped, this is normally after two "dangerous" faults are recorded, the examiner will tell you the reasons and seriousness of your fault, ask you to switch off the engine and then walk back to the test centre. You may accompany them, lock the car or remain with the car. However if you decide to stay with the car remember you cannot drive it until your instructor arrives back to you. Driving your own car unsupervised is an offence, likewise driving your instructors car also includes taking without permission. Both are serious offences.
The examiner is only there to observe you and your driving not to intimidate or pass judgment on you. They are not there to make you fail. During the test the examiner will give you directional instructions you cannot fail for failing to follow these directions providing what you do is correct and follows road markings, signs etc.
To book your test you can follow these links:
http://www.direct.gov.uk/drivingtest or call 0300 200 1122
PASS PLUS is a training scheme for new drivers. It's much more than just a few extra lessons. This specially designed course by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), with the help of insurers and the driving instruction industry helping you gain valuable driving experience safely you will be taught how to deal with a wide range of road and traffic situations, many of which you probably encountered before but as a learner.
Fees for the Pass Plus course will be £135 for the 6 hour course. When you have successfully completed the course, check available discounts offered by the insurance companies taking part in the scheme. The amount you save will depend on the company you choose, you may even save more than you paid for the course, however PASS PLUS is not just about cheap insurance, it's about taking extra training to improve your driving ability. It consists of six practical modules which cover driving in town, in all weathers, on rural roads, at night, on dual carriageways and on motorways. Most of which you may have already done on your lessons but on a Pass Plus session it will be on more unfamiliar roads. There is no test at the end of it - your driving will be continually assessed and you must successfully complete all the modules in the course to an achieved or exceeded standard: achieved - successfully reached the standard required for each of the competencies. Exceeded - exceeds the required standard for each module. Don't worry if you haven't got a car at the moment, you may be able to defer the discount for up to two years. Again, check with your insurance company.
Pass Plus isn't the only post test training you can take part in. The Institute of Advanced Motorists, RoSPA and the DIAmond Advanced Test all provide further training and a test to assess your increased ability, only some are recognised by insurers but all make you a better driver. There are also driver development training courses which also include skid pan, vehicle maintenance and hazard awareness training.