Test Q&A & Myths

“They’re putting the minimum age of driving up to 18 or 21 soon” This is a popular rumour that does the rounds every year at colleges and universities. It’s not true and there are currently no plans at all to increase the minimum age of learners. It’s often started by big schools that feed out false information to panic people into booking lessons before the age goes up.

“Can you show me the test route I’ll go on?” There is not just one test route. Examiners do not spend all day driving the same route, it’s just made up as you go. For 10 minutes of the test you have to plan your own route, the examiner will only tell you roughly which direction to head in and you must find your own way. For example, they may just say “Head towards Bell Green” or “Take the 3rd right, 2nd left and then go to football stadium”.
There are a few “routes” that examiners follow or do the same each time just to make it easier but it doesn’t mean you’ll stick to that route. It wouldn’t help to know the routes anyway because a road is never the same twice with different traffic, weather and hazards.

It will only take me about 30 / 40 lessons to pass According to official statistics (DSA), the average number of hours professional tuition it takes to pass the UK driving test is 45 plus 22 hours private practice.
Note – this is not a recommended number, this is the actual average number. An average is just that; some people take much more, some people take much less, it all depends on the individual. 

“If I go the wrong way on test will I fail?” Not necessarily. If the examiner asks you to turn right but you did not hear and remained in the left lane either signal and go left or go straight – he cannot fail you when you have not done anything wrong nor have you confused other road users

“Does it have to be a small car?” Simply no you can learn to drive in any car make or model – it does not even have to have duel pedals although would strongly recommend.

Can my instructor come with me on test ? Yes its a could idea that way your instructor can visual see where you went wrong and work in that particular area for your next test. Sometimes you also get an examiner assessing your examiner. Nothing for you to worry about though it can be a good thing.

“I want an instructor with a high pass rate because then I’m more likely to pass” Pass rates do not necessarily mean a great deal, for one students can get no proof directly.  If an instructor says their pass rate is 80% or 90%, how do you know? Lots of schools claim “The highest pass rates!” or “Excellent pass rates!” but can they prove it? Ask for proof and see!

If you look closely into the small print of people who claim 90% or 100% pass rates you will see false claims as they often only include the people that went on to pass with them and say nothing about the people who went elsewhere or quit.
All this just shows how silly pass rates are, they can be manipulated and made up so easily that they aren’t worth anything.

“Because I live in a certain town I have to do my test there ?” Not true you can take your test in any town/city you wish as long as you are happy to pay the instructor for the tuition. Driving instructors should not refuse based on the fact that they do not normally cover that area.

“If you cross your hands on the wheel or stall then you fail instantly” No you don’t. Crossing your hands isn’t marked on a test, it hasn’t been for decades. So long as you are comfortable and remain in control of the steering at all times then it does not matter if you cross your hands when steering? The paragraph below is a quote from an assistant chief driving examiner.

“Learners can steer the car using whatever method they’re most comfortable with. We always used to recommend the ‘push-pull’ method, but it was never essential. We’re more concerned about the outcome than the method a learner uses to steer the vehicle.”
Stalling is not a problem so long as you don’t stall when pulling out on to a major junction or stall repeatedly. Of course by the time you go for a test you shouldn’t be stalling at all but driving test nerves can often cause problems like this.

“The examiners are all mean old men who don’t speak and want you to fail” Examiners are just human like the rest of us. They have good days and bad days but they’re generally nice people. The test isn’t done in complete silence either, the examiner may often ask you things about yourself or your job to put you at ease. Many people are often surprised at just how nice the examiner was on their test. They aren’t all men, women do the job too and examiners ages range from 21 upwards and well into their 60’s.

“The test can be cut short by the examiner” This one is true, if you are driving too dangerously then the examiner has to pull you over and stop the test. This is known in the trade as a “walk back” because the examiner is not insured to drive the car and has to walk back to the test centre, even if they are miles away. This very rarely ever happens but it has been known. It will not make you popular because instructors then have to walk to wherever you are and cancel lessons if they’re late, examiners also have to cancel tests because of it.

“If I book the test then my instructor has to take me because I’ve paid for it.” It is the responsibility of the person who books the test to provide a car, nobody else’s. If an instructor refuses the use of their car for a test because they feel that you have deteriorated or are not ready they can do this. They are not obliged either to give you a refund.  Your test may cost £62 or more but our cars cost £15,000+ . You can’t just turn up and have a go just for the sake of it or a trial run. We will assess you and let you know when we feel you have a very good chance of passing the stringent requirements set by the DSA.

“It’s good to drive as slow as you can to show you’re being careful” Driving too slowly and being too hesitant is the official number 1 reason that people fail tests. Driving slowly gives the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing and can’t handle the car. You don’t want to speed and be reckless but driving slowly will only result in you failing. You should drive as you normally do on lessons according to the road conditions at the time, don’t change anything. If you are constantly stopping at give way lines and letting everyone else go first all the time then it can be dangerous and annoying to other road users.