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The Practical Test

Your driving test will start with an eyesight check. You must be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres. If you can't, you will fail the test.

Following this you will be asked two questions from the Show Me, Tell Me question bank. Fail to answer either question correctly and you will score one minor fault.

The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving, including when you are carrying out the set exercises. You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit a serious or dangerous fault you will fail the test.

You will have to perform one of the following reversing exercises:

  • left reverse (reversing around a corner)
  • turning in the road
  • reverse parallel or bay parking

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is now able to offer tests outside the normal test times at a number of test centres. This provides customers a wider range of appointments over an extended working day. Practical tests are generally available at all permanent test centres. Saturday and weekday evening tests, subject to resources being available, are offered at a premium rate. Non premium rate tests are available at various times between 7.30 am and 3.27 pm Monday to Friday.

The driving test is straightforward and has been designed to see if you can drive safely and know The Highway Code and can demonstrate this through your driving.

Independent Driving
For about 10 minutes during your test you'll have to drive by either following a series of directions, traffic signs, or a combination of both. The examiner may show you a diagram to help you understand where you'll be going. It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way.

The purpose is rather to assess your ability to drive safely whilst at the same time having to make your own decisions in order to reach your target destination. This includes for example deciding when it's safe to pull over and ask for directions. Your result will not be affected unless you commit a driving fault, even if you go off the independent driving route. Sat navs are not allowed for this part of the test.

The cost of taking the practical test is £62 if taken on a week day and £75 if taken over the weekend.