one ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
one ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving
‘Tell me’ questions before you drive
1. Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey. Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.
2. Tell me where you’d find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked. Manufacturer’s guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.
3. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash. The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.
4. Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road. No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.
5. Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle. Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).
6. Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system. Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.
7. Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle. Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), and then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).
8. Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car. Explain you’d operate the brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows or doors, or ask someone to help.
9. Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey. If the steering becomes heavy, the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, 2 simple checks can be made: Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.
10. Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle. Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.
11. Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on. Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.
12. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil. Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum and maximum markers.
13. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant. Identify high and low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.
14. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid. Identify reservoir, check level against high and low markings.
‘Show me’ questions while you're driving
1. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?
2. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?
3. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?
4. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?
5. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?
6. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?
7. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?
It's all very well looking at lots of multiple choice questions, but do you really know your triangular signs from your round ones? Or your stopping distances in the wet and dry? If you're ready for your theory test you should be able to answer most of these questions. Click the question to reveal the answers:
Rapid acceleration. "Kickdown" makes an automatic car accelerate (speed up) as quickly as possible, by forcing it to select a lower gear. It is enabled by pressing the gas pedal (accelerator pedal) down quickly and hard. Automatic cars normally select high gears to save fuel and wear and tear. High gears give poor acceleration. To accelerate quickly - for example to overtake - kickdown!
It's a declaration that your car isn't being used on the road - so you don't have to pay vehicle tax. Your SORN is automatically cancelled when you tax your vehicle again or it’s sold, scrapped or permanently exported. More information
The first sign means "No Waiting" - it's the same as yellow lines along the side of the road. You can stop but only for long enough to drop a passenger off. This is normally found in urban areas. More information
The second sign means "No Stopping" and is also called a "Clearway." You can only stop for traffic jams, breakdowns, accidents or if the police tell you to. This is usually found on bigger, faster roads. A motorway is always a clearway.
Only the left. At night, you must park on the left, unless parking on a one way street, or in a recognised marked parking space. Why? It's possible that drivers might think you are parked on the left, and try to pass you on the right - and go off the road! More information
In the car. It's the law (unless there is immediate danger - e.g. the car is on fire). The driver and any passengers should wait in a safe place on the hard shoulder well away from traffic. More information
In any direction. A horse rider (or a cyclist) might use the left lane to turn right at a roundabout. It is sometimes too dangerous for them to use the right lane, as they cannot go as fast as other traffic. More information (scroll down to rule 187)
Hope you did ok. Use the contact form if you want to ask questions or suggest new questions. Thanks for looking!
Reversing is so ... backward. It can be a worry. Follow these top ten tips and you should find it a bit easier! Or take a look at this video to see what you could be up against...
Keep things in perspective Sure, you might fail a test when reversing. But how much danger are you in when going back at one mile an hour - compared to driving forward at 70 mph? How about driving on a country road you don't know on a dark, rainy night. Think of reversing on test as an opportunity to slow down and take a little time out.
Move the door mirror Especially when reversing around a corner, you need to know where the kerb is. It's OK to move the door mirror to get a good view of the back of the car and the kerb. BUT (isn't there always a but) don't stare at the door mirror. Keep looking back through the rear window for other people, and stop and check all around regularly. Oh yes, remember to put the mirror back in position when you've finished.
Pull forward to correct a mistake OK, so you're going back, and you get the feeling that your position is not good. Looking in the left door mirror you see the kerb is VERY close. You stop (of course). You're still uncertain. Then pull forward a bit. No problem. Just go far enough to be in a position to be sure. Then carry on backwards. Easy. (BUT you must look around before changing direction. It might not be safe to move at that moment). Someone I taught pulled forward on their test three times when parallel parking. Because she finished in a good position, and kept looking for other road users - she passed. No problem. (This doesn't guarantee that you will pass if you have to make three corrections, I'm afraid. Each test is judged individually.)
Don't be a perfectionist We all want to get every manoeuvre just right - every time. Real life isn't like that. Your reversing skills, and spatial awareness, will develop over time. Aim to finish each reversing task - no matter how much you have to correct it. Lots of people hate parallel park, but usually manage to get it done. As an instructor, I'm looking for people to be (relatively) relaxed, and not too bothered about what is, after all, just a small part of their set of driving skills.
Get out of the way! When you reverse around a corner into a road on the left, someone else might drive out of that road. You should stop and let them pass you. But what if they don't want to? What if they just stop and wait behind you? Easy. Give it a moment or two to make sure, then drive back to where you started (just remember to look all round for other road users first). Start the manoeuvre again when the other driver has gone. The examiner will expect you to do this without them telling you.
Try to practice in as many different places as possible Do you go to the same road every time you do a turn in the road? Always reverse around the same corner? Do you find yourself in the same car park every time you bay park? Hmmm - maybe not such a good idea. Variety is the spice of life - and reversing. Find a car park where you have to reverse between two cars, or try reversing into a road on the right for a change. If you have tried loads of different places to reverse, the examiner shouldn't be able to worry you when he says, "Just pull up next to that car, and reverse into the space behind it..."
Stop That's right, stop. Don't rush back. Stop every now and again. Take stock of your position. Look around for other people. Only move back if you are certain that your position is good. If you feel unsure of your position, or need to look around, then... stop. (I've been a driving instructor since 1987, and I've never had a learner fail their test for going too slow when reversing. Maybe if other people are waiting for you to finish a manoeuvre, you might - but it's unlikely.)
Find a big empty car park and drive around backwards for a while. You won't have to worry about kerbs and positioning so much and you will get a feel for the way the car handles going backwards. It's different from going forwards as you're steering from the opposite end of the car. Try doing some 90 degree turns, and straightening up again. Next time you attempt to reverse around a corner, you'll find this could make a big difference to your judgement.
Observation, observation, observation There are three things that matter when reversing: observation, observation, and observation. No matter how good your manoeuvre, you have to keep looking all round for other road users. When you check all round, pause. You wouldn't go forwards looking backwards, would you? So stop regularly, and have a good look for pedestrians, cyclists, cars, lorries, dogs, cats... you get the idea. Wait for other people, and let them go if they want to.
Keep the speed low - very low. If you're not happy going very slowly uphill using "clutch control," or creeping downhill using the brake, you will find reversing hard. You will often need to hold the car still on an uphill slope using the clutch. Practise low speed skills before you try a tricky manoeuvre.
The examiners are human. If you pass, there's a lot less paper work for them to complete in the office. More time for a cup of tea and a happy examiner!
Examiners don't have quotas. You stand the same chance of passing on a Friday afternoon or a Monday morning. It's all down to your driving :)
Recognise the effects of stress. You won't be able to eliminate your nerves completely (a little apprehension is not such a bad thing) but - knowledge is power
Make small talk in the waiting room. There's nothing worse than silence as those last few minutes tick by...
Ask your instructor (or whoever takes you for your test) to sit in the back of the car (the examiner will ask you if you want to be accompanied on your test). Having someone on "your side" could help you to feel at ease
Think of all the places you can visit and the fun you can have once you get that full licence
You can only fail if you stop trying. Never give up on test - no matter what happens
Don't tell everyone when your test is. Though well meaning, friends can wind you up about your imminent test
Finally, if you're well prepared, it's an easy test. It's not rocket science or brain surgery, is it?
From From 1 October 2015, private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18. So it will be an offence: for a person of any age to smoke in a private vehicle that is carrying someone who is under 18 for a driver (including a provisional driver) not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances The rules don’t apply to e-cigarettes."
All of us want to pass first time, but not everyone can. The pass rate for the whole of the UK is around 50% - so a lot of people are going to be disappointed. If you really want to fail, and get into the wrong 50%, try these top ten tips:
Be rude to the examiner Examiners do seven tests a day, five days a week, and maybe more on saturdays. They've seen it all before. Red lights ignored, speeding, reversing up kerbs, it won't surprise them. So why not make their job even harder by being rude to them? Let them give the benefit of the doubt to all those candidates who are polite and show a little respect.
Don't bother looking around when you reverse Sure, you're taking your test, but why bother checking that there are no drivers or pedestrians around? Just keep going backwards regardless. That door mirror on the left is so useful...
Approach junctions really fast, then brake at the last moment The examiner knows you are going to stop, right? And that driver behind you shouldn't have been so close, should they?
Don't get your eyesight checked Before you get into the car the examiner will check your eyesight. But why bother making sure you can read a number plate at 20.5 metres? If you can't, you've failed before even turning the key in the ignition.
Don't get any extra practice in It's a difficult and demanding test. Why make the extra effort to practise all those little weak points of yours? So what if you haven't had a lesson for the last three weeks?
Drive really slowly on national speed limit roads Everyone likes to sit behind a learner doing 20 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph, the weather and visibility fine, and the traffic is light - don't they?
Forget about checking your car Yes, it's your instructor's responsibility. But some candidates use their own car. Any problems with the car - no test. So don't worry if a bulb has blown, the tyres are damaged, and the car isn't clean and tidy inside and out.
Turn up at the test centre at the wrong time, or on the wrong day You got an email telling you the date, time and place of your test. Why not delete it immediately, hope you can remember the time and date, and turn up the day after the appointment. Or, better still, go for broke, and go to the wrong test centre. Taking the email with you on test is for those candidates who want a chance of passing, isn't it?
Don't worry about looking ahead There may be traffic lights coming up, or a pedestrian crossing, or parked cars. Who needs to check their mirrors? Or lift off the gas nice and early? Maybe even brake a little? Those other people will get out of your way when they see you coming - won't they?.
Why take your licence? This has to be the top way to waste everyone's time, and your money. It says in the appointment email to bring your licence to the test. Don't bother checking that you haven't misplaced it well before the day, and don't bother on the day. When the examiner asks to see your licence, you will be able to get home and back again in about three minutes, won't you? Otherwise you only lose your money and have to book another test...
Remember the six "P"s I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that this post is a little tongue-in-cheek. As your instructor I'll make sure none of these things are likely to happen. But you would be amazed at how many times these things actually happen to other people. Remember the six Ps - Proper Prepared Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Independent driving was introduced to the driving test in October 2010. For this, the candidate has to follow signs, instead of being given specific directions by the examiner. At the time, there was a lot of worry and uncertainty. I thought I'd put a spoof video online (I used an anonymous account). All my own work, except for the clip from the film "Downfall," of course.
Be careful when you book your theory test. There are rogue sites out there which will book your theory test, and charge you more than the correct fee. The theory test can be booked at the official site, and currently costs £25.00. Some sites will charge much more - typically £60.00 - for exactly the same service. The official theory test site is at: www.gov.uk/book-a-driving-theory-test (Incidentally, there are similar scams when applying for driving licences, passports, and European health cards).