Practical test for cars
test will start with an eyesight
check and some vehicle safety
questions. You will then start your
practical driving test which will
include some specific manoeuvres.
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 one serious or dangerous
fault you will fail the test.
The practical driving test (car)
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
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
The driving test is
straightforward and has been
designed to see if you:
- can drive safely
- know The Highway Code and
can demonstrate this through
What will the test include?
The test will include an eyesight
check (if you fail this, your test
will not continue). The eyesight
test requires you to read a number
plate that is a certain distance
away. For more information about the
eyesight check please use the
'Driving eyesight requirements' link
After the eyesight test you will
be asked two vehicle safety check
questions. You will then be examined
on your general driving and on two
reversing exercises. The reversing
exercises will be chosen from:
- reversing around a
- turning in the road
- reverse parking
You may also be asked to carry
out an emergency stop exercise.
Vehicle safety questions
These are basic safety checks
that a driver should carry out to
ensure the vehicle is safe for use.
Although some checks may involve the
candidate in opening the bonnet to
identify where fluid levels would be
checked, pupils will not be asked to
touch a hot engine or physically
check fluid levels.
As vehicle technology advances,
more and more vehicles are being
equipped with electronic diagnostic
systems, which inform the driver of
the state of the engine fluid levels
and tyre pressures. It will be
acceptable for a candidate to refer
to the vehicle information system
(if fitted) when answering questions
on fluid levels or tyre pressures.
You can find source material in
the DSA publication 'The official
guide to Driving - the essential
skills' and 'The official DSA guide
to learning to drive'. Advice and
information on how to carry out
vehicle safety checks can also be
found in the manufacturer's
Candidates will be asked two
questions, one 'show me' and one
'tell me'. One or both questions
answered incorrectly will result in
one driving fault being recorded.
Vehicles you can't use at the
If you plan to use your own
vehicle at the practical driving
test, there are some vehicles that
canít be used for safety reasons.
Youíll need to check that a
recall or safety notice does not
affect the vehicle.
What happens during the test?
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 set exercises.
Throughout the test you should
drive in the way your instructor has
taught you. 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 your test will be
You are allowed to take someone
with you on the test, this person
must be over 16 years old and cannot
take any part in the test.
After the practical test
When the driving test is over,
the examiner will tell you whether
you passed or failed. You can
request feedback on your test from
the examiner, who will then go
through your performance during the
If you pass...
If you pass and have a photocard
driving licence issued after 1 March
2004 the examiner will ask you if
you want your full driving licence
issued to you automatically.
If you want to use this service,
the examiner will take your old
licence off you, scan the details
and send them electronically to the
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
(DVLA). You will then be given a
pass certificate to prove you passed
your test. DVLA will then send you
your new full licence by post within
four weeks of you passing your
If you pass your test but do not
want to use this automatic service,
or have a licence issued before 1
March 2004, you will be given a pass
certificate by the examiner. On the
back of the pass certificate it
tells you what you need to do next.
This involves sending your licence
and appropriate fee to DVLA who will
then check your application and
issue you with a new full licence.
If you fail...
If you fail the test you should
ask the examiner for some feedback
to help prepare yourself for your
next test. Your driving report form
will also show you where you made
any mistakes. You can take another
practical test 10 working days after
your car or motorcycle test.
Driving test standards
All examiners are trained to
carry out the test to the same
standard, they do not have pass or
fail quotas. So as long as you
demonstrate the standard required
you will pass your driving test.
Weather conditions/ mechanical
DSA do not conduct tests in bad
light or in adverse weather
conditions for the safety of the
candidate and the examiner. We will
arrange another appointment at no
further cost, but compensation is
not payable. Candidates should call
the telephone number quoted on the
appointment letter to check whether
their test will go ahead.
If the driving test is not
completed for reasons attributable
to you or your vehicle, you will
have to take another test at your
The DSA recommends that new car
drivers who have just passed their
practical test consider taking Pass
Plus. Pass Plus is a course of six
extra modules taken with a driving
instructor after passing your test.