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Simon Jones white clock learner driver8 minute read Guides Learner Drivers

How to pass your driving test first time?

10 tips to help you pass your driving test first time

Simon Jones

The question on every learner drivers’ lips: how can I pass my driving test first time? It’s not easy. Last year, less than half of drivers passed first time round. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix when it comes to passing your driving test. You need to be prepared. But don’t fear, we’ve got your back. Buckle up because here comes our 10 top tips to help you get prepared and pass your driving test first time. 

1. Choose the right instructor

One way you can speed up the process before you even get started is by choosing the right instructor. Ultimately this is the person who will show you the ropes and get you test ready. So don’t make your decision lightly.

How to find a good driving instructor?

In our experience, the best way to find a decent driving instructor is good old word of mouth. We may have the whole world at our fingertips, but nothing beats a solid recommendation from someone you know and trust. 

Do you have a friend who passed their driving test first time? Why not ask them who they used and how they got on with them? 

If you haven’t had a good driving instructor recommended to you, there are a couple of things you should consider when looking online. We’ve got a whole article dedicated to helping you choose the right driving instructor, so we’d suggest checking it out. 

2. Have regular driving lessons

You’ve chosen a qualified and experienced driving instructor. Now it’s time to make sure you are fitting in enough lessons. Driving regularly will help you stay on top of your game and improve more quickly. So if you can avoid it, try not to have big gaps in between your lessons. 

How many driving lessons should I have each week?

If you want to pass your test quickly, we’d say 2 to 4 hours of private lessons per week is the sweet spot. Ideally this would be 2 lessons in 2 hour blocks so you can really get stuck in to your driving. Try and switch up your lesson times so you’ve been out at both busy and quiet times and in different weather conditions.

How many hours of lessons do I need to pass my test?

We hate to be those guys, but there really is no wrong or right answer with this one. According to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) new learners will need on average 44 hours of driving lessons to be test ready. But this is an average so you may need more, you may need less. 

Your driving instructor will let you know when you’re ready to book your driving test. And however long it takes, we promise it’ll all be worth it when you hear those three little words….”you are ready”.

3. Get in some private practice outside of your lessons

Private practice with someone who can supervise you helps you to feel more confident in your driving skills before taking the plunge with your practical test. 92%* of our customers agree that private practice made them a more confident driver. 

Take note of what you’re finding difficult in your driving lessons and make that the focus of your practice. A lot of us struggle with the dreaded parallel park, so that might be something worth working on.

Does private practice help you pass your test faster?

We asked our learner driver insurance customers who have passed their test what they have to say.

Veygo learner driver insurance customers do pretty well. 65% of customers surveyed passed their driving test first time* compared to the UK first time pass rate of 45.9%. 

Well done guys…you smashed it. It seems there is plenty of truth in the old saying “practice makes perfect”.

Can you save money with private driving practice?

Jumping in the car between lessons also helps cut the cost of learning to drive. Driving lessons are expensive and so are tests, so the fewer you need, the better. 

Using a professional instructor is the best way to learn, but private practice is really helpful to build your experience. With driving lessons costing over £20 an hour, private practice is a great way to clock up driving hours without spending a fortune

4. Pass your theory test ASAP

The sooner you get your theory test under your belt, the better. Plus, you can’t actually book your driving test until you’ve passed your theory. 

Having said that, if you do pass your theory test early on; it’s a good idea to have a refresh before test day to make sure it’s still hot on your mind.

We’ve written a full guide on how to pass your theory test that will tell you all you need to know. You’re welcome.

5. Know what to expect

The day of your driving test is nerve racking. Let’s make sure there are no surprises to throw you off guard. Get yourself prepared and read up on what to expect.

What will you be tested on at your driving test?

  • Eyesight check
  • Show me, tell me questions
  • General driving ability
  • Reversing your vehicle
  • Independent driving

Guess what? We’ve also created a guide on what to expect and how to prepare for your driving test. It’s almost like we’ve thought of everything?

6. Know the test area like the back of your hand

Unfortunately we can’t offer you a crystal ball. There is no way to predict your exact test route on the day. But what you can do is familiarise yourself with all the routes near your driving test centre

A lot of people fall foul at the very start of their test when they’re leaving the driving centre. It’s the time when you’ll naturally feel the most nervous and be more likely to slip up. Make sure you’ve driven around all these roads so you know what to expect. 

What will be included in your driving test route?

When it comes to driving test routes, they want to cover all bases. Make sure you’ve practiced in all of these different environments before your test: 

  • Busy or complicated junctions
  • Busy roundabouts with multi lanes 
  • Mini roundabouts
  • Pedestrian crossings 
  • Busy urban streets
  • Quiet residential areas 
  • Country lanes
  • One-way-systems (if there is one close enough to the test centre they will likely include it)

7. Do a mock practical driving test

Okay so you’ve read up on what to expect and covered all the local roads. You know the score. Now it’s time to put that prep to the test with a mock driving test. If you followed tip number 1, your driving instructor should plan this for you anyway. But if not, ask them. It’s a good idea to do your mock a few weeks before the real deal. That way, if you’ve got any weaknesses you’ve got time to work on them. 

Why do a mock practical driving test?

Reading up on your driving test is great, but it’s no comparison to actually getting out there and doing it. You’ll feel way more confident that you know what to expect, which should put your nerves at ease. Don’t worry if you fail your mock, it’s better to make mistakes on the practice run so you can learn from them. 

8. Have a lesson before you take your driving test

Morning of the test. It’s game time. How are you going to get in the zone? Maybe you want to take a cold shower? Maybe you want to power walk to the rocky theme song? Hey, we’re not here to judge. 

We’d suggest the best way to get your head in the game is to book an hour lesson on the morning of your driving test. It’s a good warm up and you should start the day off feeling confident. Plus, it will give you a chance to chat through everything with your instructor so you can ask any last minute questions. 

9. Exaggerate your mirror checks

You might think mirror checks are one of the most simple parts of your test. But year on year, people not checking their mirrors is one of the most common reasons for failed driving tests. Those manoeuvres you’ve mastered won’t help you if you can’t show full awareness of everything around you. 

If you only take a quick glance at your mirrors, the examiner could easily miss it. Make it obvious that you’re checking your mirrors by moving your head and your eyes.

When should you check your mirrors?

You should be checking your mirrors regularly while you are driving. Many driving instructors say you should check your mirrors every 5-8 seconds. This may sound like a lot, but you travel a fair distance in this short time when you’re driving. A quick look in your mirrors will give you a clear mental map of what’s around you. 

Your examiner wants to see that you have 360 awareness, this is key to being safe on the road. But as well as your regular checks, make sure you check your mirrors and blind spots before you:

  • Pull away
  • Indicate
  • Change road position
  • Change speed 

10. Stay calm

Okay, we know, you’ve probably rolled your eyes at this one. But hear us out. Firstly, remember that you would not be taking your driving test if your instructor didn’t think you were ready. You will not be doing anything during your test that you have not done many times before. Confidence is key.

And if you still think ‘stay calm’ is a useless tip, here are some practical things you can do to make sure you’re calm and relaxed on test day:

  • Get a good night’s sleep 
  • Make sure you’ve had something to eat and drink 
  • Arrive at the test centre 20 minutes early
  • Focus on the positives and imagine the things you’ll do once you’ve passed your driving test 
  • Don’t panic if you make a mistake, remember you’re allowed up to 15 minor faults 

What should I do if I didn’t pass my driving test first time?

Follow our 10 top tips to give yourself the best chance of passing your driving test first time. But if you don’t pass, don’t be too hard on yourself. The good thing is you’ll know exactly what to expect next time round. Have a good ol’ look through your driving test report so you’re clear on where you went wrong, and spend some time on that in your practice.

It can feel like a big blow to your confidence, we know. But don’t let that stop you from hitting the road. Trust us when we say that the sooner you can get behind the wheel again, the better. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get ready for your next driving test. You’ve got this. 

Ready to ace your driving test?

If you want to pass your driving test, why not consider private practice? Just make sure you’re insured before getting behind the wheel. 

Our learner driver insurance lets you practice in a friend or family member’s car from two hours right up to 180 days. They don’t need to worry about their annual policy, because with Veygo, the owner’s no claims bonus is completely protected. 

*Results based on a small sample of 179 respondents out of a survey of 2800 people between 14th August 2018 and 20th August 2018

Simon Jones

Worked for short-term car insurance provider Veygo for over 3 years. Been involved in building insurance products for learner drivers and people looking for temporary cover on cars, then telling the world about them through marketing campaigns. Also drive a bit myself, mainly my son around where ever he needs to go.

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