A weekly practical test costs £62. Evening or weekend tests cost £75.
The driving test consists of tests of eyesight, safety questions and driving technique. The test will last 40 minutes. You must pass all parts of the test at the same time.
The eyesight test
You must be able to read in good daylight with the aid of glasses or contact lenses if worn, a motor vehicle registration mark containing letters and figures:
79 millimetres in height and 50 millimetres wide at a distance of 20 metres – or – 79 millimetres in height and 57 millimetres wide at a distance of 20.5 metres.
If you do not pass the eyesight test, you will not be allowed to take the driving test. The test will be marked as a fail.
The examiner will ask you two ‘show and tell’ questions about safety and maintenance checks on your car. The:
- ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you would carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
- ‘show me’ question (where you show how you would carry out a safety task) while you’re driving
The driving test
After the safety question you will then be examined on your general driving and one reversing manoeuvre.
The reversing exercises will be chosen from:
- Bay Park – to drive into and then reverse out of a bay safely, or to reverse in and then drive out of a bay safely. The examiner will instruct you as to which one you will be carrying out.
- Parallel Park – to reverse park at the side of the road using no more than 2 car lengths.
- Pull up on the right hand side of the road safely, reverse back 2 car lengths and then re-join the traffic safely
You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.
The driving test will consist of the examiner giving you directions for half of the test and 20 minutes of independent driving. Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions.
Independent driving explained
Your practical driving test will include approximately 20 minutes of independent driving.
During your test you’ll have to drive independently by either following:
- traffic signs
- a series of directions from a sat nav
You don’t have to worry about being able to operate the Sat Nav as the examiners will bring and set up their own system. The examiner will have a pre-set route on the Sat Nav, which you will be expected to follow. Alternatively, the examiner will request that you follow road signs to a specific location, giving updates when necessary. If you feel that the road traffic signs are not visible, then the examiner will provide direction until a sign becomes visible.
It doesn’t matter if you go the wrong way – that can happen to the most experienced drivers. Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. Driving independently means making your own decisions – this includes driving safely.
Throughout the practical 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 minor 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 stopped.
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 have passed or failed. You can request feedback on your test from the examiner, who will then go through your performance during the test.
If you pass…
If you pass and have a photo card driving licence issued after 1st 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. The DVLA will then send you your new full licence by post within four weeks of you passing your practical test.
If you pass your test but do not want to use this automatic service, or have a licence issued before 1st 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 the 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 you 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 later.