Getting behind the wheel for the first time can be a challenging and nerve-inducing task and having the freedom to drive yourself around is something that definitely shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Understanding the rules of the roads and manoeuvring your way through your lessons to your driving test will come quicker than you know it and it will soon be time to don your test-taking hat and get those learner plates well and truly removed.
How do I know when I’m ready to take my test?
A good driving school will only advise you to take your practical driving test when they’re absolutely sure that you’re ready to do so.
Driving tests themselves can be costly – you have to pay both for the time of the examiner and for the lease of the vehicle you’ll be driving in – so taking a test when you have no chance of passing is only going to be detrimental to your confidence.
If you don’t feel ready for your test then keep practising and taking lessons until you’re confident enough to give it a go.
There’s no ‘right time’ to take your driving test, nor should you take a certain number of lessons before you book your test – everyone is different and everyone learns at a different pace.
At the same time, if you feel confident but your instructor advises you not to take your test just yet – listen to them. They have your best interests at heart and want to ensure that you pass your driving test at the first time of taking it.
Once both parties are confident then you’re much more likely to be in a position where you pass at the first time of asking.
What should I expect on the day of my test?
Driving tests are rigid in their approach and focus on the same tasks. When you arrive at the test centre, you’ll need your provisional licence with you – if you don’t have it with you, you can’t take the test.
Once the test begins (that is, you have left the waiting room with the examiner) you will be asked to read a number plate from 20 metres away to test your eyesight. You will then be asked questions about vehicle safety and maintenance, and asked to drive for 20 minutes independently.
Whilst driving, you will also be asked to perform one manoeuvre – with parallel parking, bay parking or pulling up on the right being possible manoeuvre choices.
When you have arrived back at the test centre your examiner will talk you through any faults you made – minor or major faults- and inform you of their decision. They may also advise you to take a Pass Plus qualification to further strengthen your confidence on the road.
Whereabouts in Essex should I take my test?
Essex as a county has a wide range of testing centres which have excellent reputations for ensuring that their learner drivers get the best possible driving test experience. Pass rates, as intriguing as they may be, actually don’t mean an awful lot – just because another driver failed to pass their test on their first time of taking it – or vice versa- doesn’t mean that you will.
Whether you pass your test or not depends on your performance during the test itself so you should familiarise yourself with the area where your testing centre is before taking the test. If you’re looking for the best location in Essex to pass your test, then Clacton, at 50.8% pass rate, has the best reputation for first-time success.
Similarly, Hoffman’s Way in Chelmsford is a great bet – coming in at 42.9% (https://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/17336247.here-are-the-best-places-in-essex-to-pass-your-driving-test/). Practising on roads in close vicinity to the testing centre – as well as practising on a wide range of roads – gives you the highest possible chance of success.
Choose a test centre close to you, where you feel the most confidence and forget about the numbers.