6. Taking the driving ability test

The driving ability test includes:

  • an eyesight test
  • a test of your driving ability
  • giving a descriptive talk-through commentary while driving

The test lasts around an hour and costs £134.40.

What to bring to your test

On the day, you’ll need to bring:

  • your photocard driving licence - or an old-style paper one and a valid passport
  • your approved driving instructor (ADI) registration certificate
  • the pass letter from the theory test
  • a suitable car

Rules for the car you use

The car you use for the driving ability test must meet all the rules for the ADI part 2 test.

The eyesight test

You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:

  • 26.5 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
  • 27.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate

New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, eg AB51 ABC.

You must use glasses or contact lenses during the whole test if you need them to read the number plate.

You’ll fail the test if you don’t pass the eyesight test.

The driving ability part

You’ll drive in varying road and traffic conditions, including motorways or dual carriageways where possible.

You’ll have to do 1 reversing exercise that the examiner chooses at random.

You must prove to the examiner that you can move off safely and smoothly:

  • uphill
  • downhill
  • ahead normally
  • at an angle

You’ll need to give a descriptive talk-through commentary while driving for at least 10 minutes.

Independent driving

You’ll have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the examiner for around 10 minutes. You’ll have to follow either:

  • traffic signs
  • a series of directions given to you before you set off
  • a combination of both

The examiner’s supervisor

The examiner’s supervisor may come along as well. They will be watching the examiner’s performance and won’t have a say in how you’re tested or in your result.

Your test result

There are 3 types of faults that can be marked:

  • a dangerous fault - involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
  • a serious fault - could potentially be dangerous
  • a driving fault - not potentially dangerous, but if you make the same fault throughout your test it could become a serious fault

Pass mark

You’ll pass the test if you make:

  • no more than 4 driving faults
  • no serious or dangerous faults

Failing the test

You’ll be given a brief explanation of the faults you made if you don’t pass the test. You’ll also be given a form so you can apply to retake the test.

You get 3 attempts at the test. You must wait 1 year before sending a new application to start the process again if you use up all your attempts.