3. What happens during the test

Before you start the driving ability part of your test, you’ll have an eyesight check and be asked 2 vehicle safety questions.

Eyesight check

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

  • 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
  • 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate

You can write down what you see if you can’t speak English or have difficulty reading.

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

You’ll fail your driving test and the test won’t continue if you can’t pass the eyesight test.

Vehicle safety questions: ‘show me, tell me’

You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions. These are also known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

The examiner will ask you one ‘show me’ question, where you’ll have to show them how you’d carry out a vehicle safety check.

You’ll also be asked one ‘tell me’ question, where you’ll have to explain to the examiner how you’d carry out the check.

The driving ability part

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.

If you’re taking an extended test pass because of a driving disqualification, the test will last 70 minutes.

Your general driving ability

During your test the examiner will give you directions that you should follow. You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions. You should drive in the way your instructor has trained you.

It should include:

  • normal stops
  • an angle start (pulling out from behind a parked vehicle)
  • a hill start

You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

Reversing your vehicle safely

You’ll have to show how well you can reverse your vehicle. The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:

  • reversing around a corner
  • turning in the road
  • reverse parking - either into a parking bay, or parallel parking at the side of the road

Independent driving section

Your driving test will include around 10 minutes of independent driving. It’s designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions on your own.

If you make mistakes

Carry on if you make a mistake, because if it’s not a serious mistake it might not affect your result.

Your examiner will stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.

Taking someone with you

Your examiner will ask if you want your instructor, or another person, to:

  • sit in the back of your car during your driving test
  • be with you after the test for the result and feedback

This person will usually be your driving instructor, but it could also be a relative or friend.

They must be over 16 and can’t take any part in the test.

The examiner’s supervisor

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

Your test might be cancelled and you could lose your fee if you don’t let the examiner’s supervisor go with you.

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