Theory & Practical Test Explained

The Theory Test

Book here at the official site. No admin fees, £25.

This test comes in two sections that must be passed together.

The first part is a multiple choice test comprising of 50 questions to be completed in 57 mins. You must score 43/50 or above to pass this section.

The second part is a hazard perception test with 14 video clips but 15 developing hazards. 14 clips have one scorable hazard and one random clip will contain two. You must score 44/75 or above to pass this section.

A hazard is anything that makes you change speed or direction. The examining body is looking to see if you can identify developing hazards, e.g. an ambulance suddenly appearing from a side road and intending to cross your path.

To gain the points in this part of the test you must click the computer mouse when you see the developing hazard. You get between 0-5 points for each clip. Continuous clicking or a repeating pattern will result in a zero being recorded for that clip.

The best way to achieve a pass is to read through your highway code and any other books you may have to gain a good knowledge before attempting any practise questions.

There are also many CD ROMs or online resources available to buy to help with both parts of the theory. These will give you practise questions similar to the real test and video clips too.

The certificate you get is valid for 2 years. If you do not pass the practical in this time, you will have to retake the theory and pass it again.

The Practical Test

Book here at the official site. No admin fees, £62.

The practical driving test is the final stage before gaining a full UK licence. It lasts for about 40 minutes and you will be required to do one reversing manoeuvre and possibly an emergency stop. It will cover a variety of types of road e.g. country, dual carriageways, town, with varying degrees of traffic and speed limits. You must follow the road ahead unless road signs direct you otherwise. If the examiner asks you to follow a different direction they will give you plenty of time to implement this.

From the 4th December 2017 the driving test has changed to reflect the busier roads and help new drivers adapt to this. 

The manoeuvre will either be a parallel park, pulling up on the right side of the road or parking in a bay. The examiner may request driving into the bay forwards or backwards.
The independent drive is 20 mins and 4 out of 5 tests will be carried out by a satnav provided by the examiner. 1 in 5 tests may still use road signs.
Some 'Show me-Tell me' questions will be assesesed on the move.

You will be assessed throughout the test for driver errors. There are 3 levels of errors.

Minor faults / driver faults

These are small faults that may have slightly affected your driving or a small inconvenience to other road users. It could also be related to a lack of observation that could potentially lead to a larger error. E.g. forgetting to do a mirror check or choosing the wrong gear for a situation. Minor errors can lead to a serious fault if more than 3 faults are recorded in the same area. This is because it shows a lack of understanding on why something needs to be done.

Serious faults

These are more major faults that are potentially dangerous or large inconvenience to others. E.g. failing to put a signal on for traffic around you to see when turning. This is serious because you are the only person who knows what your intentions are and you are relying on correct judgement of others to prevent an accident. Or a bad choice of gear could cause multiple stalls if unchecked obstructing the flow of traffic behind you.

Dangerous faults

These are very serious faults where the examiner may have to take control of the car to prevent damage to property or risk to life. E.g. driving too close to parked cars at high speed where examiner has to move the wheel and/or brake to prevent a collision. Or a lack of observation where the candidate is about to pull out into the flow of traffic and the examiner has to brake very heavily. If this occurs, the test may be terminated in a safe place at the side of the road.

For the test to be successful you must have fewer than 15 minor faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

When you are successful you may drive on your own. Remember to be very careful as you are still learning and situations may come up that you may not have seen before.

For the first two years you are on driving probation. If you get 6 points on your licence you will lose your licence and have to retake both parts of the test. After two years the maximum points allowable increases to 12. Last year 15000 people had to retake their tests due to their licences being revoked.

The booking telephone number is 0300 200 1122

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