Some may say I'm not the best person to be giving out driving test advice. After all, it took me three attempts to get my license. However, during those three 40-minute tests, I learned a hell of a lot. With the summer arriving and the roads filling up with learner drivers, here are eight top tips to passing your test.
1. Take it slow, but not too slow
Awareness and reaction time is key to passing your test. The slower you go, the more time you will have to do those two things. However don't go too slow otherwise you will get yourself a minor. Whilst it is important to look confident when driving, in certain situations slowing yourself down can be the difference between passing and failing.
2. Spend time around the test centre
I won't lie, I failed my first test at the centre itself. It wasn't the eye sight test or the vehicle safety questions. It was the exit to the car park. There were two distinct lanes for going left or right and I was going right. Due to my nerves and a lack of common sense at that exact time, however, I got in the wrong lane. My tip to you is to spend plenty of time getting used to and familiar with the roads near the test centre and entering and exiting the car parks.
3. Revise your theory again
A really important thing to do prior to your test is to revise the road signs, road markings and the highway code. Some learner-drivers do their theory test months before they actually sit their driving test (I did) so it's important to be completely confident with the theory.
4. Reading the numberplate
It may seem silly, but the first thing you do in your test is read the numberplate of a car 20 meters away. If you can't do that, you have automatically failed. However you don't know that at the time, you only find out at the very end. Imagine how frustrating it would be to find out that you failed the test at the very beginning? (I only know too well.) It seems stupid but it's best to be as prepared as possible.
5. If you go the wrong way, don't panic
You will not fail your test if you go the wrong way, miss an exit or take the wrong roundabout exit. Sometimes it might be more dangerous to take the right exit, which could cause you to fail anyway. Examiners have tens of different routes and know the city or town like the back of their hand, so it's not a problem.
6. Keep calm if you make a mistake
If you make an error during your test, it's best to keep your chin up, keep calm and carry on driving. It may mean that you fail your test but the examiners will see that you are a good driver and it will be an experience that you can build on for the next attempt. More often than not, it isn't as serious as you think so it's not worth dwelling on.
Also, you can't find out until after the test so it's not worth thinking about until you get back to the test centre. I was in that situation and hearing the examiner tell me that I'm a good driver and deserved to pass had I not made that one error was actually a big boost in my confidence.
7. Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors
Use. Your. Mirrors. I can't say it enough. Getting three minors in one category is a fail and not using your mirrors is more often than not the most common cause of this. It is hugely important in any manoeuvre - whether that be parking or pulling away from the kerb - to use all your mirrors as much as possible. It may seem like you are always looking in your mirrors, but observation and awareness are two of the key skills to driving.
8. Practice, practice, practice
Don't rush into your test. Have as many lessons as you feel comfortable with and when you are feeling confident or getting closer to that point, book it. There is usually a waiting time of between three and five weeks depending on the driving test centre. When you feel confident, that's when you are most likely to pass your test.
Obey all these tips and you should be good to go. It may seem daunting beforehand but I assure you, it isn't as bad as you think. Go at your own pace and be observant at all times.