First time, with only 2 minors!! I am so incredibly happy and proud of myself, I have been learning to drive since I was 17 but stopped numerous times due to different things going on – now finally at the age of 19 I can freely drive by myself! I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my life, I could barely talk to my examiner before we set off for the test as I could hardly string a sentence together, I also went to get in the car without even unlocking it first because my mind was all over the place and I wanted to smack my head against a wall. Nerves suck because they can either make or break you – you can let them cause you to make silly mistakes or you can let them drive you to achieve what you want. Luckily for me it was the latter, I had booked my test around 3 months in advance because I was so reluctant to take it and in the end I just wanted to get it out of the way. On the surface, I told myself it wasn’t a big deal if I didn’t pass – I could just rebook and try again and this test would be good experience – at least I would know what to expect next time. Deep down however, I had so much riding on me passing and there was nothing I wanted more than to ace the test and be able to tell everybody the good news. If you’re unsure or simply nervous about taking your test, here are some tips I’ve picked up that might help you:
1). Don’t tell people you’re taking your test
I feel like this only adds to the pressure that you’ve already put on yourself by wanting to pass. The more people you tell, the more people you have to worry about asking what the outcome was and how you got on – if you pass then amazing! Of course you’ll want to tell people, but if you fail – do you want to have to tell everybody or would you rather keep it to yourself? There’s absolutely no shame in not passing, but sometimes when things like this happen you’d rather just keep it to yourself, move on and look to the future for when you book your next test. It depends what kind of person you are but either way, before your test day arrives you don’t need the extra worry of knowing other people are patiently awaiting the outcome, it’s unnecessary pressure! I told only my parents that I was taking the test and they put me completely at ease because they didn’t care whether I passed or not, they just wanted me to know that I did my best.
2). Research the ‘show me tell me’ questions
These literally takes two seconds to type into Google and find, just search for the model of the car you’ll be taking the test in and the questions will appear accordingly. They take no time to memorise and could be the difference between a pass and a fail! If you get these correct at the beginning of the test, it can help boost your confidence for when you set off with your examiner on the road.
3). If you make a mistake, don’t assume you’ve failed
Every test is different, I’ve read stories of people failing instantly because they hit the kerb doing a three point turn (turn in the road) and others passing with flying colours even though they performed much worse. I was asked to perform a three point turn near the beginning of the test and was so nervous that I hit the kerb slightly when reversing, I instantly thought I’d failed because of the stories I’d heard from other people but I only got one minor for it. If you make a mistake, carry on – even if you think it’s cost you your test, continue driving with the mindset that you still have a chance of passing, because you could be surprised.
4). Don’t pay attention to what you read online
Relating to my last point, I spent a lot of time on Google reading about other people’s experiences with the driving test and the reason’s they’d failed, by the end of it I was so nervous that I thought any slight silly mistake I made could be classed as a serious fault or instant fail. This definitely isn’t the case. Don’t fill your head up with extra worries that don’t need to be there, every examiner, driver and test is different. Your driving ability isn’t the same as the girl who posted about failing her test because she was in the wrong lane at a roundabout, stay away from reading horror stories.
5). Don’t pay attention to what the examiner is doing
Another thing you don’t have to worry about paying attention to! Before my test, I was worried that I was going to be distracted by the examiner writing things down on their clipboard every time I did something when in actual fact, you barely know they’re there as you’re so busy concentrating solely on the road in front of you. From the corner of my eye I thought I noticed my examiner writing things down on the test paper at least 6 different times which I thought was because I was racking up a whole lot of minors, when in reality I only got 2. Don’t worry or concentrate on what they’re doing, just focus on the instructions you’ve been given and the road ahead.
5). Use Google maps
I only thought of doing this a couple of months before my test and couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner. There was a huge roundabout I’d been struggling with for the longest time, I couldn’t get my ahead around the different lanes and where I was supposed to be going until I started to use Google Street View to work my way around it. It helped me massively and any other roads / roundabouts / junctions I was unsure of, I would go straight to Google maps to help me out.
6). Stay focused!
Don’t let nerves get the better of you, focus on what the examiner tells you and remember that if you forget what they’ve said or need them to repeat the instructions, it is completely fine for you to ask. If you take a wrong turning you will not be marked down for it (unless you do something classed as a minor / major fault) – the examiner will simply reroute you and give you new directions / instructions.
7). Don’t overthink it
The simplest advice you can give to someone on their test is to just drive. I know that sounds silly, but honestly – don’t overthink it. Just drive how you normally would with your instructor and remember that they wouldn’t put you in for your test if they didn’t believe you were capable of passing. When you start to overthink things you begin to second guess everything like which lane should I be in? Should I change into a higher gear on this road? – Things that would never normally even cross your mind because you would do them naturally and subconsciously, so honestly, just drive.
8). It’s not as bad as you think
I feel like it’s easy to work yourself up and get an image in your head of what the experience is going to be like – for me I thought I’d be sitting next to a strict examiner who’d harshly mark me etc. when in fact, it couldn’t be more opposite. The examiner I had was lovely and chatted to me throughout the test, he could see I was clearly very nervous and therefore tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible – I’d heard before that if the examiner can see you’re nervous then they pretend to look out of the window to make you feel more comfortable, so that you don’t feel like their eyes are constantly watching over you like a hawk throughout the test. My examiner did this and if I hadn’t known any better, I would have thought he wasn’t watching me at all. The examiner is there to pass you, they want to pass you – their job is to just make sure you’re safe enough to drive on the road and not cause danger / harm to others.
I hope these tips are useful and remember, if you don’t pass it definitely isn’t the end of the world – use the experience as a positive thing and rebook your test as soon as you get the chance. Don’t give up!
All my love,