The test is about 40-45 minutes long and the emergency stop is optional so there is more time for the examiner to asses your main road driving.


You wait in the waiting room. The examiner will usually emerge on time and will ask to see your documents. You MUST have your driving licence and suitable photo ID if you do not have a photo type licence. You will need to bring BOTH parts of your licence if you have the photo licence. You must also have your Theory Pass Certificate.

The examiner will test your eyesight by asking you to read a number plate at beyond the minimum and, if you have a problem, then they measure the distance more accurately and ask you to attempt the test again.

Then they will ask you to get into your car whilst they check the car over. They will then ask you TWO questions, one SHOW ME and one TELL ME type questions regarding routine weekly checks to be made on your car. Then you get in the car and they will ask you to "follow the road ahead unless I tell you otherwise or signs or road markings tell you differently" They will then ask you to "start your engine and move off when you're ready".

MANOUEVRES You may be asked to do a bay park at the beginning or end of your test and it is only carried out in the test centre car park. They usually only ask you to do one manouevre.

You will experience a variety of traffic situations so you can demonstrate your ability to deal with different situations, some faster roads and some more awkward areas where you will need to keep the speed down so you can show the examiner that you can cope with any of today's driving conditions.




The examiner may ask you to do an emergency stop but will generally only ask one in three candidates to do this exercise. The examiner will tell you first that they will be asking you to do the manoeuvre.

Examiners are allowed to talk to you much more these days to put you at ease so most people are pleasantly surprised how much nicer today's test is compared to days gone by.

You will not be told how you have done until the end of your test.

The marking system.

A Dangerous fault. The examiner may have used the dual controls. Fail

A Serious fault. Fail

A less serious fault. A fault that could lead to problems if uncorrected. You are only allowed a total of 15 of these before that too becomes a fail.


I thought you had to have more than one serious fault to fail

No you can fail immediately if the mistake is serious enough.

What's the difference between a less serious fault and a serious fault?

A LESS SERIOUS FAULT might be forgetting to check your mirrors before overtaking a parked vehicle.

A SERIOUS fault might be forgetting to check your mirrors before overtaking a parked vehicle but another driver, say a motorcyclist who was about to overtake was forced to take avoiding action.

Take this another step and it would be considered a DANGEROUS FAULT if the examiner needed to use the dual controls to prevent you overtaking the parked car dangerously.



then great and well done.

But bear in mind the examiner has not said you're brilliant. You have shown the examiner that you have reached the minimum requirements so you are being allowed to go on learning on your own now.




NOTE you are very much on probation for the first TWO YEARS once you've passed your test. Get into serious trouble of your own doing and your licence will be taken away and you have to do the Theory Test AND the Practical Test all over again! The Road back to L they call it and I should think it was!

Even better. Seriously consider the PASSPLUS SCHEME which will give you cheaper insurance by a guaranteed first years discount AND improve your driving without it costing you anything.



Don't be too tough with yourself. You need a lot of luck to pass first time in today's busy traffic conditions.

Less than 4 people out of 10 pass throughout the country.

The most common cause of failing is a lack of experience.



You will need to wait 10 working days before you can take your test again but you can reapply for test immediately.

Use the time with your instructor to cure your failure items and improve any other less serious faults. Then you're ready to go again!