Practical Test (£62)
When it comes to booking your practical driving test, you’ll need a few things ready beforehand. First off, you’ll need to have passed your theory test already, as you won’t be able to take your practical driving test otherwise. You’ll also need:
- Your valid British or Northern Irish Provisional Driver’s Licence number
- A valid credit or debit card
You don’t necessarily need your driving instructor’s individual reference number, but we’d recommend getting it to help check their availability, as you’ll want them there on test day!
Please note, if you’re booking an “upgrade” test, you’ll need to book over the phone, not online or by post. An upgrade test is the test needed to move from automatic to manual transmission, for example, or from a medium lorry to a large articulated truck.
When you don’t need a theory test beforehand:
For a few kinds of practical driving test, you won’t need a theory test before booking. Generally these are more specialist tests dealing with specific driving circumstances, and they include:
- the “upgrade” test from automatic transmission to manual transmission
- the practical taxi test
- the tractor test
- the motorcycling “progressive access” test (test to progress through the bike categories)
- the car and trailer test
- the articulated lorry test
- the large lorry test (if you already have a medium lorry licence)
- the large bus test (if you already have a medium bus licence)
- the bus and trailer test
Booking your test
The easiest way to book your driving test is to go online and use the official Government website to apply – all you’ll need is your driving licence number, an email address and a valid credit or debit card.
You can also book a driving test over the phone by calling 0300 200 11 22, Monday to Friday, any time from 8am to midday. You won’t need an email address to make a booking over the phone, but you will still need your driver’s licence and a credit card or debit card!
The test itself
Your practical driving test is designed to prove that you can drive safely under various road conditions, and that you know the Highway Code, which you demonstrate over the course of the test itself. There are no pass or fail quotas, and no minimum or maximum number of lessons you have to take before taking your test – it’s entirely up to you and when you feel prepared enough to apply.
You’ll need to bring along your Driving Theory Test Pass Certificate, and your valid driving licence. If you lose either your driving licence or your theory test pass certificate, contact the DVSA to arrange a replacement.
During the test, you’ll have a few checks first to prove your eyesight and safety knowledge is up to scratch, followed by a practical driving section and a ten-minute independent drive.
If you need to follow up on your driving licence once you have passed you can call the DVLA contact number.
The eye test
For this test, you’ll need to read the number plate of a car from a distance of 20 meters, to ensure you have sharp enough vision for safe driving.
Vehicle safety questions
You’ll then be asked two questions related to vehicle safety and performing checks on your car. Generally, these take the form of “show me, tell me” questions – e.g. “show me how you’d perform a vehicle safety check on this car” followed by “tell me how you’d perform the check.”
The driving ability test
This part will last about 40 minutes, and will assess your ability to drive and control the vehicle. It’ll consist of your general driving ability test, reversing safely, and a 20-minute independent drive, which might now include using satellite navigation.
General driving ability test
During this section of the test, the examiner will give you various instructions that you need to follow. They will include making stops, a hill start and an angle start (pulling out from behind a parked car).
You’ll also have to perform one or more of the following manoeuvres to demonstrate the ability to reverse safely – reverse around a corner, reverse parking (bay park or parallel park) and turning in the road.
This section of the test will see you driving without direction for 20 minutes, to assess your decision-making, self-guided driving and pathfinding abilities. Just remember to drive as your instructor trained you, and you’ll be fine!
You’ll pass your test if you make 15 or fewer minor driving faults, and no major mistakes. The examiner will tell you immediately afterwards whether you passed your test, and tell you how you did overall. If you passed, they will then give you a certificate to prove it.