Theory Test (£31)
Taking your theory test
The multiple choice part is delivered using a touch screen computer and the hazard perception part records your responses through the use of a computer mouse button.If you pass one part and fail the other you’ll fail the whole test, and you’ll need to take both parts again.
The questions in each multiple choice test vary according to the category of vehicle you’re hoping to obtain a licence for, ie a motorcycle theory test will contain specific questions that don’t appear in any other test.
For the hazard perception test there are no separate versions for different vehicles, each vehicle category takes the same test, however the pass mark is different for different categories of tests.
Part one – multiple choice
Before the test starts you’ll be given instructions on how the test works.
You can also choose to go through a practice session of the multiple choice questions to get used to the layout of the test. At the end of the practice session the real test will begin.
A question and several answer options will appear onscreen and you have to select the correct answer to the question by touching the screen. Some questions may require more than one answer.
For cars and motorcycles you’ll be asked 50 questions in 57 minutes and the pass mark is 43 out of 50.
For lorries and buses you’ll be asked 60 questions in 70 minutes and the pass mark is 51 out of 60.
You can navigate between questions and ‘flag’ questions that you want to come back to later in the test. After the multiple choice part you can choose to have a break of up to three minutes before the hazard perception part starts.
Part two – hazard perception
After the break you’ll then be shown a short tutorial video clip about how the hazard perception part works.
The hazard perception part is also delivered on a computer but you respond by clicking a button on the mouse. You’ll be presented with a series of 14 video clips which feature every day road scenes. In each clip there’ll be at least one developing hazard, but one of the clips will feature two developing hazards.
To achieve a high score you’ll need to respond to the developing hazard during the early part of its development. The maximum you can score on each hazard is five.
You won’t be able to review your answers to the hazard perception test; as on the road, you’ll only have one chance to respond to the developing hazard.
The pass mark for the car and motorcycle hazard perception part of the theory test is 44 out of 75. For lorries and buses the pass mark is 50 out of 75.
At the end of the test
At the end of the hazard perception part of the theory test you’ll be invited to answer a number of customer survey questions.
You don’t have to answer the questions if you don’t want to, and any information given is anonymous and confidential. The survey questions don’t affect the result of the test.
When you have finished the test you may leave the examination room. Once you have left the room, you’ll not be allowed to enter it again. You’ll then be given your result by the test centre staff.
Practical Test (£62)
The practical driving test (car)
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is now able to offer tests outside the normal test times at a number of test centres. This provides customers a wider range of appointments over an extended working day.
Practical tests are generally available at all permanent test centres. Saturday and weekday evening tests, subject to resources being available, are offered at a premium rate. Non premium rate tests are available at various times between 7.30 am and 3.27 pm Monday to Friday.
The driving test is straightforward and has been designed to see if you:
- can drive safely
- know The Highway Code and can demonstrate this through your driving
What will the test include?
The test will include an eyesight check (if you fail this, your test will not continue). The eyesight test requires you to read a number plate that is a certain distance away. For more information about the eyesight check please use the ‘Driving eyesight requirements’ link below.
After the eyesight test you will be asked two vehicle safety check questions. You will then be examined on your general driving and on two reversing exercises. The reversing exercises will be chosen from:
- reversing around a corner
- turning in the road
- reverse parking
You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.
Vehicle safety questions
These are basic safety checks that a driver should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use. Although some checks may involve the candidate in opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, pupils will not be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check fluid levels.
As vehicle technology advances, more and more vehicles are being equipped with electronic diagnostic systems, which inform the driver of the state of the engine fluid levels and tyre pressures. It will be acceptable for a candidate to refer to the vehicle information system (if fitted) when answering questions on fluid levels or tyre pressures.
You can find source material in the DSA publication ‘The official guide to Driving – the essential skills’ and ‘The official DSA guide to learning to drive’. Advice and information on how to carry out vehicle safety checks can also be found in the manufacturer’s handbook.
Candidates will be asked two questions, one ‘show me’ and one ‘tell me’. One or both questions answered incorrectly will result in one driving fault being recorded.
What happens during the test?
During the driving test the examiner will give you directions which you should follow. Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions. During the test, the examiner will ask you to carry out set exercises.
Throughout the test you should drive in the way your instructor has taught you. If you make a mistake, don’t worry about it, it might be a less serious driving fault and may not affect your result. The examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.
Your practical driving test will include a section of ‘independent driving’. In the independent driving section of your test, you will drive for about 10 minutes without step-by-step direction from your examiner.
At present, examiners give candidates step-by-step instructions during the test. For other parts of the test, this will still be true. But during the independent driving section of the test, the examiner will ask you to drive by either following a series of directions, following traffic signs, or a combination of both.
To help you understand where you’re going, the examiner may show you a diagram. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way – that can happen to the most experienced drivers. Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. Have a look at our “Independent Driving” Blog! CLICK HERE
You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit one serious or dangerous fault you will fail the test. If at any time your examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users your test will be stopped.
You are allowed to take someone with you on the test, this person must be over 16 years old and cannot take any part in the test.
After the practical test
When the driving test is over, the examiner will tell you whether you passed or failed. You can request feedback on your test from the examiner, who will then go through your performance during the test.
If you pass…
If you pass and have a photocard driving licence issued after 1 March 2004 the examiner will ask you if you want your full driving licence issued to you automatically.
If you want to use this service, the examiner will take your old licence off you, scan the details and send them electronically to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You will then be given a pass certificate to prove you passed your test. DVLA will then send you your new full licence by post within four weeks of you passing your practical test.
If you pass your test but do not want to use this automatic service, or have a licence issued before 1 March 2004, you will be given a pass certificate by the examiner. On the back of the pass certificate it tells you what you need to do next. This involves sending your licence and appropriate fee to DVLA who will then check your application and issue you with a new full licence.
If you fail…
If you fail the test you should ask the examiner for some feedback to help prepare yourself for your next test. Your driving report form will also show you where you made any mistakes. You can take another practical test 10 working days after your car or motorcycle test.
Driving test standards
All examiners are trained to carry out the test to the same standard, they do not have pass or fail quotas. So as long as you demonstrate the standard required you will pass your driving test.
Weather conditions/ mechanical problems etc
DSA do not conduct tests in bad light or in adverse weather conditions for the safety of the candidate and the examiner. We will arrange another appointment at no further cost, but compensation is not payable. Candidates should call the telephone number quoted on the appointment letter to check whether their test will go ahead.
If the driving test is not completed for reasons attributable to you or your vehicle, you will have to take another test at your own cost.
Great! You’ve passed your driving test and can’t wait to get your first car.
You want the kind of independence that only comes with having your own set of wheels.
But the cost of insurance is sky high. So how do you get what you want, and pay a lower premium?
The answer is Pass Plus – backed by insurance companies, Central Government and the Driving Standards Agency. The Pass Plus scheme is designed to make you a better driver and so help you avoid being part of a gruesome statistic. It involves more lessons in the form of six specially designed driver training modules which cover driving in town, out of town, in all weathers, at night, on dual carriageways and on motorways. And there is no test to take at the end of it.