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Practical Test

The driving test consists of tests of eyesight, safety questions and driving technique. The test will last 40 minutes. You must pass all parts of the test at the same time.

The eyesight test
You must be able to read in good daylight with the aid of glasses or contact lenses if worn, a motor vehicle registration mark containing letters and figures:

79 millimetres in height and 50 millimetres wide at a distance of 20 metres – or – 79 millimetres in height and 57 millimetres wide at a distance of 20.5 metres.

If you do not pass the eyesight test, you will not be allowed to take the driving test. The test will be marked as a fail.


Safety questions
After the eyesight test the examiner will ask you two ‘show and tell’ questions about safety and maintenance checks on your car. Getting one or both of them wrong will count as one minor driving fault in your test.

Click here for show and tell me questions

After the safety questions you will then be examined on your general driving and on one Manoeuvre.

The examiner will ask you to do one of the following: 

  • Park in a parking bay – either by reversing the car into a bay or driving into a bay and reversing it out. 
  • Paralell parking at the side of the road. 
  • Parking up on the right hand side of the road and reversing up to 2 car lengths. 

You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.

The driving test will consist mainly of the examiner giving you directions which you should follow and 10 minutes of independant driving. Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions.

Your practical driving test will include approximately 10 minutes of independent driving. During your test you’ll have to drive independently by either following:

Traffic signs

  • A series of directions
    A combination of both

To help you understand where you are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will 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. Driving independently means making your own decisions – this includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you’re going.

Throughout the practical 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.

You can make up to 15 minor 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 have 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 and have a photo card driving licence issued after 1st 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. The 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 1st 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 the DVLA who will then check your application and issue you with a new full licence.

If you fail the test you should ask the examiner for some feedback to help prepare you 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 later.