Your test is booked and you want to make sure you are ready. What are the best areas to practice before the test?
This answer obviously depends on the individual. The best things to practice are the skills that you are weakest in. If you are unsure of what are your weakest driving skills then asking your driving instructor will give you a good answer.
Through watching you in each lesson, your driving instructor will have a good gauge of which skills need work.
What are the different skills to practice?
These are the main skills needed for your driving test. There are obviously a lot more skills involved but these are the most important that are likely to need practice;
- Mirror Checks
You should be using your mirrors at every change of speed or direction and you should also be using them in the Mirror-Signal-Manoeuvre routine.
Mirror checks are important so you know your surroundings and have as much awareness as possible while on the roads.
- Sat Nav Use
On your driving test you will be asked to stop at the side of the road. You will then be asked to follow the route on a sat nav. This should last around 20 minutes.
It is important to practice this so you feel comfortable driving and following the directions on screen.
You should make sure that you are confident in completing the 3 manoeuvres that will be in your test. These are the parallel park, park in a bay and park on the right hand side of the road.
It is important you are confident in all 3 manoeuvres even although only 1 will come up. If you fail the manoeuvre then you will fail the test.
- Emergency Stop
You must show that you can complete an emergency stop with control. This may or may not show up in your test.
- “Show me”, “Tell me” Questions
These are a set of questions that you must know the answers to. You will be asked 2 of these questions on your test at random.
These questions are normally quite simple but make sure you practice them.
How should I practice these driving skills?
How you practice these skills will depend on whether you have a car to practice with.
If the only practice you get is on your driving lessons then you should tell your instructor which skills you would like to practice. They will give you the best methods to practice each specific skill.
If you are able to practice these skills with your own car or a rental car then there are a few tips to get the most out of your practice.
- Ask you friend or family member to watch you as you drive. Have them keep an eye on your mirror checks. It can be difficult to notice yourself if you miss any.
- Buy a sat nav. You can get one for around £60 and it is a great investment. It allows you to practice the independent driving part of your test and help you get used to using a sat nav. It can also be used once you pass your test.
- Repeat manoeuvres until you can do them with little thought. When you first learn manoeuvres your brain is a little overloaded with information. As you practice, your brain starts to work more subconsciously.
- Get someone to ask you all of the “show me”, “tell me” questions. If you are comfortable with these then it will give you a better chance of passing your test.
How do I know when I am ready for my driving test?
There are a few ways to know if you are ready to sit your driving test.
You will never know if you are 100% ready but these the best methods for getting a good gauge.
The first method is to ask your driving instructor to put you through a mock test. This is basically a dry run of your test.
Your instructor should get you to follow a test route. You will have all the same skills tested as you would in the real thing.
Your instructor should count your minor errors and pick up on any majors.
If you pass a mock test convincingly then it is a great sign that you are ready for the real test.
Another way to test if you are ready is to repeat each manoeuvre 3 times in a row. If you pass all 3 for each manoeuvre then this is a good sign you are ready for the manoeuvre part of the test.
However, just because you pass these tests will not mean you will pass your test.
On the day of the test there will be nerves involved. The practice will not build up as much pressure as on the day of the test. Try your best to stay relaxed your test so you are in the same state you were during practice.
Just remember, hard work pays off. Don’t be annoyed at yourself that you never put a little more time into practising that one skill.