On The Road: 5 Reassuring Thoughts Before Your Driving Test
Back in January, Grazia writer Anna Hart wrote about the challenges of learning to drive when you’re 30, blogging about it here.
Big news! On paper, I can drive: I’ve just passed the Theory Test of my driving exam. Back when I was 17, the Theory Test was considered a total doss. Today, it’s acknowledged as significantly trickier; you have to score 43 correct answers out of 50, and the multiple-choice questions are no longer of the ‘Is the vehicle below a) a car b) a bike c) a truck d) a rocket’variety. I wanted the rocket questions!
On the plus side, there are now slick apps that run you through the questions, which I’ve mostly done on the number 55 bus through Hackney. So I have Hackney’s traffic congestion to thank for my academic success on this count.
Still, I only scored 46; a couple more dumb errors (which I am always capable of) and I’d have flunked. And the hard bit, however, is looming next month, when I take my practical test.
Here are five things I’m trying to remember in the run-up to T-day:
1. It’s okay to not feel ready. One good thing about taking my test at 30, rather than 17, is that life has taught me that people NEVER feel fully prepared, for ANYTHING. Everyone is winging it, all the time. And so I don’t really expect to feel 100% ready for this test. I’m just aiming to feel okay about it, and to give it my best shot.
2. It’s also okay to fail. Being over 25, I am more likely to flunk my first test than to pass it. Most recent BSM figures indicate that at the age of 17 the pass rate in 2013/14 was 56.6%, by 25 it had dropped to 46%, and by 35 it was 38.4%. So failing first time doesn’t make me a loser! It makes me normal. I need to fail a few more times before I can justifiably call myself a loser.
3. Yes, I’m a driver. People told me that one day it would just click. I didn’t believe them, but it’s true: one day I got into Mario’s BSM car, looked at the controls, and thought‘You can totally do this. You’re a driver.’I’m just not a legal driver. Yet.
4. If you don’t trust yourself, trust your instructor. The good thing about having a brilliant instructor, like Mario, is that even when I’ve doubted my own ability to do something, I’ve had faith in his judgment. Including his judgment of me. So if he thinks I’m ready to go on a roundabout, I am. If he thinks I’m ready for fifth gear, I am. And if he thinks I’m ready to take my test, I’m ready.
5. Practice makes perfect. I know some people will call this defeatist, but I’m finding it helpful to view this first test as a ‘practice run’for my real test. This takes some of the pressure off; I don’t NEED to pass, I just need to learn more about how to pass next time. Of course, I’m desperately hoping that this more relaxed mentality ultimately puts me in a state where I do, in fact, pass…
Wish me luck!