What you need to know

What you need to know

Practical Test Guide

So, you're almost there. You’ve had your lessons, you’ve passed your theory test, and now the only thing between you and the open road is the practical test.

Here is our guide of everything you need to get your practical test booked, prepared for, and (fingers crossed) passed.

Why do I need to take the practical driving test?

The obvious answer here is so that you can discover your freedom by passing your test and getting your driving licence, but the reason you need to take a practical test is it gives an examiner the chance to assess your ability to:

  • Demonstrate safe, independent driving in a variety of road and traffic conditions.
  • Show a working knowledge of the Highway Code.

When can I take my practical driving test?

You can book your practical driving test if you're at least 17, have a valid provisional licence, and you've passed your theory test.

How much does a practical test cost?

A practical test costs £62 for test booked weekdays before 4:30pm. Tests booked for evenings, weekends and bank holidays are £75.

Not all test centres offer tests on evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

If you haven’t booked a test already, you can do so by using the official website here  or calling 0300 200 1122 Monday to Friday 8am-4pm.

How do I know if I’m ready for my practical test?

If you feel confident in your abilities and want to book your test, talk to your instructor and they will let you know when they think you've got the potential to pass your test and they'll discuss suitable dates for you to book.

There's no set number of lessons before someone can take their practical test.

How do I prepare for my practical driving test?

If this is your first time taking the test, here's how to make sure you're in the best possible position to pass:

  •  Before you take your test, make sure you feel ready. Don’t just rush in because you want your licence.
  • Refresh your memory about the Highway Code.
  • Practice your skills and manoeuvres as much as you can.
  • Ask your instructor to spend some extra time on anything you’re feeling unsure about.
  • Visit the test centre before your test so you know the journey and are familiar with your surroundings when you arrive that day.
  • If you know you'll be nervous, try to book your test in the morning so you’re not dwelling on it.
  • The day before your test, look after yourself. Try to get some exercise, avoid going out on the town, and get plenty of sleep.
  • A few hours before your test, limit your screen time so you can minimise distractions.

What do I need to take to my driving test?

On the day, make sure you take:

  •  Your provisional UK driving licence.
  • Your theory pass certificate.
  • A car – most pupils will use their instructors, but you can use your own car too.

Your instructor will usually offer a final lesson immediately before your test so that you can have a refresher on the skills you've learnt, discuss any concerns and to generally 'warm up' before the real thing.

What happens during the test?

The DVSA have created an official guide on what to expect during your driving test  here.

The test lasts about 40 minutes unless you’re taking an extended test following a driving ban, which last 70 minutes.

During the test your examiner will cover the following:

  • An eyesight check – you’ll need to read a number plate from 20m
  • 'Show metell me' car safety questions
  • General driving ability.
  • Reversing your car – expect to be asked to perform one of the following manoeuvres parallel park at the side of a road, park in a bay, or reverse for 2 car lengths and re-join traffic after pulling over.
  • Independent driving for roughly 20 minutes.
  • Following directions from a sat nav.

Your examiner will assess your driving according to 3 types of faults:

  • A dangerous fault – this involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property.
  • A serious fault – something potentially dangerous (this, and dangerous faults, are often referred to as majors).
  • A driving fault – this isn't potentially dangerous, but if you keep making the same mistake, it could become a serious fault (these are often referred to as minors).

To pass your test, you will need to:

  •  Receive fewer than 16 driving faults (minors).
  • Avoid recording a single serious or dangerous driving fault (majors).

What happens at the end of the test?

Once you've returned to the test centre and safely parked, the examiner will tell you the test result. They'll also provide feedback, including how many and what type of faults were made.

If you pass (hopefully you will), the examiner will:

  •  Give you a pass certificate.
  • Ask if you'd like your full licence sent to you, or if you'd like to apply for it in your own time.
  • Allow you to smile.

If you fail:

You won't be sent away wondering where you went wrong. Your examiner will tell you why you didn't pass, including details of specific faults.

Remember, a failed driving test isn’t the end of your driving dreams. If you don't pass, you can book another test online after 10 working days.

How do I change my practical test booking?

You can change your booking online here or by calling 0300 200 1122 Monday to Friday 8am-4pm.

How do I cancel my practical test booking?

You can cancel your booking online here or by calling 0300 200 1122 Monday to Friday 8am-4pm.

Where is my nearest theory test centre?

You can find your nearest theory test centre by using the following government website here