The DVSA Driving Test


So you’ve passed the theory test, now onto the final step to getting your full driving licence; the driving test. You must show a DVSA Examiner that you can drive safely for 40 minutes, and perform one reversing exercise. If you keep the car and other road users around you safe and make good progress, you will pass.


Before The Driving Test

At the test centre, the Driving Examiner will come into the waiting room and call your name, they will then come over to you and ask you to sign a declaration to say that the car is insured for the test. If you are using a Driving School car, this won’t be a problem, but if you are using you’re own car, check with your insurance company first.You will have also need to have lived in the UK for 185 days in the last 12 months. They will also ask if you would like your Driving Instructor, or supervising driver to sit in the back during your test.

For addresses of Chelmsford and Brentwood test centres, and how to book your driving test, please look at the driving test booking page.


Vehicle Safety Questions (Show Me, Tell Me)

Then the Examiner will ask you to lead the way out to your car, and at some point before you start driving, you will be asked to read a number plate. If you cannot read it correctly from the required distance (20.5m for an old style licence plates, and 20m for the new ones), the test will be cancelled. Also two vehicle safety questions will be asked. One will be ‘show me’, the other ‘tell me’.  A list of the questions and answers can be found on the vehicle safety check questions page. If one or both of the questions are answered incorrectly, a single driving fault will be noted on the test sheet.


What Happens During Your Driving Test?

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, but can be your Driving Instructor. Make sure you let the Examiner if you would like to do this. 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 Driving Test, the Examiner will ask you to carry out 1 reversing exercise and possibly an emergency stop. In addition to the normal driving, the Examiner will ask you to do a short period of independent driving. For more information on this, have a look at the independent driving section.

Throughout the test you should drive in the way your Driving 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 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. A driving fault (sometimes called ‘minors’) is something that doesn’t cause immediate danger, but this could easily change to a serious if another road user is affected. A dangerous fault occurs when either the Examiner or another road user has to take action to avoid an accident. If at any time your Examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users your test will be stopped.

When you get back to the test centre, the Examiner will tell you if you’ve passed or failed. You will be given the option for feedback on your performance from the Examiner, which would be useful for your Driving Instructor to hear.


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 driving licence by post within three weeks of you passing your practical test.

If you pass your Driving 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 things don’t go to plan, and you don’t pass, don’t worry. Listen to the feedback the Examiner gives you, and ask for your Driving Instructor to listen in too. This will give them useful information on what you need to work on. You will be given a copy of the driving test report which will show you which faults you made. You must wait at least 10 working days before taking your next test, but you can book it straight away.