What you need to know
Information about the practical test
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 passed.
Why do I need to take the practical driving test?
The obvious answer here is so that you can unlock your freedom by passing your test and getting your driving licence, you need to take a practical test to give 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.
You will need to book a minimum of 2 hours for the driving test day, this will cost a fixed fee of £70. This includes 2 hours with one hour self drive hire of the car for the test. If you have booked a test at a test center which is not local to your instructor then test day price may vary.
Not all test center's offer tests on evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
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. You can also book a mock test with your instructor or request another instructor to test you in your driving instructor's car, just ask your instructor for more information.
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 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 have learnt, discuss any concerns and ask questions before you do 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
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.
Sign your passed report.
If you fail:
You won't be sent away to wonder "why?" on your own. Your examiner will explain to you why you didn't pass, including details of specific faults.
Remember, a failed driving test doesnt mean its the end of your driving dreams. If you don't pass, you can book another test online.
How do I change my practical test booking?
How do I cancel my practical test booking?
Where is my nearest practical test centre?
You can find your nearest practical test centre by using the following government website here.