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The Practical Test

2 Choosing a driving instructor

What happens?

When you take your practical test you'll be assessed by an examiner. They'll test your driving skills based on their instructions, which will include at least one reverse manoeuvre. Before the driving test you'll sit an eyesight test, a 'show me' safety check question and a 'tell me' safety check question on items like tyres, brakes, fluid levels, lights, indicators and horns. The driving test itself lasts about 40 minutes.

The independent driving part of the test will last around 20 minutes. Most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. 1 in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav and you will need to follow traffic signs instead


To book your practical test you'll need:

  • Your pass certificate number

  • Valid UK provisional driving licence

  • Credit or debit card

Then you can either:

Preparing for your practical test

TSO LOGO WHITE BG CMYKThe practical test shows that your driving skills have reached a level where you can drive consistently well, with confidence and without help or guidance.

You’ll need to take your practical test within two years of passing your theory test – otherwise your theory test pass certificate will expire.

DVSA offer a range of products to help you prepare for your practical test and beyond, which you can access at

Passing your driving test doesn’t mean you know everything: it’s the first step in learning to be a skilled driver.

Remember! As a Good Egg Driver reader, you will also receive 30% discount on Official DVSA learning materials. Simply enter GE30 at the checkout.

How many mistakes can I make?

You're allowed to make up to 15 minor faults - e.g. signalling too early/late, brushing the pavement when stopping, etc. But you'll fail immediately if you make a serious or dangerous fault - e.g. unable to complete a manoeuvre or doing something that could be dangerous, etc).

The Practical test - things to remember to bring

  • Your appointment card
  • Photocard
  • Theory test certificate
  • Provisional driving licence

Driving test today

Pre-test nerves

Taking a test of any kind can have an unexpected effect on our minds and bodies - it's a condition often referred to as 'pre-test nerves'. A common symptom can be the need to use a toilet more often than usual, yet surprisingly many driving test centres do not have customer toilets! Bear this in mind before you leave for your test.

If you need to use the toilet before your driving test, don't put it off as this can just add to the pressure. Experienced driving instructors with local knowledge will usually pre warn their pupils or try to make alternative provision available (e.g. petrol station, public WCs, etc,) on the way to the test centre and allow additional time for the diversion. Don't be afraid to ask.

Good luck!

If you’re not successful you can book another practical test after 10 working days – and there’s no limit to how many you can take (although your theory test pass is only valid for two years) and you will have to pay again each time you sit your test.

Top Tip!

Do your research before you start looking. And if you're buying a first car think 'small'. In most cases the smaller the car the lower the insurance premium and fuel costs.

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Supported By

Arnold Clark

Working in collaboration with

Endorsed 2 - Roadsafe
Road Safety GB
London Road Safety Council