Test Structure


Prior to your driving test it is a good idea to meet with your driving instructor and drive around the roads close to the test centre. Use this time to practice the four manoeuvres and familiar yourself with the weather and road conditions.

Make sure you have your provisional driving licence and theory test certificate with you as without it you will not be able to start your driving test and will have to book another slot.

When arriving at the test centre it is a good idea to park your car in a position that allows for an easy exit. The next time you drive the car will be when you are being assessed so make it easy for yourself.


Once you have found the test centre and parked your car you will need to make your way to the test centre waiting room. It’s best not to arrive too early as you will just be sat nervously waiting until your allocated slot.

The driving test examiner who will be taking your test will enter the waiting room and call you name. First impressions matter so remember to be polite and treat them with respect. They will firstly ask to see your provisional driving licence and ask that you sign a declaration that confirms you are insured to drive the vehicle you plan to take on the driving test.

You have the option for your instructor to accompany you on the driving test. This is something you would have hopefully discussed prior to taking the test so should not come as a surprise. The decision is entirely yours so if you feel that having them there may make you feel at ease it may be worth taking them along. If you decide that you would like your instructor to join you on your test they will sit in the back behind the drivers seat.


During the walk to your car your driving instructor will test your eyesight by asking you to read a numberplate of a car in the distance. The requirement is that you are able to read either a new style car number plate (after 1st September 2001) from a distance of no less than 20 meters, or an older style car number plate (before 1st September 2001) from a distance of no less than 20.5 meters.

You are given three attempts to successfully read a number plate. If you cannot read the number plate the first time your examiner will ask you to read a second number plate. If you are unable to read either the first or second number plate your examiner will measure the exact distance and give you a third attempt. If you fail the third attempt then your driving test will be immediately terminated. It is worth noting that the first and second attempt will be from a distance of 20 meters or further. The driving test instructor is attempting to get as close to the 20 meter requirement as possible but edging on the side of caution and potentially asking you to read a number plate further than 20 meters away.

You are allowed to wear contact lenses or glasses but you must also ensure that you wear these during your driving test.

If you have difficulties with spoken English you are allowed to write the number plate down.


Once you have made your way to the car the examiner will ask you two vehicle safety (show me tell me) questions. There is a bank of 19 questions in total and all relate to the safety and maintenance of owning and driving a car. You should have hopefully practiced these questions prior to taking the driving test so they should not come as a surprise.

You will be asked one ‘show me’ and one ‘tell me’ question. The ‘show me’ questions require you to demonstrate how you would carry out a particular vehicle safety check, where as the ‘tell me’ questions expect you to explain how you would carry out a vehicle safety check.

If you incorrectly answer one or both of these questions you will receive one minor driving fault. Don’t worry as it is not possible to receive a major driving fault or completely fail your driving test by answering these questions incorrectly.


Sometime during your driving test you will be asked to demonstrate at least one manoeuvre. Before the independent driving element was introduced each student would have to perform two different manoeuvres. This has since changed and it is now very uncommon for a student to be asked to demonstrate more than one manoeuvre.

Your driving examiner will be looking at how you are able to successfully keep control of your vehicle whilst effectively observing and acting correctly to your surroundings.

The four manoeuvres that you could be asked are:

  • Turn in the road
  • Left corner reverse
  • Right corner reverse
  • Parallel park

The turn in the road and left corner reverse are most common out of the four manouvres. However, it is still possible that you will be asked to demonstrate the right corner reverse or reverse park.


At some point doing your driving test your driving test examiner will announce that you are now being accessed on your independent driving. This is for approximately 10 minutes and is to demonstrate that you are able to safely follow verbal directions, road signs and markings. Your driving test examiner will conduct this element of your driving test in one of three ways.

1 Verbal Directions
Your driving test examiner may conduct this element of your driving test by giving you a series of verbal instructions. They will give you a verbal route such as “At the end of the road turn right, take the second road on the left and then take the second junction at the roundabout”. You may also be shown a simple diagram of the route to help you visualise the turns you will have to make.

2 Road Signs
Even if you don’t know the area very well this part of the test shouldn’t be too difficult to successfully pass. Your driving test examiner will give you a verbal instruction such as “I would like you to follow the signs towards Bournemouth town centre until further notice”. It is worth remembering that no part of this test is to catch you out. The verbal instructions are from a bank of possible situations so there will always be adequate road signs to be able to successfully navigate to the requested destination.

3 Verbal Directions and Road Signs
It is possible that the independent driving element of your driving test will include both verbal directions and road signs. Your driving test examiner may say something along the lines of “I would like you to take the second road on the right, the first exit at the roundabout and then follow the road signs towards Bournemouth”.

You are allowed to ask the driving test examiner to repeat the directions.

This element of your driving test isn’t to test your navigational abilities, it is to demonstrate that you can follow road signs and markings correctly. If you happen to accidentally take the wrong junction at the roundabout or turn right rather than left it won’t harm the result of your test unless you also commit a minor or major driving fault. Your examiner will help you get back on route so you can continue with your independent driving.


Don’t be surprised if you get to the end of the test and you have not performed an emergency stop (also known as the controlled stop). The controlled stop is on average only assessed in one every three driving tests so it is not necessarily going to appear during your assessment.

If you are going to be assessed for the controlled stop during your driving test your examiner will ask you to pull over so they can explain what will be required. Your examiner will explain that within the next few minutes they will give you a signal to stop the car as if it was an emergency situation. The signal is likely to be when your examiner raises their hand under the rear view mirror. Your driving test examiner will tell you not to preempt the emergency stop and to wait until their signal.

When you see your examiner give the signal you will need to perform the controlled stop as if it was a real emergency. Like in a real emergency you will not have time to check the mirrors before applying the brakes.

Remember that you won’t be asked to stop if it is dangerous to do so. Your driving test examiner will check it is safe to perform the emergency stop prior to giving the signal. The test will only be performed on a 30 mph road when there is no traffic behind, vehicles approaching or cyclists.


No matter how you feel the test went remember to stay positive and drive to your best of ability until the driving test examiner announces that the test is over. Once you have pulled back into the test centre secure the car and turn off the engine. Your examiner will then announce whether you have passed or failed your driving test and discuss any driving faults you may have made.

If you have passed then the driving test examiner will give you a test pass certificate. They will also take your provisional driving licence and fill in the relevant forms for your new licence to be processed.

If you took the test in your driving instructors car then it is normal for your instructor to drive you back home.