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Test FAQs. Not so silly questions.

Sat 23rd Feb 2019


Q: Do I take my test in this (tuition) car?

A: Yes. It seems that lots of people think there is a special fleet of 'test cars', but that's not the case. Most people choose to take their test in the car they've driven during lessons. It makes sense, as you will have got used to the size, reference points and clutch feel etc.. If you have your own car, you can take the test in that, provided that it's insured, taxed & MoT'd. Also on the day, you'll need 'L' plates attached and also a rear view mirror for the Driving Examiner to use.

Q: How long is the test?

A: It's around 40 minutes. If you have a clear run, and you whiz round in under 30 minutes, you'll find yourself going around the block a bit! This because the test legally has to be a minimum of 30 minutes.

Q: If I stall, will I fail?

A: No, probably not. Stalling is not a big problem, but how you deal with it might be! So long as you keep control (maybe use the handbrake if needed) restart and move off with good observations, it's usually just a 'driver fault' (df, or what people usually call a 'minor').

Q: How many manoeuvres do I have to do?

A: There are 4 manoeuvres and you only get 1 of them. So you know, the manoeuvres are: forward bay park (and reverse out), reverse bay park, parallel park and pulling up on right, reversing a bit and moving off. A third of candidates are asked to do the emergency stop, but this is not considered a manoeuvre, but a 'procedure'.

Q: Will I fail for crossing my hands?

A: No. The examiner is less worried about how you steer, but you do have to be in control. If there is no loss of control, no fault can be marked. The 'push pull' or 'feeding the wheel' method often taught is the gold standard for steering, but it's not the only way. This is often taught poorly, and many instructors exaggerate the importance of this method which causes a lot of needless anxiety for many pupils.

Q: If I clip the kerb will I fail?

A: Not necessarily. Scuffing a wheel on the kerb at low speed will usually just be a minor for steering. It's easy to do in narrow roads, and especially with test nerves. If you proper whack into a kerb at speed, or fully mount the kerb with one or more wheels, this will usually result in a fail.

Q: Is it better to drive slowly?

A: Simply, no! You need to drive at a speed that is appropriate to the road and conditions (traffic & weather), and within the speed limit of course. While you might feel it's safe driving at 15mph in a 30 limit, or at 40 in a 60, you need to consider how other road users following might respond to such a slow speed. Not driving at an appropriate, reasonable speed would be marked under 'Progress/appropriate speed'. If there is traffic behind you, this might well be a serious fault. By the way, going too fast is under 'Use of speed' - don't go there!