• How we work

    Find a School
  • Contact Instructor
  • Start your Lessons

Newsletter Signup


Before You Pass

Welcome to this help page which has been designed to provide useful information to learners who have not yet passed their driving test.

The help page is broken down into the following sections:

  • Medical Rules
  • Provisional License Application

For learner drivers wishing to drive a car:

  • Theory Test
  • Practical test
  • Eyesight Requirements
  • Vehicle safety Questions
  • Pass Plus

For learner riders wishing to ride a motorcycle:

  • Motorcycles you can ride
  • CBT (Compulsory Basic Training)
  • Clothing & Weather Protection
  • Further Training

Medical Rules

If you have a medical condition or disability which may affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely, you must contact the DVLA as soon as possible as failure to do so can carry a fine of up to a £1,000.

License application forms usually contain questions regarding your health and it is advisable to clearly state all conditions and disabilities you may have.

Provisional License Application

Applying for a provisional license to drive the vehicle of your choice is a simple and straight-forward process. The easiest way to do this is by completing the online application form at the Direct.gov website. However, if you prefer to apply using the traditional method, you simply need to visit your local Post Office and ask them to provide you with the ‘D1’ application forms.

You will also need to include a passport-sized photograph of yourself along with the fee when you send off your application.

Turnaround is usually anytime up to 3 weeks depending on postal services and back-logs etc, which can slightly delay the process.

For learners wishing to drive a car

Theory Test

The theory test is split into 2 sections, the first section being ‘multiple choice’ and the second section being ‘hazard perception’. In order to successfully pass the theory test, you will need to complete both sections fully.

Multiple Choice – In order to successfully complete this section, you will need to correctly answer 43 questions out of 50 and within a 57 minute period.

Hazard Perception – In order to successfully complete this section, you will need to score at least 44 points out of 75 over the duration of 14 video clips.

Practical Test

The practical test is were you physically drive the vehicle in test conditions whilst being assessed by a trained examiner. This test is considered to be the most difficult out of the two however with good tuition, knowledge, planning and focus, it is easily accomplished.

The test usually starts with an eyesight check and some vehicle safety questions. Once this part of the test has been completed, the learner driver will then take the car onto the road where they will have to demonstrate a safe standard of driving whilst also accomplishing a set of driving manoeuvres (bay parking, 3-point-turn etc).

During the test, the examiner will give the learner driver directions to follow. It is a good idea for the learner driver to remain calm, relaxed and drive in the manner in which they have been taught. The learner driver is allowed to make up to 15 minor faults (16 or more will be classed as a failure) however if the learner driver makes a serious error or fault which is deemed dangerous driving by the examiner, this will also incur an instant failure of the test.

Once the test has been completed and you have returned back to the test centre, the examiner will then provide you with your result and an explanation of his findings. If you fail the test, it is recommended that you re-book another appointment as soon as possible to keep your momentum and also utilise the examiners feedback to identify problematic areas for practice at a later date.

Eyesight Requirements

In order to establish if you have any difficulties regarding your eye sight, a simple eyesight check is carried out at the start of the practical test (before you get into the vehicle). This process will begin with the examiner asking the learner driver to read a registration plate on a stationary vehicle from a set distance.

If you require visual aids such as glasses or contact lenses to read the vehicle registration plate, the examiner will remind you that by law, you will need to use the same visual aids through-out the whole duration of your practical test.

If you fail to correctly identify the vehicle registration plate which the examiner has specified, you will be asked to read a second registration plate. If you fail to identify the second registration plate then the examiner will pick a third and final registration plate for you and will also measure the precise distance. If you fail to correctly identify the third registration plate, this will be deemed a failure and the practical test will not begin.

Vehicle Safety Questions

This is another simple test which is conducted at the start of the practical test and usually after the eyesight check has been completed. These questions are based on the learner driver’s knowledge of vehicle safety. The questions are relatively simple and require the learner driver to point out or explain the process of their answers.

Once the vehicle safety questions have been answered, the examiner will then ask the learner driver one ‘show me’ question and one ‘tell me’ question. If one or both of these questions are answered incorrectly, this will be recorded by the examiner as one minor fault.

10 Good Tips for Passing Your Practical Test

  • Always look around for the best instructor. Just because someone is offering cheaper lessons doesn’t necessarily mean they are offering a better service. Ask about any discount schemes they offer and if they include extra facilities such as motorway tuition.
  • Make sure you get the time you pay for i.e. if you have paid for an hour’s tuition, make sure you get the full hour and don’t allow the instructor to cut short your lesson so they can get to their next client on time.
  • Always make sure you hire a fully trained and experienced driving instructor. One way to check this is by asking for credentials over the phone and making sure the instructor clearly displays their green ‘qualification’ badge in their windscreen (this means they are fully qualified as per the Driving Standards Agency syllabus). An instructor who displays a pink badge in their windscreen means that they are still in training and have no official authority to teach you to drive.
  • If you can, ask your instructor or school to see if they use dual-control cars. This will enable you to relax more knowing the instructor can step in should things get out of control. Also, ask your instructor if they have back-up vehicles should your vehicle break down for any reason.
  • All good instructors should provide you with a progress log so you can track your progress and identify any problematic areas for future practice so make sure you ask your instructor for one of these. Also, ask your instructor for help on the theory test as some instructors provide CD-ROM’s or textbooks.
  • If you can, book your theory test appointment as soon as possible whilst you are taking lessons as this will help you avoid any delays at a later date. Remember, the theory test has to be completed and passed before you can apply to take your practical test.
  • Ask your instructor at the end of a lesson if they can identify any areas of weakness that will need more practice. This will allow you to plan properly for your next lesson and get the most out of it.
  • If possible, try and take at least two lessons per week with a minimum timescale of an hour for each lesson as this will allow you to build momentum and aid in quelling any anxiety you may have.
  • If possible, book a lesson immediately before your practical test so you can iron out any last minute problems or fears. This is also a good chance to get some last minute advice and encouragement from your instructor before your practical exam.
  • Try and relax as much as possible before you start your practical exam as this will help your focus and concentration. A good way to control any fear or nervousness is to control your breathing by slowing down inhalation through the nose and exhalation through the mouth.

Pass Plus

Pass Plus is a relatively new training course aimed at increasing learner driver’s knowledge and experience further. Some of the topics of the Pass Plus course include:

  • Driving in and around busy city and town centres
  • Driving in various weather conditions
  • Driving on difficult country roads
  • Driving during the night
  • Driving on busy roads such as carriageways and motorways

The Pass Plus course can begin once the learner driver has successfully passed their practical test and obtained their full driving license. In order to complete the course, the learner driver must successfully achieve all objectives as set out by the course guidelines (see above).

Fees for the Pass Plus course depend on the instructor and area in which you live in and the minimum time-frame for the course is 6 hours (6 x 1 hour sessions) however if you need more sessions, this may add to the total cost of the course.

It is recommended that new or recent drivers take up the opportunity of completing the Pass Plus course as there are future benefits which can be obtained such as insurance discounts which can greatly reduce the high insurance costs for new drivers. 

For learners wishing to ride a motorcycle 

Motorcycles You Can Ride

There are two types or motorcycle license which learner riders can apply for, these are:

  • Light Motorcycle License (A1): This license has motorcycle restrictions of up to 125cc. If this license has been applied for, only motorcycles up to 125cc can be used for its practical test.
  • Standard Motorcycle License (A): This license has motorcycle restrictions of a minimum 120cc. If this license has been applied for, only motorcycles over 120cc can be used for the practical test.

Once the motorcycle practical test has been successfully completed, learner riders are restricted to riding motorcycles of up to 25kW for the first two years of riding. Once this time-frame has been exceeded, the learner rider is then free to ride any motorcycle they wish.

CBT (Compulsory Basic Training)

Compulsory Basic Training is the first course of training a learner rider will need to successfully complete. If a learner rider is over 16 years old and wishes to ride a moped, they will need to complete Compulsory Basic Training in order to activate their provisional license.

Compulsory Basic Training involves the following elements:

  • Introduction
  • Practical on-site training
  • Practical on-site riding
  • Practical on-road training
  • Practical on-road riding

In order to successfully complete Compulsory Basic Training, the 5 elements as outlined above will need to be completed in order from start to finish.

Once you have successfully completed Compulsory Basic Training, you will be awarded the DL196 Certificate of completion and this will allow you to then progress to the next stages such as the theory and practical tests.

The costs for the Compulsory Basic Training course will depend on your instructor and area however a good guideline is anywhere from £70 to £100. Also, depending on your instructor, motorcycles and helmets may not be provided so make sure you clarify these issues before you begin.

Clothing & Weather Protection

Learner riders must never under-estimate the need for safety clothing and weather protection as they play a key part in the safety of not only the learner rider but other road users also.

By law, a safety helmet is required for a motorcycle rider to legally use the roads. However other items of safety clothing and protection are just as important. Examples of safety and weather protection clothing are:

  • Visors or Goggles: These help protect your eyes from wind, rain, insects and dirt. Visors and goggles must always be kept clean by using warm soapy water.
  • Bodysuits or Leathers: This is a key item of protective clothing for the rider. Good body protection clothing will include protection for the knees, shoulders and elbows and will have attached fluorescent reflectors.
  • Gloves or Gauntlets: Gloves protect your hands from weather conditions and injury should you fall off the motorcycle.
  • Boots: As with gloves, protective boots will protect your feet should you fall off the motorcycle.
  • Visibility Aids: This is another key aspect of protection and safety for the learner rider as this will allow other road users to see your presence especially at night, early mornings or severe weather conditions such as fog or heavy rainfall.

Further Training

Further training for learner riders or new riders is always recommended as the better a rider becomes the more safe they will be on the roads both for themselves and for other road users. Motorcycle riding becomes more enjoyable and relaxed for the rider.

Although the only way to gain more experience and knowledge of motorcycle riding is to learn as you go on the roads, there are further training courses available such as the Enhanced Rider Scheme.

The Enhanced Rider Scheme is not an off-the-shelf course however it is tailored specifically for each learner rider so there is no set timeline or minimum course requirements. To apply for the Enhanced Rider Scheme, speak to your instructor or contact a local riding school in your area. Fees for the Enhanced Rider Scheme will depend on your instructor and area.

Once the Enhanced Rider Scheme has been completed, the learner rider will be awarded the Enhanced Rider Scheme Certificate and like the Pass Plus course for learner drivers of vehicles, it will provide some long term benefits such as insurance discounts.

For more information on any of the above topics, please visit the below sites:

www.direct.gov.uk

www.theaa.com