If you don’t follow me on any of my social media platforms, then you won’t know that a couple of weeks ago I finally passed my driving test, and boy what a relief it was too!
After eight months of lessons and one failed test back in November, I began to think that passing was never going to happen. But after much perseverance, a few tears and lots of motivation to succeed I finally did it!
I thought I would do a quick overview of my experience as this is something that I would have love to have read to put me at ease prior to my test!
Before the Test
After already failing once, as you can imagine on the run up to my second test I was a massive ball of stress and anxiety…I also didn’t tell anyone about my second test, which meant I couldn’t vent to anyone, in hindsight probably not the best thing to do.
I spent hours revising the show and tell me questions so much so, that come test day I was more or less able to recite them off by heart. For me making sure I was prepared for anything second time round was incredibly important. Having my own car massively helped with this, I made sure that wherever me and my boyfriend went I would drive, just so I could get in the practice and build my confidence which I think really did benefit me come test day.
The Lesson Before
My test was at 12:38…why they don’t just round it up, I’ll never know! But my instructor picked me up at 11:30 for a quick run through of the different manoeuvres, which after nearly eight months of lessons I had basically perfected.
I would always suggest having a lesson before, it really helped calm my nerves and just get into the swing of driving. It also gives your instructor a chance to impart their last few words of wisdom, mine being to keep checking my mirrors and exaggerate that too.
Arrival at The Test Centre
Having already done this once before, when I arrived at the test centre, I was a lot calmer than I expected and I was confident in my driving abilities, something that in November, I definitely wasn’t!
I reverse bay parked and went into the test centre, still very calm. I was surprised at how busy it was, I took my test on Jan 2nd so thought that this might be a quiet period. However it was quire reassuring it being busy as it didn’t let me think too much about the test and what was to come!
After a quick introduction to my examiner and the realisation that it was the same man who examined me before, we quickly got on our way. The biggest thing to remember before your test is that the examiners aren’t there to catch you out, they’re just there to make sure you’re safe to be on the road alone. I think this is where I panicked so much previously, I was just worried they didn’t want me to pass, this consumed me so much that I just made silly mistakes which resulted in me failing.
Second time round the test went so much smoother than the first one, probably down to me taking it in my own car!
Before the test begins, a tell me question is always asked, the ones I had literally learnt off by heart, luckily I was asked a fairly easy one, pop the bonnet and tell me where the break fluid is and how you would see if there is enough in there.
After quickly running through the plan for the test we quickly got to it, with the first thing I did being my maneuverer, a reverse bay park. This was the one I really hoped I didn’t get because it was the one, I was least confident on, however with a minor adjustment, I managed to do it and pretty well for that matter too. That was the worst part over with, after this I just needed to focus on driving and not making silly mistakes whilst doing so.
Part of the new test introduced in 2018 is 20 minutes of independent driving, the examiner will either ask you to follow the road signs to a destination or follow the sat nav. After about 15 minutes of the examiner directing me and one hill start later, the examiner the told be that for the next 20 minutes of the test, I would be following the sat nav, which I was really pleased about, I’d much rather this than following road signs.
Since getting the maneuverer out of the way at the very start, the rest of the test really wasn’t anything to worry about. I held my nerve and didn’t make any mistakes which threw me off course, completely different to my first test.
Overall the test itself flew by and the 40 minutes was over before I knew it. Luckily the examiner was easy to talk too as well, which helped put me at ease. I couldn’t think of anything worse than being stuck in a car with someone who I couldn’t have chit chat with!
Of course I passed and when he told me I did it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could just relax now. I never have to do a driving test again! I was shaking more when he told me that I had passed than what I was when I started the test, that’s how proud of myself I was!
After a quick debrief, I got handed my pass certificate and was sent on my way with my driving licence. Quite possibly the best possible start to 2020!
Reflecting upon my eight months as a learner, I can see now why I failed back in November and in a way I’m glad I did. Those extra six weeks of practice made all the difference and ultimately made me a better driver and safer to be allowed on the road alone!
If there are any learners reading this, the one piece of advice I would give is try your best not to overthink the situation and don’t give up! I know these are both easier said than done, but the more you over think the more likely you’ll be to make silly mistakes!