The Practical Test - Driving School South West

The Practical Test

The practical driving test will be roughly 40 minutes long and will cover a wide range of roads and traffic situations.

What To Expect On The Day

Your practical driving test will be roughly 40 minutes long and will cover a wide range of roads and traffic situations. You’ll be asked to carry out one manoeuvre and a twenty minute independent driving section, you may also be asked to perform a controlled stop.

You will begin your practical driving test with an eyesight check. You should be able to read a number plate from 20.5 meters, if you’re unable to then the examiner will not continue with the test. Here we will assume that you have been successful in reading the number plate and therefore continue with your test. You will be asked two show me/tell me questions, the first question will be a Tell Me question before you start driving, the second a Show Me question will be asked once you are actually driving. Your instructor will have practised all the questions with you prior to you test.

As vehicle technology advances, some cars are fitted with electronic diagnostic systems which will tell you the engine fluid levels and tyre pressures. It’s absolutely fine to refer to the diagnostic system (if fitted) when responding to the vehicle safety questions.

Once you’re in the car, the examiner will give you a brief explanation of the driving test and then you’re ready to roll!

What The Practical Test Includes

The practical driving part of the test will last roughly 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be expecting an overall safe standard of driving, including any time that you are performing a manoeuvre.

You are allowed up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test. (16 faults or more will result in a failure.) If you commit one serious or dangerous fault during your practical driving test, then you will fail.

During the test your examiner will direct you both verbally and using a Sat Nav during the independent driving part. If at any point you are unsure about where to go or what you are being asked to do, just ask and they will repeat or explain their instruction. If during the independent driving part the Sat Nav fails to work the examiner will then direct you verbally. It is your practical driving test and you are paying for it, so make the most of the time available to show your examiner just how good you are!


You will be asked to carry out one of the following manoeuvres, this can happen during the independent driving part.

Pull up on the right and reverse – whilst you are driving the examiner will ask you to park on the right hand side of the road, then reverse back two car lengths. The manoeuvre is over once you have selected neutral and applied the handbrake.

Parallel parking – whilst you are driving the examiner will ask you to park on the left, then pull up alongside a parked car and reverse back and finish no more than one cars length away from it and reasonably close to the kerb.

Bay parking – this can be done at the test centre or whilst out on your test. You will have to either reverse into a bay and drive out or drive into a bay and reverse out.

You must show good all-round observation and control of the car when completing any of these manoeuvres.

It’s possible that you’ll be asked to carry out an emergency stop at some point during your practical driving test. The emergency stop is an exercise, if you’re asked to do one you will still have to do a manoeuvre as well. The examiner will ask you to park and then brief you on this before asking you to complete the emergency stop. You have to stop the car as if a small child has stepped out in front of you. Don’t mess about, stop the car!

The most important thing to remember throughout your practical driving test, is to drive the way your instructor has taught you. If you make a mistake, don’t worry! It may only result in a minor fault. Just continue your test and take each minute at a time, before you know it you’ll be back at the test centre and hopefully will have passed!

Following directions by Sat Nav

The examiner will bring a Sat nav with them that has stored test routes, they install it in the car and operate it.

The sat nav screen will be on throughout the test but won’t show directions until the independent driving part. The screen will display the cars speed and the speed limit, however both you and the examiner should follow the cars speedometer reading.

The sound will be turned on for the independent driving part. If the Sat Nav stops working the examiner will go back to giving verbal directions.

When you book your practical driving test, there is a section asking if you have any special needs. Complete this if necessary. Examiners are very experienced and will adapt the test to suit your needs.

End Of The Test

When the test is finished, your examiner will tell you whether you’ve passed or failed. You can ask them for a debrief and they will go through your performance during the test.

The examiner will ask you whether you want your instructor to listen to the debrief, you need to answer yes. Whilst the examiner is in the car they are in charge and your instructor can only approach the car at the end of the test if invited by the examiner.

The Standard Needed To Pass

Every examiner is fully trained to carry out a driving test fairly and mark every pupil to the same standard. There are no pass or fail quotas. Just drive to the standard that your driving instructor has taught you and you will pass.

The price of the practical driving lesson is £62.

Our nearest test centre is in Newton Abbot.

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