The Driving Test

The Driving Test should be a straight forward demonstration of your ability to drive safely and independently without help.
Taking the test too early or without being fully prepared can be a costly mistake as well as taking longer.

Before taking your Driving Test it is best to experience a number of Mock Driving Tests with your driving instructor, this will help you become familiar with what would be expected of you on your Driving Test.


Booking Your Test

Where you decide to take your Driving Test is a decision that you can take after taking advice from your Driving Instructor.
During your lessons you will practice in the areas that you might take your test around and you will become familar with the roads and surrounding area.
It makes sense to take your test at a test centre that is close to where you have been concentrating your practice around.

It is important to remember to that just driving around test routes will not prepare you for a life time of safe driving, so you will learn to drive on a wide variety of roads and conditions.

The following test centres are available locally.

  • Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • Stoke-on-Trent (Cobridge)
  • Stafford
  • Crewe

After taking advice from your instructor about when you will be a ready to take you or your instructor can checkr test availabilty at your chosen test centre, and an option is for your instructor to book the test on your behalf.
There is usually a waiting list for test availability, this can be a number of weeks so waiting times need to be judged when nearing test standeard.

Booking the Driving Test can be done online at the official DVSA website.

Be careful when booking your Driving Test as a number of websites will try to charge you a booking fee, only use the DVSA website to avoid being over charged.

The fee payable to the DVSA for the Driving Test is £62 during the week, and is £75 for a test on Saturday if they are made available by the DVSA.
If you are being asked to pay more you may not be using the official website and using a booking agent.

Alternatively, you can telephone the DVSA (0300 200 1122) if you need to book additional services such as you need the test translated into another language other than English, you are deaf or have problems reading.

Book Your Test


On Your Driving Test

At the start of your Driving Test you will be asked to sign the marking sheet, called the DL25 to say that you are insured for the Driving Test and have been a resident in the UK for the last 6 months.

The DSA Driving Test is about 40 minutes long, during which the examiner will try to cover a wide variety of different road conditions.
These could be quiet low speed residential roads, town centre driving, rural roads or dual carriageways.

Before you start your driving test you will required to read a number plate of a vehicle from a distance of 20.5 metres. The eye sight check must be passed or your test will not be allowed to continue.

You will be asked two questions on vehicle maintenance and safety checks as part of your driving test.

These are generally called the ‘Show Me / Tell Me Questions’.

The first question, the ‘Tell Me Question’ is done at the start of the driving test, the ‘Show Me Question” is done during your drive as part of the driving test.
Being confident about using the auxiliary controls of the car whilst on the move is important, as the examiner will assess your ability to operate the required switches whilst maintaining full control of the car.

If you answer one or both of the questions incorrectly it will be marked as a minor driver fault on the DL25.

Tell Me Questions

Show Me Questions


The Drive

You will also be required to do one of the following manoeuvres

  • Park on the right, and reverse for 2 car lengths
  • Parallel park around a vehicle
  • Drive forward onto a bay, and reverse out
  • Reverse parking into a bay
You might also be asked to do an Emergency Stop or Controlled Stop as it’s sometimes called.
It is not classed as a manoeuvre and it is attempted approximately every 3 tests, so it’s not guaranteed to be asked.
The examiner will ask you to pull on the left first, give you the instructions for the exercise before asking you to drive away and complete the exercise, when prompted.

You will also be required to drive independently for about 20 minutes following a series of instructions and road signs, or using a Sat Nav which the examiner brings to the test.
If at any time during the independent drive you are unsure of the route direction the examiner will be happy to repeat the instruction or clarify what he said.

During the remainder of the driving test the examiner will give you individual route directions, again these can be repeated if you are unsure what was said. If you do go the wrong way do not panic, the examiner is testing your ability to drive safely and not your ability to follow route directions.
It is always better to go the wrong way safely than to try and correct it in an unsafe manner.

While you are driving the examiner will make a note of any driver faults on the DL25 form, the faults are judged as minor, serious or dangerous.
At the end of the Driving Test the examiner will total up the number of driver faults under each category.
If you commit a serious or dangerous fault then unfortunately it will result in a fail, as will any more than 15 minor driving faults.


Common Faults

The driving faults are categorised into minor, serious and dangerous faults and are recorded against the appropriate headings on the DL25 marking sheet that the examiners use.
At the end of the test the examiner totals up the number of faults, if you commit 16 or more minor faults, a serious or dangerous fault then you will fail the Driving Test.

Even if you believe you have failed the test you should continue to try, as your opinion might not match the examiners and they may have judged the fault to be a minor one, also completing the test is good practice should you need to take it again.

The degree of of seriousness of each fault will depend upon a number of factors.
When other road users are affected, a minor fault can immediately become a serious one.
Dangerous faults will be recorded when either the driving examiner or other road users has been forced to take evasive action to avoid danger.