Abacus School of Motoring
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Test Facts

How to Prepare for the Driving Test
  • It is essential to know exactly what you are going into. Having a thorough understanding of what to expect on the driving test will give you more confidence as you will be aware of what exactly is going to happen on the day of the test.
  • The driving part of the driving test may only last 30 minutes or so, but a lot of ground can be covered in this time. The examiner will test your ability on the most difficult areas of the test routes. The driving test will include roundabouts, junctions and crossroads, all of various types. Ensure you understand all of these road systems fully. If in the slightest doubt or if you don’t feel entirely confident in your ability at some of these systems, ask your driving instructor for advice.
How to Pass your Driving Test
  • Throughout the Driving Test you need to be in control by being observant, looking and Planning well ahead.
  • Most learner drivers make some mistakes during the driving test, mistakes that usually result in minor Driving Faults. Some then tend to dwell on these mistakes thinking all is lost. Instead, forget about it. Keep your concentration on the rest of the test and not what has happened.This guide will help you avoid the most common mistakes made by learner drivers.
  • During the driving test be aware of the Speed Limit and make progress according to the road and traffic conditions. Do the speed limit if it is safe to do so. However, you are a learner and have less experience. When approaching potential hazards such as roundabouts, junctions or crossroads slow down. It's OK to approach these a little slower than everyone else. Give yourself the time to select the correct lane and to take appropriate observations.  Many driving tests are failed simply because the approach speed is too fast and as a result, you are not giving yourself enough time to plan and act in a proactive manner.
  • Not sure where to go? If you are in the slightest doubt where to go or didn’t hear the examiner correctly, ask the examiner to repeat immediately. They prefer you to keep on route and will be happy to clarify. If you realise you have taken a wrong turn and are going the wrong way, don’t panic. You wont fail the driving test for this. The examiner will simply guide you back.
  • Independent driving. It is not a test of your ability to navigate, it is a test of your ability to remain safe and follow the rules of the road. If you find yourself in the wrong lane just go where the lane directs you to go. It doesn't matter if you take a wrong turn as long as you deal with the situation safely.
  • Mirrors. Check your mirrors frequently whilst driving and in particular before signalling, changing speed or direction so you are aware of who and what is around you at all times. Give yourself time to analyse what you see and use the information to make safe decisions. Remember to check Blind Spots and signal if necessary when moving off and changing lanes.
  • Manoeuvres. You will have one manoeuvre to carry out and possibly an Emergency Stop.This is the one time on the Driving Test that you can do something at your own pace. Take your time. Turn your head and look where you are going. Relying solely on the mirrors is not an option if your observations are to be effective. However, well adjusted mirrors can give you the confidence to know exactly where the car is and to position it accurately. It's not a requirement that you complete the manoeuvre in one move. It's OK to pause occasionally to check all round. Respond appropriately if you are affecting another road user.
During the Test
  • You can tell the Examiner what you are doing if you feel it necessary. For example, Examiners are trained to watch you making observations at Junctions. Whilst they are watching you they may not notice another driver flashes the lights to give you priority. If necessary tell the examiner why you are pulling out. 
  • People who fail on emerging usually do so because they haven't looked both left and right sufficiently before crossing the line.
  • Stalling the car on test is usually only a minor fault unless it is somewhere dangerous, or it is caused by being in the wrong gear.
  • Repeating the same driver fault will eventually lead to a Serious Fault. 
  • If you commit a Serious Fault the Test will continue.
  • If you commit a Dangerous Fault the driving test may be terminated at that point.
  • If you reach the end of a one way street and are supposed to turn right, and you suddenly realise you are in the left lane, go where the road markings direct you.
  • You are responsible for operating ancillary controls such as the windscreen wipers/washers or demisters if they are needed.Turn on your lights if visibility deteriorates.
  • Listen carefully to the examiner's instruction. It will help you to decide which lane to get into at a roundabout by the direction he gives. For example an instruction to “turn Right and take the third exit ” means you will need to get in the right lane and indicate right. Listen carefully for the exit Number especially when turning Left. If it’s the "SECOND Left" NO SIGNAL is needed until you have passed the First Exit.
  • Driving examiners may need to change their mind as to which reversing exercise you are going to do if the route doesn’t present safe opportunities.
  • If a manoeuvre is going wrong, or you don't like the way it is going, you can shunt forwards at least once to alter it. It is rare to fail on a manoeuvre if you finish up with the car reasonably accurate. Have the confidence to stop, take your time and shunt forwards if necessary.
  • You will only ever be asked to reverse into a parking bay at the driving test centre. On the Bay Park excessive shunting MAY cause you to Fail. However, not being in the Bay WILL cause you to Fail. Make sure you are IN THE BAY. You can finish at a slight angle as long as you are not over the line either side. 
  • On a turn-in-the-road exercise the turn doesn't have to be done in 3 movements. 
  • When reversing around a corner you can pause as often as necessary to take effective observations.
  • On the parallel parking manoeuvre you can finish with the wheels still on full lock.You don't have to straighten them, it’s easier to get back out.
  • Steering whilst stationary (dry steering) is not usually marked as a fault but is not kind to your cars tyres.
  • If another vehicle comes up behind you and prevents you from carrying out the rest of the exercise ask the examiner if he wants you to go back and start over.
General Facts
  • As soon as you leave the test centre, before you reach your car, the examiner will normally ask you if he can call you by your first name.
  • Examiners don't like surprises - keep your driving smooth, gentle and predictable
  • Examiners like confident drivers - show him/her that you know what you are doing .
  • An examiners role is purely to assess the standard of your driving. He should help to put you at ease, but he cannot help you as your Instructor does.
  • You can have your Instructor or a friend accompany you and sit in the back on your driving test, but they must take no part in the Test.
  • If you do not agree with the way your test was conducted you can make an appeal. If you win the appeal the result will not be changed, you will just get a free retest.
  • The examiner will intervene either verbally of physically if there is risk to persons or property. Any intervention will be marked as a Serious Fault.
  • If your examiner instructions mentions a direction (left or right) then a signal is necessary 
  • You can fail for not driving up to the speed limit ( eg. driving at 45mph in a 60mph limit) or for not accelerating sufficiently when pulling out into fast moving traffic.
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I want to thoroughly recommend John Guest and the Abacus Driving School to anyone learning to drive. As an older and very nervous pupil I'd had some 'false starts' with instructors in the past but John's extremely calm and patient nature put me at ease. John not only got through me through my test but has given me real confidence in my driving. Thank you very much John!
Danielle Doherty 21-04-2015
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