The Practical driving test



Carrying out driving tests: examiner guidance - DVSA DT1 (Updated: 22 August 2019)

The guidance driving examiners follow when they carry out driving tests in Great Britain. It's known as the 'DT1'. You can read this guidance if you want to understand the processes that driving examiners follow and how they make decisions about faults made in driving tests.

The driving test is based around three books that you can buy

DVSA Guide to driving      The Highway code            Know your traffic signs


These books explains everything you need to know about driving and detail all the skills you will need, No serious driver should be without a copy of the highway code in their glovebox. These comprehensive bookls illustrate and explain the vast majority of traffic signs that the road user is likely to encounter. A valuable reference for those about to take either the theory or practical tests or those who have been driving for years.

             Test advice

WARNING! There are some sites that charge ( approx £30) admin fee for booking your test. Please make sure the site is the Gov site or you could pay much more for your driving test. If your not sure call me you should only pay for the test.

 Always use the official DVSA site to book a theory or practical test the DVSA do not charge admin fees and is looking to stop such sites from operating.

Official 2017 DVSA guide to what happens during the driving test and what it takes to pass it - including the eyesight test, 'show me, tell me' questions, reversing exercises, and independent driving parts of the test.

If your practical test is cancelled due to an examiner not being able to attend another appointment will be arranged automatically at no further cost. , The DVSA will reimburse you for out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of this Use this form to claim out of pocket expenses.You cannot claim If your practical driving test is cancelled due to the following conditions

Taking your instructor on test

From April 6th 2010 the examiner will ask if your instructor can come along on the driving test.

DVSA has published a video on YouTube called 'Take your instructor on your driving test'. video on YouTube. In the video, Cecilia, a media student who passed her test two years ago, talks to learner drivers and instructors about the benefits of taking someone with you on your driving test.

Your driving test will start with an eyesight check and some vehicle safety questions.

You will then start your practical driving test which will include some specific manoeuvres.

The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving, including when you are carrying out the set exercises. The examiner will use standard test terminology throughout the test.

Driving faults are marked under three levels 1) Dangerous 2) Serious 3) Minor.

You can make up to 15 minor driving faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit one serious or dangerous fault or the examiner has to take any action either Verbal or Physical you will fail the test.

The Purpose of the Driving Test The driving test is straightforward. It is designed to see if you can drive safely and on your own. You know the Highway Code and can demonstrate this through your driving.  Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions. You will be given directions in good time and asked to carry out set exercises. The driving test lasts approximately 38 / 40 minutes (Extended tests will last about 70 minutes)

How will I be tested?

The driving test involves a DVSA examiner observing your driving over a set route.

Often when candidates are unfortunate enough to fail  a standard driving test, they do not understand how they could have possibly failed when the test seemed so easy.

Observation at Junctions   Turning right at junctions
Use of mirrors  Response to signs –Traffic lights 
Steering control Normal road positioning
Control when moving off      Control when reverse parking
Safety when moving off  Response to signs – Road markings

The reasons for failure are based on serious and dangerous markings.( Source DVSA)


See the Practical test elements This page  is an explanation of the standard requirements of the test and examples of the faults that can happen on the driving test, click on the link to have a look.

Booking the The Practical Test - Category B (Car)  Current prices  Please see the DVSA website

You can book by post, online, or by telephone
You may be able to have your test in the evening or on Saturday but the cost is increased

You can book your test over the phone or oline if you have a credit card.
If you book your test over the phone you need to call  0300 200 1122

You’ll now need to provide a contact email address when you book or change your practical test online to receive your booking confirmation. Booking confirmations for tests will no longer be posted out to you.

You must have the following information ready:-
Your driving licence number.
Your personal details (Name, Address, Post code, Date of birth, Telephone number) .
Type of vehicle (Car, Motorcycle). Time of test (Weekday, Evening, Saturday).
Your instructor's ADI number. ( my number is 156957 )
How soon you would like your test.
Your credit card details.
A test date and time will be given, which may be changed if its unsuitable.
You must give a least 10 working days notice to cancel your test or you will lose your fee.

REMEMBER: you must inform your instructor of the time and date of your test

Driving Test Centres

Cardiff (Llanishen)
Thornbury House, Unit 11 Lambourne Crescent, Cardiff Business Park, Cardiff, CF14 5GF Phone: 029 2074 1800

Llantrisant School Road Miskin Pontyclun Llantrisant Mid Glamorgan CF72 8YR

Merthyr Tydfil
Compass House, Merthyr Tydfil Industrial Park, Pentrebach, Merthyr Tydfil CF48 4DR Telephone number: 01443 699173

Unit 16 Business Support Centre, Hood Road, The Waterfront, Vale of Glamorgan, CF62 5QN

Minimum Test Vehicle Requirements for a Practical Test Category B (Car)

Cars / vans presented for test must be a four wheeled vehicle capable of a speed of at least 100 kph.

They must be roadworthy and Taxed and insured and be fitted with;

Local Test centre address for the Cardiff area is

Cardiff Driving Test Centre

Thornbury House
Unit 11
Lambourne Crescent
Cardiff Business Park
CF14 5GF

Test centre features

Toilet available
Disabled access
Parking available - don't use the car park for practice during operating hours.
This centre provides tests for Car


Before attending your driving test ensure that you have your provisional licence and your Theory Test Pass Certificate with you when you arrive for your test.
If you have a full driving licence which was issued in another country but isn’t eligible for exchange for a GB Licence, you must apply for, and bring with you, a GB provisional licence.  

Photo identity

If your licence does not show your photograph (old paper type) you must also bring with you a form of photographic identification.

Your examiner will only accept a valid passport as Photo ID. Your test will be cancelled if you cannot provide one of these forms of identification
The examiner will check your eyesight. Make sure you can read a number plate at 20.5 meters (67 feet, about six car lengths). If you wear glasses or contact lenses to read the number plate, you must insure you wear them when you are driving, you will be failed if you cannot meet this requirement..
There is no easy fix for nerves other than confidence in your abilities,  the examiner will ask if your instructor can sit in on the test. They are not allowed to comment or guide you during the test see braking news for info on Test etiquette for instructors.
pass rate:
Examiners do not have their pass quotas. If you are a competent driver and can demonstrate this then you will be awarded a pass.

Official Driving tests pass statistics for Theory and practical tests

Driving tests and instructors statistics

Test times:
Tests are normally conducted at the following times:


( In summer months extra tests may be put on and Saturdays are often available)

please see the FAQs page

The aim of anyone involved in driver training and testing is to improve safety on our roads. To make you a little better than the average motorists it's always a good idea to take further training after passing your test.

The purpose of re-testing is a road safety measure, to check the driver's competence.

Extended tests for disqualified drivers

 Retesting for disqualified drivers and riders was introduced from 1992

Courts can impose an extended driving test on anyone who has been:

Loss of your driving licence for dangerous driving or related offences involving obligatory disqualification means that you return to 'learner' status. Normal rules for provisional licence-holders will apply.

You must take and pass a theory test for the category of vehicle for which you intend to take an extended practical driving test.

The extended driving test is longer and therefore more demanding. It lasts for about 70 minutes and covers a wide variety of roads, usually including dual carriageways. It also requires you to carry out Independent driving and one manouvre and an emergency stop. You are advised to prepare by taking suitable instruction from an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI)

 Current prices for extended tests Please see the DVSA website the higher fee reflects the length of the test.

Driving tests and bad weather

Driving tests: cancelled or stopped tests and bad weather
Official advice about what to do if your driving test is cancelled or stopped, or if there's bad weather on the day of your test

Some driving tests may be affected by winter weather

The Driving Standards Agency (DVSA) doesn't conduct practical driving tests in adverse weather conditions, for example when the roads are icy. This is for the safety of both the person taking the test and the examiner.
If you're due to take your practical test, follow the advice given on your appointment email or letter. Call your test centre only if there is snow or ice in your local area on the day of your test.
When to phone your test centre
It's best to phone your test centre around two hours before your test is due to start. This is because conditions on the roads may improve during the day, and driving tests can then go ahead.
If your test is early in the morning, call as soon as you can on the day. If you call the day before, the test centre won't be able to tell you if your test will go ahead.
If your test is in the afternoon, call the test centre later in the morning. The test centre is more likely to know if the roads will be suitable for your test.
If nobody answers the phone, and the conditions in your area aren't looking too bad, it's likely that the driving examiners are out:

However, this isn't a guarantee that your test will go ahead. Please call the test centre again or go there in time for your test.
Wearing glasses or contact lenses while driving

What the law says: If you wear glasses or contact lenses for the eyesight test, the law requires that you wear them whenever you are driving

If you wear glasses or contact lenses for the eyesight test, the law requires that you wear them whenever you are driving. This includes during your driving test.

Wearing glasses or contact lenses during your test

You are not allowed to remove your glasses or contact lenses when carrying out test manoeuvres (reversing and so on).

If you wear glasses or contact lenses to read the number plate and remove them during the test, you'll be reminded you must wear them. If you refuse to wear them, the test will not continue.

If you don't bring your glasses to your test

If you have broken, forgotten or brought the wrong glasses, tell your examiner at the start of the test. If you don't tell the examiner and you attempt and fail the eyesight test, your test will be recorded as a failure. The rest of the test will not go ahead.


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