Anyone wanting to become an Approved Driving Instructor needs to be aware of three key areas.
During the ADI final examination, the examiner will be looking at how a trainee instructor anticipates faults, how they are corrected, and the coaching process the trainee instructor uses.
These are called the three ‘core competencies’: fault identification, analysis of faults, and remedial action. This is where most of the exam points are accumulated.
The Part 3 exam consists of practical tests of a trainee’s ability to teach. It has two phases lasting about 25 minutes each. In the first phase, the examiner will play the role of a learner with little or no experience. In the second phase, the examiner will play the role of a more experienced learner who has knowledge of what the instructor is teaching.
It’s not enough to just say during role play: “You’re going too fast, slow down.” The examiner will be expecting a trainee instructor to analyse why this is happening, and to formulate some remedial action.
They could be playing the role of a learner who might not be spotting speed repeater signs because they are not aware enough of the road conditions, or they may be unaware of how heavy-footed they are on the accelerator.
It might be necessary to pull over somewhere quiet and practise smooth accelerator starts to get the driver used to how soft they need to be on the pedal.
Examiners expect as many faults as possible to be corrected immediately, while others will need the driver to pull over and think it through.
For anyone wanting to pass, effective training in these areas is vital. There are a number of techniques trainee instructors can use to help them:
1. Identifying faults.
Think about the faults which might come up during a test, and think about how you could spot them as quickly as possible.
Watch your examiner and how he or she drives. Get used to their style of driving and you’ll be able to spot what they should do next – and when they start to deviate from that pattern.
Ask if the examiner’s driving is like your own. What would you be doing now? Is he or she doing something different? If so, check they are acting safely and taking into account the road conditions.
Your examiner is acting a role. Find out about the character they are playing. Ask about their attitude to road safety.
2. Analysing faults.
Get to the root cause of the fault. If the examiner’s role-play character makes a poor left-hand turn, encroaching into the lane used by oncoming traffic, what caused it?
Were they not paying enough attention to the road conditions?
Did they almost miss the turning, and make a poor decision to continue at too high a speed?
Did they push down the clutch too early?
Did they perform the mirror, signal, manoeuvre routine correctly?
Simple faults should be corrected while the test continues, and the examiner could well repeat that fault to give you the chance to anticipate it and prevent it happening.
Other faults will need you to get the driver to pull over, and coach them through what they did, and how it happened. This is a coaching process. Examiners want to see how you encourage drivers to think things through for themselves.
3. Remedying faults.
The aim here is to show you giving constructive, appropriate, and timely advice to your driver.
Correct a fault as quickly as you can, even if you cannot do it immediately. Is your driver allowing his or her car to roll backwards when coming to stop on a hill? A lack of confidence with clutch control could be the problem here. You need to identify it, then take your driver to a quiet spot.
Get the driver to do a hill start, then creep forward slowly and stop, then creep forward slowly and balance the car still on the biting point. Repeat until the driver feels confident, and remind them you will be asking them to use the new skill on an uphill start before going to the handbrake.
Reassure them you won’t allow them to roll back, and that they can keep trying the skill out until they get it right. Make a note to practise it further during the next ‘lesson’.
At Wimbledon Driving School, would-be instructors are trained in how to identify potential problems, how to coach their learner drivers, how to go back steps in the teaching process to correct faults which have been picked up, and how to give their learners value for money while keeping other road users safe.
After they pass the first two modules of their training covering theory, hazard perception and their own driving skills, their training looks at how the trainee instructor is identifying the driver’s faults, and how they should be corrected to improve the learner’s driving.
There are three parts to the ADI qualifying exams, and the trainee instructor has to pass all of them to qualify. In Part 1, there are theory and hazard perception tests which are computer-based. The theory test is multiple choice and resembles a learner driver’s theory test, though the subject matter is wider.
To pass, candidates need to reach 85% overall and 80% in each of the four bands. The pass mark in the hazard perception test, which is based on videos, is 57. If that is failed, candidates have to do both again.
Stage 2 is a practical test of a trainee’s driving skills. The test normally takes around an hour, and examiners are looking for expert use of the car’s controls, correct road procedure, judgement of speed and distance, and consideration of other road users.
Stage 3 is the exam where an instructor’s core competencies must be displayed.
The theory tests can be retaken numerous times, but trainees have only three chances to pass stages 2 and 3. Those stages must be passed within two years of passing stage 1.
The options afterwards
Those who pass can join the ADI register and have registration certificates to display in their cars. Registration must be renewed, and that has to be done every four years. A standards check has to be taken and passed to allow instructors to remain on the register.
Renewing instructors are graded. A and B grades allow instructors to stay on the register, anything under 31 fails and the test must be retaken. Instructors have three chances to pass the standards check. Anyone failing three times has to start the ADI process from scratch.
Qualified instructors can work for driving schools like ours, or they can become freelance driving instructors. We at Wimbledon Driving School offer driving instructor tuition for those who have yet to pass stages 1 and 2, and those who are ready to begin training for stage 3. We guarantee a job to those who pass with us, though there’s no commitment to work for us by taking our training.
We recognise that it can cost thousands of pounds and take more than a year to qualify, so we’re committed to keeping the cost down, and providing flexible learning around people’s current jobs. Our senior instructor Russell Platel is also one of the most qualified instructors in southern England.
To find out more about what we do, go to http://www.becomeadrivinginstructorlondon.co.uk/