As if perfecting your reverse park and mirror-signal-manoeuvre mantra wasn’t enough, before you can get your full driving license in the UK you will also have to pass your theory test.
A mixture of multiple choice questions and hazard perception tasks, the theory test can be taken as soon as you have your provisional license and is an important part of your journey to becoming a safe and mindful road user.
Though many used to brag about turning up on the day and getting all the questions right, the theory test has become more rigorous over the past few years and, although you can retake it, this isn’t without significant cost so you are well advised to be as prepared as possible. Here is our theory test advice and our top tips for a successful outcome!
1. Book your test online:
Don’t book your test until you feel you are ready as each time you take it, it will cost you £25. There are 160 test centres around the country: use the DVLA website (https://www.gov.uk/driving-theory-test-centre) to find the one closest to you.
You will need your provisional license and a credit or debit card to book your test, which can be done online at: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/information-and-services/motoring/learners-and-new-drivers/theory-test/how-to-book-change-or-cancel-your-theory-test-appointment.htm
2. Study, study, study!
The first section of the theory test is a series of 50 multiple choice questions, taken from a bank of around 1000. You will need 43 correct answers to pass and, as the questions are picked totally at random, there is no skirting around the fact that you’re going to have to put some work in! Luckily for you, the DVSA (Driving Standards Agency) has created a useful guide to the theory test, which contains lots of handy pieces of advice, examples of test questions and lots more.
You can also now download a useful app, which will give you all the information you need to know at your fingertips!
The Highway Code, the mandatory advice for all UK road users, should also form a large part of your research. The DVLA guidance is that you should have completed at least 20 hours of study before taking your first theory test. Visit the DVSA shop for details of how to order the useful study aids: https://www.safedrivingforlife.info/shop
3. Happy with your hazards?
Once you have completed the multiple choice part of the test, you will come to the hazard perception section. Consisting of 14 interactive video clips, you will be expected to point out the potential hazards and also developing hazards. Developing hazards relate to anything that will require you to take preventative action e.g by changing speed, applying brakes or turning a corner.
This could be something like a dog running into the road, a bus pulling out from a bus-stop or a pedestrian crossing ahead. Your study of the Highway Code and DVSA guides will prepare you well for this part of the test; however, we also recommend DriveIQ [http://www.driveiq.co.uk/], a fantastic free website where you can practice your hazard perception and get used to scanning the road.
There is also a fully integrated mobile app you can download for practise on the go!
4. Mock testing:
Once you have swotted up and practised your hazard perception techniques, it’s a great idea to take a mock test before going in for the real thing. The government Safe Driving For Life website has a great website where you can take a free practise test [http://www.safedrivingforlife.info/take-official-free-practice-driving-theory-test].
As well as allowing you to familiarise yourself with the layout of the test, this is also a great way of flagging up any areas that may need some more work.
5. On the test day:
You’ve done your prep, aced the mock test and you’ve had a good night’s sleep, and now the real test looms. Remember to leave plenty of time to find the test centre and aim to arrive 20 minutes before the start of the test.
Don’t forget your provisional license photocard: you will need to show this on the way into the test centre.
Before the test starts, there will be a period of fifteen minutes where you will be given some practice questions to get used to the touch screen and how the test looks.
If you have any technical issues or are unsure of anything, be sure to raise it at this point.
Finally, take a deep breath, relax and good luck!