The Practical Test
A guide to passing your practical test
Booking your practical driving test
To book your practical test, book online at the Gov.uk website.
With the long wait times for testing centres, it is best to pass your theory test as soon as you can and to book your practical driving test a few months in advance. All driving centres have reasonably long wait times for test slots. Booking in advance will allow you to choose the best time of day for your driving test.
For urgent tests, it is possible to book less far in advance through the DVSA’s cancellation team. This team are able to offer earlier test slots as they become available.
Aim to have your practical driving test as close to the end of your course of driving lessons as possible. This will ensure all of the experience and knowledge gained through driving lessons is still fresh in your mind.
What to expect on the day
After arriving at the driving test centre, but before getting into the car you will take your test in, you’ll be asked to show the examiner your provisional driving licence. (If you don’t have your provisional licence with you, your test will be cancelled and you’ll have to rebook your practical test without being refunded the fee for the cancelled test).
After verifying you have your provisional licence, the examiner will walk with you and request that you read the number plate of a car in the testing centre from a distance of 20.5 metres (67 feet). If you wear glasses for reading the car’s number plate, you must continue to wear them throughout the test. If you are unable to read the number plate, your test will be cancelled and you will lose the test fee.
Once you have read the number plate, you’ll be asked to escort the examiner to your car (you need to provide the car you will take your test in) and you may need to answer some vehicle safety questions either before you start driving, or whilst driving.
The examiner will tell you what to expect and how the driving test will be carried out. You will be expected to show you are capable of driving on all kinds of roads – around town, on single and double carriageways, navigating roundabouts and performing specific driving manoeuvres.
After the practical test, the examiner will debrief you in the car and let you know immediately if you have passed or failed. If you are unsure about the feedback, request that the examiner clarifies their decision with you and your instructor. This will help you with appropriate further training and re-attempting the practical driving test.
How long does the practical driving test last?
The practical driving test lasts anywhere between 47 to 55 minutes depending on the specific route, time of day and traffic conditions. This includes all prior paperwork such as signing the insurance declaration, reading the car number plate and the final debrief at the end of your test.
A final debrief occurs regardless of whether you pass or fail your test. The practical driving test costs £62. An extended test lasts up to 1 hour and 50 minutes, this is twice the fee of the standard practical test.
What will I need on the day of my practical driving test?
You will need to ensure you have your provisional driving licence, glasses (if you usually wear them), and the certificate you were given to verify you passed your theory and hazard perception tests. If you arrive without one or more of these items, your test will be cancelled without a refund.
If you are completing the practical test in your own car, you will need to show that it is insured appropriately for the test. Bring proof of your insurance with you.
If your examiner deems your car unsuitable for the driving test, the test will be cancelled without a refund. Your examiner will also need to provide an internal mirror they can use while you are completing the practical test in your own car. For these two reasons, you should advise the testing centre when you register for your test whether you will be using your own or your driving instructor’s car.