Passing your practical test is one of life’s greatest moments. It’s not just about proving you can handle a car; it’s about the freedom, respect and sense of achievement that comes with it. Being able to drive gives you opportunities you never dared dream of, like new jobs, new holiday destinations and – perhaps most importantly for newly qualified drivers - a real sense of independence.
At TheDrivingTests.co.uk we want you to achieve that. We want you to discover the world that driving opens up, whether it be in your own four wheels or someone else’s. And the way to do it?
You have to have passed your theory test, by law, before you take your practical, so if you’re on this page then you’re halfway there already. The theory tested your knowledge on paper of the rules and regulations that all drivers in the UK (and often abroad) have to follow. The practical driving test tests your ability to control, manoeuvre and maintain the car itself.
The practical test lasts about one hour, and whilst not being split into defined sections like the theory, it does have several aspects that you need know about.
The practical test will first and foremost be a display of your handling of the car: your braking, gear changes, position on the road, use of mirrors, ability to manoeuvre the car around obstacles, judge the road and other road users… you get the idea. This part tests how well you ‘drive’ the car.
This section includes the ‘manoeuvres’, of which there are 4 – reversing around a corner, turn in the road, emergency stop and reverse parking - and of which you will probably be tested on two, one of which will be the emergency stop.
You’ll also be asked to perform a sight test, usually at the start of your practical, so if you normally wear contact lenses or glasses to drive, then you’ll have to wear them for your test.
You’ll also be expected to answer two Show Me, Tell Me questions. These test your knowledge of car maintenance, and you’ll be expected to know the answers, even if you’re not a car buff. After all, the AA can’t be relied upon for every situation.
You’re allowed to drive your own car for the practical test - which is useful for people who’ve learned at home – but it has to be on the government list of ‘suitable’ test cars, which can be found on the Direct Gov website.
The practical driving test gives you the chance to display your mastery of driving – how well you handle the car, your ability to watch what’s going on around you and adapt your driving to suit, as well as a brief explanation of how different parts of the car work (and how to repair them if they go wrong!) - also known as the Show Me, Tell Me questions.
Booking your practical test is easy: simply go to the Direct Gov driving website, where you can choose your test centre, the day and time of your test, and pay for your test all at once. You won’t pay any administration fees either, so it’s by far the cheapest option. You need to give at least 3 days’ between the day you book and the day you want to take your test, although more often than not there’s a waiting list of at least 3 weeks at a practical driving test centre.
You need to have your provisional license (both parts) and your theory test pass certificate when you go for your practical exam. You also need to make sure you wear any eyesight or hearing aids, such as glasses or contact lenses.
The practical test for cars and motorcycles currently costs £62 for tests taken on a weekday, and £75 for tests taken on a weekend. This is paid up front when you book your test, but if you need to rearrange or cancel your test, this money will be refunded.