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  • Emma Hallett

10 things you probably don't know about the driving test

This is my first in a series of top tips to help with your learning and tests. If there's anything you know like to know about please let me know.

1. You can have music on during your test.

It will need to be on quietly and something non offensive. Always check though that examiner is happy for you to do this.

2. You can have your instructor (or anyone else aged 16 or over) sit in on your test.

I'm always happy to do this, and it's good experience for me to observe your test, but I cannot play any part. Some people find it comforting to have a familiar face in the car but others feel it's too much pressure.

3. It’s ok to talk yourself through things on your test.

Sometimes people are overwhelmed by the silence on tests and this can make them more nervous. One way of overcoming this is using commentary driving. It basically means talking about what you're doing, what's coming up and any potential problems. This helps you keep focus and fills the silence. It's worth telling the examiner at the start that you'll be doing this so they won't distract you with small talk. It takes practice though so it's probably best to do it during your lessons on the lead up to your mock test so you can see how you get on.

4. You can visit the test centre in advance so you know what to expect.

If you want to visit the test centre before your test so you become familiar with it, this can be arranged although you will not be able to meet any of the examiners.

5. You can make conversation with the examiner or ask them to stay quiet.

Some people don't like the silence, some people don't like chatter. The examiners can struggle to judge how much to talk during a test. If you do chat, make sure you can handle the distraction.

6. You may need to turn the vehicle around.

There are many reasons why a road may be closed and the examiner will expect you to be able to turn around safely so they can take you a different way. This is why it’s important to practice the turn in the road and reverse around a corner manoeuvres.

7. You won’t fail for going the wrong way (safely).

I often get asked 'Does it matter if I go the wrong way on my test?'. The simple answer is no, as long as what you do is safe and legal. If you are in the wrong lane it's much safer to go the wrong way than try and change at the last moment. If you do go off route it's the examiner's responsibility to guide you back but be aware you may need to turn the car around to do so.

8. Tests are rarely cancelled due to the weather.

You may be expected to drive in strong winds, heavy rain or even light snow. It is the examiner's decision about whether or not a test goes ahead.

9. You can clarify instructions given by the examiner but can't ask for help in dealing with situations.

The examiner will expect you to deal with the situation as if you were on your own then mark it according to how you dealt with it. They will only help in more extreme or difficult situations and will give you extra guidance as necessary.

10. There may be two examiners with you.

Occasionally an examiner may need to have another examiner supervise their tests to ensure they are up to standard. You will not know about this in advance and cannot refuse. The second examiner will sit behind you but play no part in the test and do not have a say in the result. You can prepare for this by having someone sit in the back on lessons so you better understand the effect on the vehicle and are used to seeing someone when you check your mirror.

This is my first in a series of top tips to help with your learning and tests. If there's anything you know like to know about please let me know.

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