If you have been learning to drive for awhile, it is natural to begin to wonder when you should consider scheduling your first test attempt. Unfortunately, there is very little data to suggest when the perfect time might be – everyone learns at different paces, so the decision is inherently subjective.
It is, however, possible to get an idea of whether you are ready to take your test. If you can answer “yes” to all of the following questions, then the chances are that you’re ready to browse Find Me a Driving Test to find a convenient test date and then anticipate your transition from learner to fully licensed driver…
“Have I driven in different weather conditions?”
There’s no predicting what the weather will be like on the day of your test, so practicing driving in different conditions is an important part of the learning process. If you have driven in rain, wind, very bright sunlight, and dark, grey, or poorly-lit conditions, then you should be well prepared to take a test at most points during the year. However, if you are intending to take your test in winter, it’s also beneficial to have driven in icy and snowy conditions too.
“Does controlling a car feel natural to me?”
When first learning to drive, the entire process of operating a car can feel a little unnatural and alien. Over time, this feeling should dissipate, as you become more familiar with how the car reacts and what you need to do to operate it.
Essentially, you need to feel at home behind the wheel, to the point where common driving necessities – such as changing gear or switching lanes – feel very natural. If you still feel a little unsure or uncertain, then waiting a little longer for your test may be preferable.
“Can I recognise common road signs immediately?”
Being able to recognise road signs and interpret their meaning is an important part of driving, and plays a critical role in the theory test. However, there’s a difference between theoretically knowing what a sign means, and being able to instinctively “read” a sign while driving on the road.
Experienced drivers can interpret a sign without even having to think about the direct meaning; the connection is immediately clear in their mind, which saves important thinking time and allows them instead just to react as instructed. If you can recognise, understand, and act on signs almost instantaneously, then your test is more likely to go well.
“Have I completed a full ‘mock test’ with my instructor?”
A mock test is a great way to gain insight into how the test itself will go, and also how you may react under full test conditions. Your instructor can issue the test and take notes as if they were actually testing you for your licence; while the process is not an exact science, it is nevertheless worth doing. It is generally advised that you should “pass” a mock test before moving on to the real test itself.
“Does my instructor think I am ready to take my test?”
Your instructor’s feedback will always be valuable when it comes to deciding if you are ready to take your test. While it’s not uncommon for people to feel ready for their test before their instructor agrees, it’s still worth listening to their feedback.
If your instructor indicates that they do not feel that you are ready to take your test, ask them to explain why and what you need to do to change their mind. This should then give you a focus for the remainder of your lessons.
“Do I feel confident that I can pass your test?”
Finally, perhaps the biggest question mark of all: confidence. Passing a driving test is almost as much about mindset, and the ability to control nerves, as it is about being able to operate a car. After all, you will have demonstrated that you can complete all of the required manoeuvres and control a car with great accuracy and skill during your lessons – the test just means doing the same things that you have been practicing for a long time. The pressure comes from the conditions, which is why feeling mentally happy and ready to take your test is so very important.
If you strongly believe that you are ready to take your test, and are confident that you will be able to perform under test conditions, then scheduling your test could well be the right choice for you.
** This is a collaborative post