Passing your practical driving test

The practical driving test is the final piece of the puzzle for getting your full UK driving licence!

Before you book your driving test, you’ll need to pass your driving theory test. Remember to take your theory test certificate to the practical test centre as you’ll need it as proof you have passed.

Here’s how the practical part of the driving test is broken up:

Below is a little more information about each part, along with some dyslexia-friendly tips to improve your chances of passing.

1. The eyesight check

You’ll be asked to read a standard car number plate from about 20 metres away.

If you are unable to read it, you’ll be given a second and third chance on different number plates. If you fail all three chances, that will be the end of your test.


If you wear glasses or contacts, don’t forget to bring them!

If your eyesight is fine, but you have difficulty reading number plates due to your dyslexia, you may find it easier to read a rear yellow number plate than a white one

Or, if you find it difficult to read out loud, you can write the number plate down

2. The vehicle safety check

Before you get in the car, you’ll be asked some vehicle safety questions.

You will have practised this with your instructor, for example “Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.”

3. Directed driving

For the first part of the test, the examiner will direct you around a route which has been designed to make sure you encounter a variety of road conditions. Just drive in the way you’ve been taught in your lessons.


If you’re anxious, you’re allowed to take someone with you to sit in the back of the car during the test

This person cannot help you during the test; this is for a driver who is feeling nervous and would like the “moral support”

You can ask the examiner to indicate left and right with hand gestures rather than just giving left/right verbal instructions

4. Reversing manoeuvre

As of December 2017, you will be asked to do one of three possible reversing manoeuvres:

Parallel park at the side of the road

Park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out

Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and then rejoin the traffic


Consider writing ‘L’ and ‘R’ on your hands so you can quickly know which way to turn the wheel

Before your test, spend as much time as possible visualising these movements and which way to turn your hands, until they become second nature

5. Independent driving

The independent driving part of the practical driving test will take 20 minutes from December 2017.

Here, rather than following step-by-step instructions as you drive, your examiner will ask you to drive independently.

From December 2017, most students will be asked to follow directions from a Sat Nav. If you are not given Sat Nav instructions to follow, you will be asked to follow road signs instead. Instructions will be given before you set off.


If you are given instructions beforehand, you are allowed to ask the examiner to remind you which way to go

If you go the wrong way by mistake, you will not be marked down because of it

You do not need to provide your own Sat Nav

6. Receiving your results – pass or fail

You’re allowed up to 15 ‘minors’ (smaller driving faults) and no ‘majors’ (a serious driving fault).

When you return to the test centre you’ll get your result; you’ve either passed or failed.


Make sure the examiner knows you’re dyslexic before the test – don’t be afraid to remind him or her

Remember that examiners have a lot of experience with nervous students and they will make every effort to put you at ease. They want you to pass, after all!

More articles and information on passing your driving test

This article is part of a series exploring how to prepare for, and pass, your driving theory and practical tests. Click the links below to see more.

Part one: What to expect with your driving theory test

Part two: Extra help you can get for your driving theory test

Part three: Top tips for revising for your driving theory test

Part four: Getting the most out of your driving lessons

Further reading