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"Learning" the driving test route?

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    I'm in two minds as to this. On one hand knowing the test area should make it easier. But on the other, surely if you are "test ready", can drive independently and are good enough for a licence it is irrelevant?

    My first instructor took the prior approach stating how important it was to "practice" the routes, almost like rote learning. But should it really matter, if you can read the road signs and know how to drive then whats the benefit?

    Surely the whole point of removing publicized test routes was to make sure they were testing competence not memory skills?
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    Learning exact routes probably is taking it a bit too far, but I see nothing wrong with learning about the more unusual junctions in the area. In the end it's always going to be a compromise between not making things harder than they need to be, and proving you're a safe driver even if you don't know what's coming up.

    The only way they could guard against practising routes is if they didn't tell people which test centre in the area they'd be taking their test until the day before - just tell them the time and guarantee it's within 10-15miles. But can't see that happening any time soon, and would still mean bias for the people taking their tests in rural areas with only a few test centres nearby in comparison to cities with 7 or 8 test centres.
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    I don't see anything wrong with learning the area. I did my test in Bedford even though there's a test centre in Cambridge, and I naturally learnt the quirks of the place after driving around it a few times - I didn't bother learning test routes, but during my test I didn't drive anywhere I hadn't been before.
    I agree with the notion that once you pass you'll be expected to drive in new areas independently, but during your test it does help if you already have a feel for the place. For example, there's a large 3-lane roundabout with faded road markings that joins dual carriageways near Bedford, which would present a lot of opportunity for making a mistake in a test had you not practiced it before.
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    I drove around near the test centre for a few of my lessons - but I also drove some 40 miles away a couple of times, as I liked to visit the sea lol.

    Being familiar with the area is fair enough. Trying to learn it rote is taking it too far.

    Plus, despite having driven around near the test centre a few times, I ended up on roads I'd never been on before when I took my test. My instructor said there were so many possible route combinations, there was no point trying to predict it and he was right.
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    As someone has already said, there's no point making it harder than it has to be.

    Yes, if you're a competent driver you should be able to follow signs and handle pretty much any route, but during a test your nerves can cause you to do silly things you'd never normally do. Obviously learning the routes is too far, but making sure you've done them can help relax you. Plus, some routes are deliberately taken to throw obstacles at you, such as tricky roundabouts or weird lanes.

    Most instructors take their students round the test routes, but not exclusively, it's just an extra burden if you don't know what's coming.
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    (Original post by RJ555)
    surely if you are "test ready", can drive independently and are good enough for a licence it is irrelevant?
    This.

    My first instructor took the prior approach stating how important it was to "practice" the routes, almost like rote learning.
    This rings alarm bells that your instructor is helping you fudge your way through a test without really teaching you how to drive and plan. It even sounds like your instructor is doubting his own abilities to train you properly. Change your instructor quickly.

    But should it really matter, if you can read the road signs and know how to drive then whats the benefit?

    Surely the whole point of removing publicized test routes was to make sure they were testing competence not memory skills?
    Very sensible. Your self awareness is what will help you to succeed.
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    I drove 'the test routes' on my lessons, but I have done 4 practical tests and keep going on new routes, and all my friends have used the same test center and they have all done different routes to me, so I wouldn't worry too much about learning the route exactly, just practice driving generally in your area
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    (Original post by Advisor)
    This.

    This rings alarm bells that your instructor is helping you fudge your way through a test without really teaching you how to drive and plan. It even sounds like your instructor is doubting his own abilities to train you properly. Change your instructor quickly.

    Very sensible. Your self awareness is what will help you to succeed.
    Don't worry that was my old instructor, and yes he insisted I learn the routes to make it easier. Was a terrible teacher as well which is why I'm stuck still learning (started again from scratch with a new one this year).

    The only reason I'm asking now is driving test is in another town, not familiar with, so was wondering if its OK to do that with little "practice". Have answered my own question though, as it shouldn't really matter right?
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    Whilst I agree with your points about being a good independent driver, I also think it's worth remembering that a driving test isn't going to be like a normal driving situation...being familiar with the test areas is going to make you relax a little more and give you the opportunity to show what you can do whilst letting you focus on driving safely instead of panicking about the unfamiliar roads. I'd just make sure that I knew I was able to drive independently and had been doing it in lessons or practice before I actually sat the test because that's what it's going to be like once you're set loose on the roads for real!
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    (Original post by RJ555)
    The only reason I'm asking now is driving test is in another town, not familiar with, so was wondering if its OK to do that with little "practice". Have answered my own question though, as it shouldn't really matter right?
    I'm taking my test in another town (learning in Manchester, test is in Hyde). By the time of my test I will have had 3 or 4 lessons out in Hyde, so kinda know the place but it's still pretty much new. The lessons out there have been helpful since there are some driving situations that simply don't occur in my local area (e.g. a string of mini-roundabouts in quick succession and REALLY tight residential roads with tight bends), so I'd say that while taking the test in another place is a great test of your driving skill, having some practise round the area is as much about expanding experience as anything.

    But I must admit - there are lots of odd one-way streets in the test area, so I'd be lying if I said it didn't help to know where those roughly are for peace of mind. Knowing a bit about the area is undoubtedly helpful, and there's nothing wrong with that - if the DSA wanted to test whether you can drive in a completely foreign area then they wouldn't let you do your test in your local area.

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