Exactly a week till my driving test - HELP PLEASE? Watch

CC2010
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Hi,

I've already failed my driving test once, last November. I wasn't ready but did it because my theory was about to expire. I've been doing lessons on and off for about 3 years (due to moving out for uni and stupidly doing my lessons in my home town) meant that I made little progress. I dread to think how many hours of lessons I've done but I'm willing to bet it's somewhere between 60-80 hours. My driving is literally the bane of my life.

In Feb, I finally got a new instructor from a new company and started doing lessons consistently. All was going well and I booked up my next test (which is now next Weds). However, 2 lessons ago, my instructor got herself a new car. So I've gone from learning in this tiny car to this brand new Toyota Yaris which is fairly big and this has screwed me over, big time!

Yesterday, she told me that she thinks I should postpone my test because I'm not ready. I'm so angry. When I originally booked my driving in Feb, I booked up for an intensive course because I had a few weeks off work. The company insisted that was fine, took the money, and now it's ended up being lessons. So it's dragged out for another 4 months so far. On top of that, my instructor isn't very professional but I'm going to put a complaint in after I pass my driving test because I DESPERATELY need to pass for my job asap! She consistently turns up between 5-20 minutes late every lesson, even turning up late 40 mins once! She'll answer phone calls during the lesson and constantly changes the lessons times, mucking me around. Yet she's a grade 5 instructor?!
But, I've realised that if I go to another instructor, it's going to take me at least another month to pass and I don't want any problems.

Regarding my driving; my car positioning is all over the block, and she complains that my my awareness is not good. I totally disagree. If there's a car on the horizon coming towards me, before I'm given so much as a second to react, she's already criticizing me and I'm like you haven't even given me a chance. My manoeuvres have gone downhill too. She said today that my awareness for space is awful etc. However, these problems have all occurred since she's changed cars because I was used to the smaller car. When I told her this, she got offended and said that "If you're a good driver, it doesn't matter what the car is" which probably is true but I feel really stressed now because I'm not a natural driver.

I've probably spent around £1500 on my driving already and I just need to get this done. I'm totally stressed about driving, like I said, I'm not a natural driver. It's taken a lot of hard work to get this far and I have no idea how I'm going to pass next week. When I'm relaxed, I drive so much better but I've started to feel as soon as I get in the car with her, she's already on my back which puts my back totally up. I don't actually have anyone I can practise with and I don't want to change instructors. I've feel like I've gone 100 steps backwards. She's my 3rd instructor and the only reason I changed to her was because me (amazing) 2nd instructor actually took retirement early so I was forced to move onto her.

Any advice for a very stressed and desperate for her pink license girl? Thanks.
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Phoque
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I had to change instructors as well so I know how it feels to change instructors and have to learn in a completely different car. I actually passed my test yesterday after a week of complete panic and lack of confidence. I felt like I couldn't do any of the manoeuvres except for turn in the road and was convinced that if I got anything else then I'd fail. I actually did a bay park before my test in the car park with my instructor and she had to tell me how to do it all because I was just so lost. I ended up getting bay park on the test, decided to stay calm and really concentrate and ended up doing the best I'd ever done.

I wouldn't worry too much about the manoeuvers but I understand that it's difficult with a new car, especially when it's bigger. Make sure you keep the car completely under control with the clutch so you know exactly what you're doing and if it helps, just stop for a minute and think about how the car is positioned. If you're doing reversing round the corner and you can't see the curb in your left mirror then just look to your right and see how close you are to the other side of the road, then you'll know how much you can push it more to the left without it hitting the curb. I know it's difficult to do the manoeuvres in a new car but if you keep it slow, really concentrate and think about what you're doing then you'll be able to do them fine.

Ignore all your driving instructors criticism if you think she's just being picky. If you know you can do it then in the test you will be able to do it because your instructor won't be sat there telling you what to do. What you've got to do is just get in the car and show that examiner that you can drive safely - it doesn't matter about what your instructor thinks because they don't decide if you pass or fail and it's only you that can do the test. I didn't have any private practice before my test either but the weeks before my test when I was sat on the bus I'd be thinking about how I'd be driving - so when I'd go at a roundabout, when I'd change gear, etc. Although it sounds stupid, it helped me to get it in my mind.

I'd suggest just highlighting your weaknesses this week before your test and think about how you can make them better on the day. For me it was coming out at roundabouts, so on my test I made sure I double checked and slowed right down to be really cautious. At the end of the day your instructor isn't the one sitting the test and you've got complete control over everything you do, I know it's difficult having an instructor like that but I'm sure you'll be able to do it. Good luck.
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