Driving test in a few days - need some tips

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fenton484
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So I have my driving test on the 6th. If its any relevance, if anyone has had experience at the test centre, it's Hornchurch in case you're wondering.

I'm a really confident driver, I've practised most of the time with my dad, doing the test in my own car, had probably in excess of 20 lessons with an instructor and he is very sure of my abilities. I did a mock test, I only got 2 minors however I failed because I didn't observe enough at a mini roundabout and went when it was unsafe to do so. Probably more down to nerves than anything else.

So here are some questions I have which I often find myself asking

1) After an emergency stop, is it handbrake neutral or neutral handbrake?

2) Do you have to apply the handbrake/neutral after stalling, or is this just if you're on a hill or something.

3) Do you have to check your centre mirror before braking? I try and make an effort to do so, but I often forget, and often it's because the situation in front of me has changed too quickly for me to have time to look in the mirror.

4) Is it okay to provide a commentary of the drive? Eg, making it clear to the instructor when you're doping something, eg, tell them you're checking the mirrors, or holding back to allow a vehicle to pass. I feel this might not only benefit them but also, it might allow me to think more clearly if I'm vocalising my actions.

5) Spiral roundabouts. Here is a roundabout I am not a fan of. https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5218...1904991,19.75z

If I wanted to exit onto the 4th exit, having come from the 1st (a1306 east), would it be okay to cross into the other lane last minute providing there was no traffic? How do I approach this? Do I have to try and change lands beforehand - twice by the looks of things.

In general, is there anything you'd recommend to try and calm nerves and bee in the best posible position.

Thanks
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Roasted Potato
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Okay I took my test a couple of months ago but I can try to answer your questions

1 neutral then handbrake a believe

2 I find when I stalled I was most likely in the wrong gear to start with, and return it to neutral (like I'm in 3 when I think I'm in 1) so that I know I can put it in the right one. I don't use the handbrake if I've stalled just the foot brake

3 centre mirror to check how far the car behind you is and therefore how safe/how hard can you brake. If he is is right on your tail then you shouldn't brake hard because you'll cause an accident and if there is no one there you are find. Obviously act as safe as you can but yes check the centre mirror

4 yes you can vocalise what you are doing, but it works both ways, highlights your rights and wrongs! And if you have a lot of wrong obvs you'll fail but you probably deserve to (in the nicest way) if you have a lot of wrongs you are unsafe and need to do it again. That being said it does depend a lot on the day and other traffic. It is quite calming to say and explain what you are doing especially if you feel unsure about your actions.

5 check and check your mirrors again if you want to cross lanes
If you are unsure just carry on going round the roundabout, if you come off on the wrong exit or feel unsafe to cross lanes just go around. If you go wrong your examiner will redirect you to go back on and it's better to go in the wrong direction with a minor rather than a major for doing something unsafe. I had to do a cross lane roundabout as well I was so ridicously nervous, I did it many many many times till I felt good about it. Or at least less bad. And made peace with the fact I'd rather go in the wrong direction or something and get a minor then do something unsafe because I felt like I had to and get a major.

My driving instructor gives a lesson before the test, and just ask to do the bits you are worried about in the lesson. Talk to your teacher about these questions as well!
Bananas are a magic food and a must. Drink plenty of water but go to the toilet before getting in the car! And remember that a mask and all the cleaning and stuff is stressful but there are things you can control and stuff like the AC or something. I did a driving test and forgot and practically died from overheating the entire trip 😂. The examiners aren't supposed to be mean and want you to pass and be safe just as much as you. Talk to them they will seem less scary then as well!

Believe in yourself and you will be fine!
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Zarek
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1) neutral then handbrake
2) not mandatory as long as you are in control of the vehicle
3) except in an emergency you should check the mirror before braking, you should allow enough space to give time for this. Agree this is difficult to remember but is good practice that you should get in to the habit of
4) not normal on standard driving test, but encouraged on advanced driving test. Check if it’s allowed with your driving instructor. My instinct would be against it
5) hard to comment without knowing the road markings. Generally, but not always, there are road marking which aim to channel your exit with crossing other lanes. If you do need to change lanes it is about being aware of traffic around you, signalling your intention and being in the right gear to smoothly move lane when safe to do so. Complex roundabouts can be challenging at times even for experienced drivers. It helps if you are familiar with them, get plenty of practice on the roundabouts on your test routes

Get a good nights sleep, have confidence in the skills you’ve learnt, break the ice with the examiner and then concentrate hard throughout the test and focus on a good outcome. The nerves calm once you get going. Good luck!
Last edited by Zarek; 1 month ago
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TheDE
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(Original post by fenton484)
So I have my driving test on the 6th. If its any relevance, if anyone has had experience at the test centre, it's Hornchurch in case you're wondering.

I'm a really confident driver, I've practised most of the time with my dad, doing the test in my own car, had probably in excess of 20 lessons with an instructor and he is very sure of my abilities. I did a mock test, I only got 2 minors however I failed because I didn't observe enough at a mini roundabout and went when it was unsafe to do so. Probably more down to nerves than anything else.

So here are some questions I have which I often find myself asking

1) After an emergency stop, is it handbrake neutral or neutral handbrake?

2) Do you have to apply the handbrake/neutral after stalling, or is this just if you're on a hill or something.

3) Do you have to check your centre mirror before braking? I try and make an effort to do so, but I often forget, and often it's because the situation in front of me has changed too quickly for me to have time to look in the mirror.

4) Is it okay to provide a commentary of the drive? Eg, making it clear to the instructor when you're doping something, eg, tell them you're checking the mirrors, or holding back to allow a vehicle to pass. I feel this might not only benefit them but also, it might allow me to think more clearly if I'm vocalising my actions.

5) Spiral roundabouts. Here is a roundabout I am not a fan of. https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5218...1904991,19.75z

If I wanted to exit onto the 4th exit, having come from the 1st (a1306 east), would it be okay to cross into the other lane last minute providing there was no traffic? How do I approach this? Do I have to try and change lands beforehand - twice by the looks of things.

In general, is there anything you'd recommend to try and calm nerves and bee in the best posible position.

Thanks
I take tests every day.

1; doesn’t matter. Just stop, as in an emergency, then wait for us to tell you to move off. Faffing around with gears and handbrakes is detrimental to the emergency aspect of the stop. Could just stop, hold your foot on brake until we tell you to move off, what does it matter.

2; again there are no specific expectations in regards to process with gears and handbrake, the focus is moving off quickly. If the vehicle is rolling then we’d expect you to control it with the foot brake at the very least.

3; this depends, when you are in traffic just slowing down at lights etc it’s not an issue. If you are pulling up to the side of the road or stopping to let someone/something cross we’d expect mirror checks.

4; whilst I can’t say do not do this I would advise against this, it is very annoying. We can tell what people are doing without a running commentary thanks. You wouldn’t provide a running commentary to a Tesco checkout person to make sure they do their job properly would you... you can say what you want to your instructor but the person in the car will be an examiner, not an instructor.
-a note on this, people often vocalise things to try and make it look like they didn’t make a mistake, this doesn’t work.

5; this is not a spiral roundabout. On this roundabout you would be expected to enter into the right hand lane, and stay in this lane, then moving into the left hand lane as you are passing the exit before yours.
Last edited by TheDE; 1 month ago
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fenton484
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(Original post by TheDE)
I take tests every day.

1; doesn’t matter. Just stop, as in an emergency, then wait for us to tell you to move off. Faffing around with gears and handbrakes is detrimental to the emergency aspect of the stop. Could just stop, hold your foot on brake until we tell you to move off, what does it matter.

2; again there are no specific expectations in regards to process with gears and handbrake, the focus is moving off quickly. If the vehicle is rolling then we’d expect you to control it with the foot brake at the very least.

3; this depends, when you are in traffic just slowing down at lights etc it’s not an issue. If you are pulling up to the side of the road or stopping to let someone/something cross we’d expect mirror checks.

4; whilst I can’t say do not do this I would advise against this, it is very annoying. We can tell what people are doing without a running commentary thanks. You wouldn’t provide a running commentary to a Tesco checkout person to make sure they do their job properly would you... you can say what you want to your instructor but the person in the car will be an examiner, not an instructor.
-a note on this, people often vocalise things to try and make it look like they didn’t make a mistake, this doesn’t work.

5; this is not a spiral roundabout. On this roundabout you would be expected to enter into the right hand lane, and stay in this lane, then moving into the left hand lane as you are passing the exit before yours.
Is it okay to do what this car is doing?
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5218...7i16384!8i8192
So If I want to go onto the A125 (3rd exit) from the A1306 East, do I need to start off in the third lane, move into the second lane after passing the first exit, and then cross over into the first lane to take the A125?

Also do i need to let the test centre know in advance i am using my own car
Last edited by fenton484; 1 month ago
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TheDE
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Nice example there, it is ok to do what that car is doing. I would move across sooner than them though, and obviously check mirrors before doing so. The best thing would be to move across in front of the junction just before that exit, as then you can block other vehicles coming into the left lane. You don’t need to notify us when using your own car
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fenton484
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(Original post by TheDE)
Nice example there, it is ok to do what that car is doing. I would move across sooner than them though, and obviously check mirrors before doing so. The best thing would be to move across in front of the junction just before that exit, as then you can block other vehicles coming into the left lane. You don’t need to notify us when using your own car
Thank you. I did this roundabout a few times tonight - I just basically did what that car was doing, which turned out was what I did before. I think I overthunk it, I thought you couldn't cut across lanes (the one I'm exiting), but obviously I realise now you hgave to otherwise you're just gonna go round the roundabout. I think if that was a real test, I would have passed tonight. Few things though

1) I slowed down to a gear 1 as I approached a zebra crossing because I thought the pedestrian was going to cross (he didn't). Not sure if this would be a "fail" because I slowed down but I think an instructor would hav eto hbe pretty petty for this because I was only being cautious and it would have been far worse had I not seen a pedestrian crossing etc.

2) When parallel parking. I have noticed that ocassionally as I finish up, I may feel the car go against the kerb (only touching it very slightly, which prompts me to eitehr stop or correct myself (usually the latter). I don't mount it or crunch the wheels against it, would this be okay?
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Roasted Potato
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1 I think might be minor for hesitation if the examiner was being harsh, and unless it's a crossing or they are in the road its your right of way. I don't recommend waving anyone across on your test
2 touching the curb is a minor, mounting the curb is a major
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fenton484
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Passed today with 6 minors in case anyone is wondering
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Geographyqueens
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(Original post by fenton484)
So I have my driving test on the 6th. If its any relevance, if anyone has had experience at the test centre, it's Hornchurch in case you're wondering.

I'm a really confident driver, I've practised most of the time with my dad, doing the test in my own car, had probably in excess of 20 lessons with an instructor and he is very sure of my abilities. I did a mock test, I only got 2 minors however I failed because I didn't observe enough at a mini roundabout and went when it was unsafe to do so. Probably more down to nerves than anything else.

So here are some questions I have which I often find myself asking

1) After an emergency stop, is it handbrake neutral or neutral handbrake?

2) Do you have to apply the handbrake/neutral after stalling, or is this just if you're on a hill or something.

3) Do you have to check your centre mirror before braking? I try and make an effort to do so, but I often forget, and often it's because the situation in front of me has changed too quickly for me to have time to look in the mirror.

4) Is it okay to provide a commentary of the drive? Eg, making it clear to the instructor when you're doping something, eg, tell them you're checking the mirrors, or holding back to allow a vehicle to pass. I feel this might not only benefit them but also, it might allow me to think more clearly if I'm vocalising my actions.

5) Spiral roundabouts. Here is a roundabout I am not a fan of. https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5218...1904991,19.75z

If I wanted to exit onto the 4th exit, having come from the 1st (a1306 east), would it be okay to cross into the other lane last minute providing there was no traffic? How do I approach this? Do I have to try and change lands beforehand - twice by the looks of things.

In general, is there anything you'd recommend to try and calm nerves and bee in the best posible position.

Thanks
So I'm 16 but have been driving on private land at my grandparents since i was 9 (completely legal)

My dad is a driving instructor and says the most common mistake is not making it obvious which ways you are looking - essentialy exaggerate all your actions to make it very clear you know what you're doing. Also he likes to see that ppl are relaxed and confident when driving so put on the radio and sing along or have a conversation with the instructor to show that you are calm and relaxed. Sound's stupid but is beneficial. Message me if u want any other tips.
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TheDE
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(Original post by Roasted Potato)
1 I think might be minor for hesitation if the examiner was being harsh, and unless it's a crossing or they are in the road its your right of way. I don't recommend waving anyone across on your test
2 touching the curb is a minor, mounting the curb is a major
...
It would not be a minor, and if it was it would be for pedestrian crossings if the candidate checked their mirrors and saw it was safe to stop, mirrors- change speed if the candidate made no mirror checks.

Touching the curb is not a minor, it is called ‘not worthy’ of marking, mounting the curb is not a major, it is a minor and correctable, mounting the pavement, not the curb, is a serious fault.
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TheDE
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(Original post by Geographyqueens)
So I'm 16 but have been driving on private land at my grandparents since i was 9 (completely legal)

My dad is a driving instructor and says the most common mistake is not making it obvious which ways you are looking - essentialy exaggerate all your actions to make it very clear you know what you're doing. Also he likes to see that ppl are relaxed and confident when driving so put on the radio and sing along or have a conversation with the instructor to show that you are calm and relaxed. Sound's stupid but is beneficial. Message me if u want any other tips.
Yeah and telling people to exaggerate their actions is not good instruction. We want to see people actually respond to what they see in their mirrors, which rarely ever happens. It doesn’t matter if you just give an eye flick, we will notice, we are trained to see.
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Roasted Potato
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(Original post by TheDE)
...
It would not be a minor, and if it was it would be for pedestrian crossings if the candidate checked their mirrors and saw it was safe to stop, mirrors- change speed if the candidate made no mirror checks.

Touching the curb is not a minor, it is called ‘not worthy’ of marking, mounting the curb is not a major, it is a minor and correctable, mounting the pavement, not the curb, is a serious fault.
Okay I'm happy to admit when I am wrong, and I wasn't sure on the pedestrian crossing one, I thought maybe incorrectly reading the road and surround ly, sometimes cautiousness can be just as dangerous as confidence because it makes you unpredictable. But if I am wrong that's fine.
And the second one, I also know to be true with the minor and major, because my friend failed with a major due to mounting the curb and I got a minor for touching it. And maybe our examiners are wrong and I'm happy to admit that if the examiner is wrong then that's fine, I can adjust my expectations accordingly.
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TheDE
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(Original post by Roasted Potato)
Okay I'm happy to admit when I am wrong, and I wasn't sure on the pedestrian crossing one, I thought maybe incorrectly reading the road and surround ly, sometimes cautiousness can be just as dangerous as confidence because it makes you unpredictable. But if I am wrong that's fine.
And the second one, I also know to be true with the minor and major, because my friend failed with a major due to mounting the curb and I got a minor for touching it. And maybe our examiners are wrong and I'm happy to admit that if the examiner is wrong then that's fine, I can adjust my expectations accordingly.
Sorry I'll make it clearer, touching the curb in itself is not a driver fault, if you were to reverse and stop with a wheel touching the curb but in a good position and then decide you're alright there then that fault is not worthy of marking. If you make a correction to move away from the curb then you will get a driver fault for the correction alone, not the act of touching the curb.
Mounting the curb (and by curb I mean just the 15cm wide strip of paving on the edge of a pavement) is different in that if you mount it and correct your position to a good finishing position then you will only receive a driver fault. If you mount it and then finish your maneuver with a wheel on the curb then it is a serious fault, but you should always have the opportunity/skill to correct this. Three adjustments are allowed before it becomes serious, so you would have to be on the curb after the 3rd adjustment for it to be a serious fault.
This is entirely flexible based on whether there are pedestrians walking past, which increases the seriousness of it.

You could in effect reverse, mount the curb, drive forwards, reverse, mount the curb again, drive forwards, reverse, touch the curb, end the maneuver. And this should only be a driver fault, remembering that the curb is just the narrow paving slabs between the road and pavement. That being said, it can often take a lot of engine effort to actually mount a curb, and it is unusual. When driving up a dropped curb the assessment is less serious as it is obviously harder to tell when you're on it, so you may get away with finishing with a wheel on the actual dropped curb, still not the pavement, if it is particularly flush with the road.
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Geographyqueens
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(Original post by TheDE)
Yeah and telling people to exaggerate their actions is not good instruction. We want to see people actually respond to what they see in their mirrors, which rarely ever happens. It doesn’t matter if you just give an eye flick, we will notice, we are trained to see.
Sorry I'm no trying to spread false information - my dad just says the clearer the movement the easier it is for them to pass you. Exagerate is perhaps not the right term but i just meant try and show that you know everything clearly rather than relyinh full yon the insturctor picking up every small movement
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Roasted Potato
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(Original post by Geographyqueens)
Sorry I'm no trying to spread false information - my dad just says the clearer the movement the easier it is for them to pass you. Exagerate is perhaps not the right term but i just meant try and show that you know everything clearly rather than relyinh full yon the insturctor picking up every small movement
Yes they are trained to pick up every movement but it doesn't mean you can't say stuff out loud to highlight your actions
Equally it highlights you inactions and failings
And it might take more of your focus to say stuff out loud rather than just do
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TheDE
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(Original post by Roasted Potato)
Yes they are trained to pick up every movement but it doesn't mean you can't say stuff out loud to highlight your actions
Equally it highlights you inactions and failings
And it might take more of your focus to say stuff out loud rather than just do
Yeah the main issue is that trying to narrate yourself can distract some people. Others seem to be only able to do things by talking it out to themselves. At the end of the day, do what you have to do to pass, but don't bother narrating yourself for our benefit we don't need the help, if it's for your benefit then by all means do what you need.
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