13-17 Years

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:

  1. An Eyesight Check
  2. Vehicle Safety Questions  - “Show me, Tell me”
    For example, “show me how to test the brakes”, “show me how to check the oil level”.
  3. Directed Driving
    Following directions from the examiner and performing various manoeuvres
  4. Reversing Your Vehicle
  5. Independent Driving
  6. Receiving Your Result

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

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.


  1. If you wear glasses or contacts, don’t forget to bring them!
  2. 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
  3. Or, if you find it difficult to read out loud, you can write the number plate down

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.”

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

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

  1. Parallel park at the side of the road
  2. Park in a bay - either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out
  3. Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and then rejoin the traffic


  1. Consider writing ‘L’ and ‘R’ on your hands so you can quickly know which way to turn the wheel
  2. Before your test, spend as much time as possible visualising these movements and which way to turn your hands, until they become second nature


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

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