The DVSA driving test is an examination (a practical one, but still an exam), so just like when you are preparing for your GCSEs or University final paper, the key to passing as a learner driver is that you know what is to be covered by the test, and are adequately prepared for it.
The current average national UK pass rate for the driving test is about 40%, and not all the people that fail did not succeed because of their inadequate driver skills, many failed before getting into the car or exiting out of the test centre (the failure was not due to the bay parking exercise either).
I've seen people fail because they couldn't read a car number plate at the required distance, maybe they forgot their reading glasses or contact lenses or just didn't know that the eye test was an integral part of the driving test and where more concerned with their car handling skills!
The other day I was at the DSA Hendon driving test centre, and was watching as one of the learner drivers did a bay park before going out on the rest of the practical assessment. I noticed this car that didn't have an 'L' plate displayed at the rear of the car (obviously a private car being used), as the car headed towards the exit, the brake lights when on, and the car stopped. After about 2 minutes of being stationary, the driving examiner called the accompanying driver over to the car, obviously there was a problem. In the end the driving test was terminated with the learner driver not even having done any driving. I'm not sure of the exact reason, as there might have been more than one, but not having the correct "L" plates displayed is one of them, and looking at the state of the car, the tyres might have been another contributing factor. The current DSA requirements are here.
The same goes for the actual driving part of the test itself, are you sure you've covered the whole syllabus that the DSA examiner will be testing you on? This might seem an obvious question, but the truth is there are a lot of people who present themselves when they know that they are not up to par in one area or the other.
Personally I would advice anyone who is serious about passing the driving test to get their drivng skills assessed by a professional instructor (DSA registered ADI), just to make sure they are aware of the latest requirements that the examiner will be looking for. A family member or friend will not know of any changes that the DSA might have made since thier test especially if they aren't major ones and thus have not been covered by the national press.
Vehice safety recalls happen all the time, and while the driving standards agency will alert all driving instructors that are registered with them, not all members of the public will necesarilly be aware of these, and you don't want to turn up at a test centre to be told your vehicle can not be used because of a saftey defect, you lose your test fee and go home without a pass certificate and your dream of a full UK driving licence has to wait for another couple of weeks. Not all driving instructors are just out to take your money, there are many hard working, honest ADIs who want to pass on their knowledge and help you pass the driving test as well as make you a safe driver for life.
The best way of ensuring that you are one of the 40% that passes the DSA driving test on the next attempt is to make absolutely sure that you and the car you are presenting are full prepared and meet the requirements for the driving test, anything less, and you are playing a game of chance!
DSA test changes 2010.
Driving test car rental.