No matter how many driving lessons you take a week in your preparation towards passing the UK driving test, there is always something extra that you can do between your appointments with your driving instructor or supervising driver that could give you that extra edge that could mean the difference between you passing and failing the DSA practical car assessment. One thing that I keep telling my learner driver pupils is that you can never over prepare for the driving test, but you can always be underprepared, and a lot of people who present themselves to a DSA Examiner are! They attend their appointment hoping that they don't get taken on a difficult test route, are not asked to do the parallel parking or left reverse round the corner, the end result being failure and they add to the statistics of the low 40% pass rate!
So what is the extra work that a test candidate can do in between driving lessons that will better prepare them and increase their chances of them pass the driving test and earn them that highly coveted full british licence? You will find out that some of the following advice and tips that I'm about to give will not cost you a lot in terms of money, can easily be done on a daily basis as long as your are disciplined and willing to dedicate some time to the tasks and could actually end up saving you money, be it from passing the driving test, making better progress during your lessons and thus needing fewer.
Learner Driver Journal or Diary: Not everyone will remember every single thing that they learnt during their driving lesson, and keeping a driving journal which you can fill out after your 1hr or 2hrs tuition with your ADI will give you a record of things that you learnt, tips you were given, and skills you need to work. I remember when I was in college not taking notes in class during particular subject lectures because these were hobbies of mine which I had magazines or practical experience of, some other students copied me, but where surprised when I always did better than them during tests, what they failed to realise was that I had an unfair advantage over them, because I wasn't learning the subject in class, but was just getting a reminder of the knowledge I already possessed from the magazines which I probably had read cover to cover 2 or 3 times and the practical experience I had gained from the club workshops I attended. By revising your journal notes, you will be using your driving lessons for practice, and will be more relaxed and this will produce a smooth drive which can only improve or boost your confidence.
Know your road traffic signs: As part of the driving test preparation for my learner driver pupils I take them on some country roads or dual carriageways where the National Speed Limit applies, and I'm always amazed at the number of people who either fail to recognise the NSL sign or don't know what the speed limit translates to on the specific road they are driving on! You should continue to read your highway code book in between driving lessons even if you have passed the theory test, as any of the knowledge could be tested by the test route chosen by the DSA examiner. Simple things like who to give way to at a roundabout (many test candidates under pressure give ways to vehicles on the left!), who has the right of way when turning right at traffic lights with oncoming cars, the purpose of hatched areas marked on the road! Yes you can ask your driving instructor or supervising driver, but suppose you encounter something on the test which you can't remember how to deal with because it was long ago that it happened? Reading the Highway Code on the bus or train while going to work in the morning, or returning home in the evening is much more productive than newpapers or gossip magazines and while people might know you are learning to drive, surely your pride can take a backstage if you are really serious about passing the UK driving test.
Use the internet to your advantage: If you are reading this article, then you are already doing this, but make sure you have everything covered. My driving test tips blog has a lot advise, videos and tips to help with the DSA test, but there are many other resources you there that can cover any gaps in your knowledge. The DL25 report form is a good document that you should familiarise yourself with, it explains the skills you will be tested on, and the standard expected of you by the DSA.
Learn from Driving Standards Agency resources. As the government agency that is responsible for conducting the UK driving test, they have a few books that you could also read when not taking driving lessons, and you could get tips on things that you could practise with your instructor or supervising driver during your next lesson. As has been said before the more you know about what the DSA requires of you during the practical car assessment, the better placed you are to satisfy that requirement and the little work you put into reading a £5.99 could be key to your success at the next driving test attempt.
Finally for those of you who prefer to use computer based games to prepare for the test, you might want to try the driving test simulator which is a very popular educational software for the PC that simulates the DSA test and contains additional videos to further suppliment your knowledge gained during your driving lessons. By trying one or two of these tips, I'm sure you will have the extra confidence, knowledge and skills required to get that pass certificate required to apply to the DVLA for your full UK driving licence.
For quality manual driving lessons in NW London call me on 07956233032. Please note that while I'm fully knowledgable of the Hendon and Mill Hill test routes, I don't confine learner drivers who are taking a 2hr assessment to use my car on a practical to these areas only.
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