On the 4th October 2010, the DSA introduced independent driving to the UK practical car test, and on the same day removed all of the old driving test routes from its website which had been previously published because new roads where being used on some routes to cater for the new 10 minute element where the candidate would need to drive without any directions or advice from the DSA examiner.
As a result of these changes, one of the most common requests I get from learner drivers preparing for the DSA practical car assessment, is can I take them on the current driving test routes used by the examiners at Mill Hill, Hendon and Borehamwood centres so they can have a better chance of passing the driving test.
As a driving instructor, it is normal practice to take a test candidate on some of the routes that the examiner might take you, but this is only after the learner driver has reached the required standard expected by the dsa, and not just to memorise the roads in a bid to having a better chance of passing the driving test. Many learner drivers who are self taught or foreign international driving licence holders just want to memorise the test routes in one 2 hour lesson session and think that is all that they need to do to secure a pass certificate.
Hendon Driving Test Routes Video
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There are good reasons why you might want to drive on some of the driving test routes, examples are you might not have previously had the chance of dealing with a multi-lane roundabout like Apex corner in Mill Hill that is also controlled by traffic lights, or a national speed limit (70mph) dual carriage way like the A1 on the hendon centre route or country lanes like those used in Wood Green, and you wouldn't have a chance on the magic roundabout in Swindon if you encountered it for the first time with the DSA examiner in the car. What however I find is that a lot of learners who have booked a driving test in a centre, have done so because they can get an earlier date or a late cancellation but they are not actually fully preared for the test, and just want to pratcise on the routes and do their driving manoeuvres at the same places that the dsa examiners use all in a bid to 'cheat' the system and gain that coveted hard to get pass cerificate.
Since this is basically like playing a driving test game of chance, some people will get away with it, manage a pass, bragg to their friends about the method they used, but the majority of candidates will fail (because they don't have the relevant driving skills at the prerequisite standard or enough experience), and either blame the examiner for being too harsh/unfair or say lady luck was not on their side, in the meantime they have just contributed to the low pass rate on the dsa statistics records and made them some more money in the process as well.
Before you start going on driving test routes, make sure you get all the basic skills stipulated on the driver's record under your belt, including manoeuvres, especially the hardest left reverse round the corner exercise, as it is not safe and convinient to be learning this on a busy test route nor should you be mastering bay parking reference points in the busy borehamwood car park.
Once you have covered the entire dsa syllabus for the practical car assessment, and have attained a consistent level 4, making sure if there is anything that you are afraid of, or hope you will not be asked to do by the examiner, then it is a weeakness that needs to be dealt with. Once these fears have been conquered, then you are ready to tackle your local driving test centre's routes gaining the valuable experience and extra practice on any of the skills that you might not have been able to gain before now, like driving above 50mph on country A roads or dual carriageways. Remember you are about to take one of the world's hardest civilian driving tests, so give it the respect it deserves, put in the work, gain the confidence and get the nerves under check. With the right attitude, all being well and you in control, will sail through with flying colours and hearing those lovely words "that's the end of the driving test, and I'm pleased to say you have passed".
One thing that you should note about any of the driving test routes posted on the internet, is that they are all outdated, merely being copies of what the DSA published before 4th Oct 2010, and therefore no longer used or largely modified, which is why I have taken the time to make the test route videos available on this webpage and charging a fee for downloading them since it has cost me time, and effort. The good news is that they are upto date as at January 2012 and do give you the location used by the driving examiners for the various test maneuvers, and for some candidates, it is crucial that they know this to increase their chances of passing, this is where you might need the help of a knowlegdeable local driving instructor like me.
Mill Hill Driving Test Route Video
Mill Hill test centre is a difficult place to pass from, which is reflected in the low pass rate of 34%. One of the reasons for this is that the DSA examiners have a tough route that is not only tricky, but also includes a very busy multi-lane roundabout (Apex corner).
The video tutorial below covers this route and has full commentary pointing out these tricky locations and how to overcome the common mistakes many candidates have made in the past. Click on the image for details of how to download the video, it will save you from making the same mistakes on an already tough driving test.
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Borehamwood Test Route Video
Providing useful tips and advice of the common places where candidates fail in Borehamwood, updated in 2017.
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