DSA Driving Test Changes 2012

Jan 2012
The Theory test changed 23rd January 2012 to a new bank of questions and answers that are no longer available to the public. This according to some people makes the theory test harder to pass as you can no longer memorise or learn by rote.

October 2010
The DSA introduced independent driving to the practical test in the UK (car, mototorcycle or HGV).

The DSA made an important radical change to the UK driving test which come into effect on Monday 4th Oct 2010.

1. I have already mentioned the proposed change that was going to require all candidates to have an accompanying driver in the car in addition to the dsa examiner, a move which could see the driving test pass rates drop as many nervous learner drivers now have 2 or even 3 extra passengers watching their every move, not to mention having to deal with the extra weight in the car which could affect approach to junctions.

2. The other change is the new driving test will see the introduction of a 10 minute independent driving element where the test candidate will have to navigate their way to a set direction using only road signs or a series of instructions backed by a diagram, no other directions will be given by the examiner during this 10 minute session (it is ok though to reconfirm an instruction), not only will you have to know how to get there, you will still have to do it safely, signalling at the right time, being in the correct lane for a roundabout, take the right exit, stick to the speed limit, and still not make a serious or dangerous driving errors.

In order to facilitate independent driving on the new practical test, the DSA will cut the number of reversing manoeuvers to one, but since you don't know which one, you still have to learn all four, so preparation time will not be cut, but rather increase as you would need more driving lessons to learn independent driving and have a good chance of passing.

My advice to those of you currently learning to drive is to make haste, put in all the effort into passing, because from october 2010 one of the world's hardest driving tests is about to get even tougher and there is nothing you can do about it if you wait till oct. next year before getting your full british licence. If you need help with passing the test before the october 2010 changes and are in London, then I'd be happy to offer you some affordable driving lessons.

To have an idea of what you might be asked to do, check out my independent driving test video.

Please note that the test fees have not been increased (April 2010):
Practical car test weekdays £62
Evenings and Weekends are £75
Extended driving tests are £124 weekday and £150 weekend a hefty price to discourage those who don't take their responsibilities as drivers serious.

DSA Examiner Driving Test Routes

As an instructor over the years I have seen some very good drivers get tripped up at some tricky places on some of the routes by examiners in the NW London area, so I have made these tutorial videos to cover these situations.

Each video covers what I have found out to the toughest route, and has additional tips on other places or things that you should be aware as a driving test candidate. These are offered as complimentary preparation materials to your lessons or private practice sessions.

Hendon Driving Test Routes Video 2015

£4.99 Buy Now

Independent Driving On the Test.
Theory Test Changes
Driving Test Changes.

Mill Hill Driving Test Route Video

£4.99 Buy Now

Borehamwood Test Centre WD6 Route Videos

More Reading
Learning DSA driving test routes
Red driving school instructor.
Dealing with road signs and markings.

Subscribe to Driving Test Tips so you don't miss any future articles or get updates direct to your inbox by Email.


  1. Hmmm!.
    As someone who's allowed my first pass certificate to lapse already,
    I am taking heed of this.

    Gonna write it again now! thx

  2. As a driving instructor of 6 years I have noticed a gradual increase in the standard expected of students whilst on the driving test.

    This seems to me another money making scheme designed as another way to make people fail, as the DSA is a business after all. The DSA may argue that knowing where you are going helps, this is only true of not getting lost. Pupils are not always going to stick to routes they know once they have passed, they will be off exploring the country, maybe the world. The proposed change is ridiculous, a study by Progressive Insurance showed 77 percent of policyholders involved in an accident were less than 15 miles from home so how will knowing where you are make any jot of difference to how safe a driver you are?

    reassessing people every 10-20 years would make more sense as due to all the changes already made over the years has meant that there are motorists out there that have been taught things differently to others - for e.g - people were originally taught to turn around the back of another car when both turning right at traffic lights, now both ways, or more often turning in front is now acceptable, trust me this causes confusion.

    Rant over


  3. phfw196111:06 pm

    Hmm. As an ADI, I find the remarks in the original post a little strange. I was under the impression that we teach people the driving skills they need to drive safely BEYOND the test. Your comments would imply that you only teach your pupils to pass the test.

    ALL of my pupils are already encouraged to navigate themselves once they reach test standard, because once they pass, they won't have anyone guiding them. As far as I'm concerned, that's part of learning to drive - BEYOND the test and for the rest of their lives.

    Surely any good Instructor would already teach this?

  4. Anonymous12:30 pm

    As a driving instructor I teach people to be safe drivers as well as pass the test.

    The introduction of independent driving benefits me as an ADI, as people are going to need extra lessons and probably more attempts at the DSA test.

    My personal opinion is that the new changes in no way makes the new licence holder a safer driver, even experienced people get lost when going somewhere they don't know.

    Let's be real here, this is just another way of making the test harder, anyone who passes the test and can afford to buy a car, will budget the extra £100 to buy a SatNav which is what most people in the real world use today (yes they can lead you up a river, but that is neither here nor there).

    This blog offers tips to those who are preparing for the practical car driving test, and there is nothing wrong in me advising people to make haste and pass now rather than wait till october 2010 when a new element is added to the skills check list.

    Everyone who passes their test has the option to drive the way their ADI taught them or to go the way of the masses, you can't force them to be safe, and many rebel against what they have been taught because the test is made so hard for inexperienced drivers, yet nothing is done to the many bad drivers on the road who are un safe and inconsiderate.

    The DSA or government should find a way of re-testing old licence holders after 5 or 10 yrs or introduce a compulsary re-test for everyone banned either due to 12 points or courts.

    Why pick on just the learners!

  5. phfw19617:00 pm

    Totally in agreement with the idea of periodical 'tests' for drivers. Something does have to be done to tackle the problem of poor driving standards.

    And of course we can't FORCE pupils to drive safely after the test. All we can do is ensure they understand the possible outcome of NOT driving safely.

    And of course there's nothing wrong with advising pupils to book before the changes, if you believe it's an issue. I have advised my pupils of the changes and the general response is something like "Is that all?". Because they realise that it's no big deal. They already do it.

    Therefore MY personal opinion is, what's all the fuss about? Do I feel it's a necessary part of the Test? No, not really. It's a bit like change for changes sake. Not much point. But equally it doesn't make the Test any harder. 'Much Ado About Nothing'.

    As for pupils needing extra lessons and possibly more attempts at the Test? Why? Think about it. On the Test as it stands, at some tricky roundabouts or junctions, the examiners already use phrases like "at the roundabout ahead I'd like you to take the 3rd exit, signposted 'Nottingham'". Why do they do that? Because it HELPS to CLARIFY the directions! (roughly translated - it makes it easier) So, armed with that knowledge, I do the same. But I do it more often. It's just a natural progression. Which would be why my pupils aren't phased by the imminent changes.

    Which begs the question - if my pupils aren't worried about it, why are you?

    As for the Sat Nav issue... that's a whole new debate.

  6. Anonymous11:39 am

    I have been an AI for 20 years and have heard it all before, the skill in educating new drivers rather than teaching them is far greater any ten a penny adi can take the money and hope they pass yet they still blame the dsa or the examiners.And as for pass rates or money making scheme utter garbage i suggest you concentrate on being an ADI rather than its someone else to blame.

  7. phfw196110:21 am

    Absolutely right 'anonymous'. Glad to see I'm not alone on this one!

  8. Im an ADI and this change doesn't make sence to me.
    The 17-21 year old new drivers are not killing themselves getting directions wrong, they are doing it on dual carriageways and unrestricted country roads. Yet the test doesn't have compulsory dual carriageways or country lanes. The extra time saved from only doing one manouver (again no one died reversing around a corner) could be used to make every candidate go on a dual carriageway and or a country road.

    I teach all types and at the moment I teach a heavily Dyslexic lad who has trouble reading a number plate quickly. If he was to be made to follow signs to a destination a vast percentage of his concerntration would be taken up trying to work out which sign says the destination and not on the road and being safe.
    To add to that does the candidate get a chance to pull over and check a map for a suitable alternative route if they have gone the wrong way? Or do they just fail having not followed the signs?
    I will continue to teach my pupils the same way and add a little more tuition in to accomidate this ridiculous change made by a company who charges a rediculous rate for a 45 minute test and has waiting times of 8 weeks in the sussex area. Also cancelling tests at short notice and supplying new test dates for a further 8 weeks.

    Thanks for the great website


  9. is it true that from the 1 of October 2010 the automatic cars will stop?!if that happens and i just pass my theory can i still do my driving exame in a automatic car? what are actually the new laws for the road code starting on the 1 of October 2010?

  10. Anonymous5:51 am

    You can still take the driving test in an automatic car, the only changes are as mentioned in the article above.




eXTReMe Tracker