The Driver & Vehicle  Standards Agency  Theory and Practical Tests

What is required to obtain a full UK driving license?

There are three parts to the UK driving test (car ). Before you can sit the practical test, you must have passed a multiple choice touch-screen Theory Test and video clip Hazard Perception Test. You will to need pass both of these before you can take your practical test. If you fail either section, you will need to retake the whole test again. Your Theory Test Pass is valid for 2 years.

Once you have passed  the Theory Test you can then book and sit the Practical Test (if you are ready) which also includes a 'Show Me, Tell Me' vehicle maintenance and safety section. See the 'Show Me Tell Me' page.

This means the number of lessons needed to pass the test has increased dramatically - all aiming to prepare you for today's road conditions and continue to make the UK’s roads one of the safest in the World.

The Theory Test

In your Theory Test, you will be assessed on your driving attitude, traffic signs and regulations, safety in vehicles and how the environment affects driving conditions. Plus the effects of alcohol, drugs and fatigue on drivers.

The DVSA theory test is split into two sections:

Your Theory Test will take place at your nearest DVSA Theory Test Centre and is based predominantly around The Highway Code. An online version is available by clicking on the picture below

Highway Code

The Practical Test

Your driving instructor will advise you when you should apply for your practical driving test and the earliest date you should book. It is important you do not book your test before speaking to your instructor.

Your driving test will take around 40 minutes and it is conducted from your local driving test centre by a DVSA examiner. All test routes are designed to involve a selection of different types of junctions and varying speed limits. Along with showing a safe drive you will be required to perform one reversing manouevre (decided by your examiner) and a section of ‘Independent Driving’ (20 minutes following either SatNav instructions or road signs - dictated by test route/examiner). You may be asked to perform the ‘emergency stop’ exercise (average 1 in 3 tests). During the test, you will also be asked to carry out a ‘Show Me’ question on the move.

Before you start your test, your examiner will ask you to read a car number plate from the required minimum distance. You will then be required to answer a ‘Tell Me’ vehicle safety and maintenance question. The examiner will sit in the front passenger seat and explain how the driving test will be conducted. You will then be asked to start the engine and drive away.

DVSA Examiners will be looking for a competent and safe driver, but some minor driving faults are permitted. Minor faults are errors that do not create an actual or potential danger to other road users. The examiner records these mistakes and if you make sixteen or more of these, you will fail the test. If you make a mistake, continue driving and don't worry. It may only be a minor error and it may not affect your result. You will, however, automatically fail if you make a serious or dangerous error.

If you pass, you will be given a pass certificate and the examiner will keep your provisonal license to post to DVLA (unless you chose to do it yourself). Your full license will then come through by post within 3 weeks.

If you fail, the examiner will explain why you failed. You can re-apply to take your test again straight away, but you cannot retake the test within ten working days.

Your Driving Instructor can accompany you on test and/or listen to the result and conclusion afterwards. You will be asked before the start of your test if you wish either of these to take place.

Show Me, Tell Me


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