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Driving test ExplainedTest Routes

On these pages you will find out what the Theory and Driving tests are all about, hints and tips on how to give yourself the best chance of passing, deal with your nerves and how you can book and manage your test on the phone or online.

Check out the other Driving test pages for an explanation of the test marking sheet and an in depth review of some of the awkward areas that you may encounter on some of the test routes that often catch people out.

Give yourself a head start - Know what to expect before your test!!


theory testPlease click here to manage your Theory test online

practical testPlease click here to manage your Driving test online


Both the theory and Driving test can be booked in the same ways: Please Speak to Chris before booking a test to ensure that you are ready to take the test.

  • Your Driving Licence
  • Your theory certificate ( if booking a practical test.)
  • A Valid Credit/Debit card

The cost of the theory test is currently £31.00 and the Driving test currently £62.00 ( or £75.00 for a weekend or evening booking) These are subject to change by the Driving standards Agency. 





Please be careful when booking your Driving test as there are 2 test centres in Southampton:   For a Map or directions  to Maybush please click here

Maybush Test centreMaybush Test Centre information                                                                                                      Click    

Forest Hills Test CentreForest Hills Drive Test centre information

Southampton Theory test centreThe theory test centre is Capital House located in Southampton town centre just behind Debenhams



how to pass your driving testHow To Pass Your Driving Test - Tips and Advice

Choosing an instructor and preparing for your driving test may appear to be a difficult task, however there are resources available that can help you with your decision. When choosing a school or an instructor ensure that they have been registered and approved by the Driving Standards Agency. Usually this is evidenced by a green certificate (see picture) in their car window or a pink certificate if they are still in earlier assessment stages.

my Amazon storeAsk your friends and family if they would recommend their driving instructor.  It has been identified that nine out of ten learners who have passed both their theory and practical test have used a DSA approved instructor. It is essential for you to follow your instructors’ advice on all aspects of driving, learning material, practice methods and tests. Once you are ready to take your practical driving test you will be given an eyesight check, a vehicle safety check then followed by a general driving examination, also, two reversing exercises from the following (reversing around a corner, parallel parking, bay parking and turn in the road and possibly an emergency stop.)  

To avoid failing by incurring a serious fault or indeed failure through several minor mistakes, certain precautions need to be taken before and during your test. Some basic suggestions are presented below on how to pass your tests.

driving lessons southamptonMost importantly you will need to practice, as you would for any exam. There are a number of practice theory tests available online. For further preparation have somebody question you or present scenarios such as which actions you should take when faced with certain street signs, road markings and so forth. Having others test and question you will help you prepare mentally for an exam situation. In order to prepare for your practical, ask your instructor to recommend areas to practice. The law requires that you have an accompanying passenger over 21 that has held a valid full license for 3 years or more. Choose wisely - anyone who is experienced can point out your mistakes but some are more helpful and better at communicating them than others. Your spouse is rarely a good choice! It would be much better to use the services of a driving school professional wherever possible.

driving school southamptonDuring your practical, try not to be nervous. Although this is easier said than done, try to remain calm and focus on what you have learned. The examiner is looking to see that you are someone who is going to be safe on the roads, so you need to demonstrate to the examiner that you are in good control of the car and very aware of what’s going on around you. It’s OK to make a mistake, like stalling, the important thing however is how you deal with it and put it right. Checking mirrors and using signals where appropriate. One of the most important things to remember, during your practical test is do not take risks under any circumstances! If you come upon a situation where you are uncertain, always take the safe option! Whilst you could be penalised for excessive, repeated hesitancy, you will certainly be penalised for even a marginal degree of haste. Stay within the prescribed speed limit but try to drive at the speed that is appropriate for the situation. Always indicate as instructed by your instructor and continually demonstrate that you are aware of potential hazards, checking your mirrors, blind spot and visibly scanning the road ahead. Remain calm and focused.  Keep your mind on the road and your current situation  don`t allow yourself to be distracted by the test elements yet to come or what the examiner might be writing down. With solid practice and a positive approach to the test, the day will soon arrive when you can go to buy a car, with your brand new full license tucked away in your wallet or purse. Read on for more info about the tests:

official theory practise from the DSATry the official Driving Standards Agency Theory test practice website

The 1st part is multiple choice questions: You will have to answer 50 questions on the highway code, including questions on road signs and braking distances etc...

theory testYou will need to choose 1 or more of the answers offered to you. It's simple to use the computer system all you have to do is touch the screen. You will be asked to confirm all of your choices so don't worry about accidently pressing the wrong button!!

theory test boothTake your time on the questions read them properly. (Some people say that wearing the head phones provided blocked out some of the background noise  and helped them to concentrate better.) If you are unsure of any question use the "flagging" facility. This feature enables you to "pass" on a question and come back to it at the end. Everything is explained very clearly at the beginning and there are people on hand should you have any problems with operating the computer.

What if I have trouble reading or writing or can't understand English well?
Don't worry, there are arrangements in place including extra time allowance and listening to the questions/answers on the headphones provided. Candidates can also choose to listen to the questions/answers being read out through the headphones in over 20 different languages. If you have any concerns call the DSA call centre 0300 200 1122 to book (rather than online) and speak to the advisor.

  • The 2nd part of the theory test is the Hazard perception test. This willl involve watching a series of short video clips. Youwill be asked to identify the potential hazards you can see developing in the clips. The earlier you spot the hazards the more points you will score ranging from 5 down to 0. The maximum you can score on each clip is 5
  • The way you identify the hazards is by clicking on the mouse.You do not have to point the mouse or cursor at the hazard. You will see more than 1 hazard in each clip but only 1 hazard will be the scoring hazard. You must respond to all hazards.
  • You must be careful to only click when there is a hazard the system will think you are cheating if you just keep clicking on everything.
  • The last clip will be a double clip where you will need to identify 2 hazards and can score up to 10 points. Please don't worry if this sounds complicated every thing is explained very clearly during the introduction to your test.

You have to score 43/50 questions on the first part AND  44/75  on the hazard perception part to pass the theory test. Your theory certificate lasts for 2 years and you will need it for booking your driving test so keep it safe!!

my Amazon storeTo prepare for the theory test I would recommend that you study the highway code and use one of the many Books, Cd Roms or DVD's that are available checkout my Amazon store

Dealing with Driving test nerves!

Firstly remember that everyone gets nervous before their test and a bit of nervousness can help you acheive your goal, as adrenaline is released throughout your body. Too much nervousness can led to a well documented physiological reaction:

All these symptoms are actually very normal reactions of stress, as your brain perceives a “threat” and, unconsciously, activates an alarm called “the Fight or Flight” response. During Fight or Flight, your body releases great amounts of adrenaline and cortisol, to help you cope with the perceived ”danger“.Many physical changes occur. Here are some of them you might recognise:

  • Oxygen leaves your front brain, the thinking brain, to go to the back brain, your survival centre. The result is loss of memory, mind going blank... Like failing to remember the High Way Code or forgetting to check mirrors.
  • Oxygen goes away from your stomach, because in time of peril, your digestion is not a priority. This explains the feeling of “butterflies” in the stomach or nausea…making it hard for you to concentrate on driving.
  • Oxygen goes instead to your arms and legs, in order to fight or flee. No good for precise movements! Leaving you shaking, out of control trying to change gears or attempting parallel parking! Your muscles tighten up, leaving you with tension in the shoulders, muscular pain in the neck, impossible to relax, to feel at ease...
  • Your heart pumps harder, your breathing is altered: feeling panicky and light headed, you’re finding it difficult to concentrate. How could you see that cyclist when you were too busy trying to catch your breath!
  • The pupils in your eyes dilate for peripheral vision as if you are scanning the environment for “danger”, which means you can’t focus on the road ahead or make any sense of the road signs or even notice that red light!

How to manage?

  • Preperation:

Make sure you feel confident to take your test your instructor will have already discussed this with you. If you haven't already had one ask your instructor for a mock test. You could even ask them to arrange a mock test with another ADI to help you get used to haveing a stranger sat next to you. Remember the Examiners are very experienced and take out lots of very nervous people for their tests- They can tell the difference between a silly mistake made due to a shaking foot etc and genuine problems.

  • Clothing:

It's good to look smart for your test as that will always give a good impression, but make sure your are dressed suitably for thr time of year and that you are comfortable in what you are wearing.

  • The Examiner:

May not be very talkative. He will probably just give you directions. This is not because he is rude, but simply to give you time to focus on the road and driving.

  • Focused breathing and positive thinking:

Concentrating on the act of breathing in and out will not only take your mind offf of things but will give your brain extra oxygen.

  • Medication:

There are several herbal remedies you can try called "rescue remedy" and "calms" or if things are really bad you could try asking the doctor for a prescription for some beta blockers.

  • Using Driving test angel:

driving test angel

christine from driving test angelHello, my name is Christine Pirrie, your Driving Test Angel.

Many hypnotic downloads offer good relaxation techniques but this Audio Program is much more than just relaxation and visualisation.

It will change the program at the unconscious level. There are no fancy subliminal hidden suggestions. At all times, you will remain in charge of what you let your mind absorb.

You will get rid of old, negative and limiting thoughts and replace them with new, positive data and this is REAL change!

Still have questions? Feel free to contact me here.

What will happen on the day?                                              Introduction Video

  • Your Driving Test would normally start an hour before your test time, with a 1 hour lesson. The main reason for this is to get you settled in, comfortable and as relaxed as possible with the car and to run through a few last minute bits of advice, so that you are as prepared as possible for your test: Before your test we would normally run through the "show me tell me questions " 1 last time and reverse into a parking bay at the test centre ready for your test.
  • The Examiner will meet us in the waiting room and call out your name. He will ask to see your paper work ( Paper and Card part of Provisional Licence and Theory certificate - without both parts of your licence you will not be able to take your test.) He will ask you to sign a declaration to say that the Car is insured for the driving Test ( my car is, obviously!!!) and that you have lived in the UK for a minimum of 6 months. He will also check that the address on your Licence is correct. (If you have changed address it's okay to write your new address in the space provided at the bottom of your licence.)
    He will then ask you if you would like your instructor/supervising driver to accompany you on the test.

The Examiner will ask you then to lead the way out to the Car.

Occasionally there will be a senior examiner supervising your test examiner, this means that there will be an extra person in the car (in the back). Remember that this will make the car a little heavier and you will notice as you try and pull away. He/she is there to supervise your examiner and to ensure that they are doing things correctly. This is perfectly normal they are not there to mark you so try not to let it put you under even more pressure.

  • Once in the Car Park the Examiner will ask you to read a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres and then he will ask you 2 questions from the "Show me Tell Me questions" You will then be asked to get into the car.
  • Normally the examiner will explain what will be happening: you will be asked to carry out 2 reversing manoeuvres and sometimes an emergency stop as welll. He will explain that you should follow the road ahead at all times unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise or he asks you to turn left or right. The test will last for about 45mins
  • Throughout the test the Examiner will be looking for you to be in good control of the Car and very aware of what is going on around you.You will be asked to pull up on the left hand side of the road several times. You will be asked to carry out 2 manoeuvres: the Examiner will again be looking for good control of the Car and excellent observational skills effectively looking all around you and knowing all the time what is going on around you and reacting accordingly.
  • If you make a mistake on your test especially with the manoeuvres it is important that you make a correction and put it right. As long as you maintain good observation and good control of the car it is not a problem to pull forward and correct your mistake.

At the end of your test you will return to the test centre to receive your result. You are allowed up to 15 minor faults but no serious or dangerous faults. Good Luck!! Have a look at this website it offers great advice and explains the tests in great detail Driving Test Online

After your test if you are successful you will be asked for your driving licence and after filling in a few forms which require your signature the examiner will keep your provisional and your new licence will be sent through the post to you. You will keep the blue pass certificate as proof of passing the test. You can drive straight away after passing the test using the pass certificate ( so keep it safe).  Don't forget to tell your insurance company that you have passed the test.

Don't forget about the New Drivers Act: Once you have passed your test, you are on probation for two years. If you get six or more penalty points during this time, you will lose your licence. You will have to reapply for a provisional licence and have to take all the tests again. Since the New Drivers Act was introduced in 1997, over 80,450 drivers have
lost their licences.

Road safety information for young driversPlease take the time to read the Road safety for young drivers information from Hampshire County Council

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