The UK Practical Driving Test | All You need to know to Pass First Time, including booking!

A complete guide about your UK Driving Test including how to book. From finding the best Driving Test Centres to booking your Theory and Practical Driving Test, all you need to know is here.

If you’re thinking of booking your test, please note that we include the DVSA practical test fee booking with all of our driving courses

Already having lessons but having difficulty booking your practical driving test?

Remember, if you learn to drive with us, all of our lessons include booking your practical driving test for you. However, if you’re already learning elsewhere, finding driving test booking difficult due to long driving test waiting times, and you want us to book the test for you, you can use our practical test booking service at £179.00* (the fee includes the DVSA practical test fee of £62), and our team will do the hard work for you and will book the next available cancellation date for you that appears on the Government’s booking system.

* Not suitable if you already have a practical test booked.



The UK Practical Driving Test | All You need to know the Pass First Time!

The UK Practical Driving Test | All You need to know the Pass First Time!

Last updated: 27/11/2021

The UK driving test is a test of competence that UK residents take in order to obtain a full Great Britain or Northern Ireland driving licence by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).  In this article, we are only referring to the driving test for cars.



Why do I need to do the practical driving test?

It is illegal to drive on roads in the UK on your own if you have not passed your driving test, the simple reason for this is to get all road users safe. In order to get a full driving licence, you will need to pass both the theory/hazard perception tests and the practical driving test. You must first pass the theory/hazard perception tests before you are allowed to book a practical driving test (this is the DVSA rules). We have the comprehensive theory and hazard perception questions and video material to best prepare you to pass your driving test, theory/hazard perception tests, the first time.



What happens on the day of your practical driving test?

At the driving test centre, you will first be asked to show your examiner your UK provisional driving licence (if you don’t have this with you on the day of your driving test then your driving test will not go ahead and you will also lose your practical test fee). Your driving test examiner will then walk with you outside and ask you to read a number plate at a distance of 20.5 meters (67 feet) if you are unable to read the number plate from that distance your driving test will not go ahead and your driving test fee will be lost. Once you have read the number plate your driving examiner will ask you to lead the way to your car (you have to provide the car for the driving test) your examiner might then ask you some vehicle safety questions (these may be asked whilst you are driving).


Once you are in the car your driving examiner will explain how the driving test works.  They will also explain about the independent part of the driving test as well. You will be expected to be at the level required by the DVSA to drive on all types of roads i.e. driving through town, dual carriageways, single carriageways and roundabouts. You are allowed to make up to 15 minors and still pass if a regular fault occurs when your examiner may deem this to be a serious fault to which will be explained at the end of the test.  If you make one serious or dangerous fault then you will fail your driving test.

When your driving test is completed your driving examiner will give you an in-car debrief on your driving test and let you know straight away if you have passed or failed.  If unsure please ask your examiner to clarify with you and your instructor, this will help all future lesson plans in preparation for your next DVSA practical test.


How long is a driving test?

Overall, the driving test normally lasts anywhere between 47 and 55 minutes depending on the route and traffic conditions. This includes signing the insurance declaration before getting in the car, reading a number plate at 20 metres and a brief from the examiner before you start the car. The time frame also includes a debrief after the test has finished. You will always get a debrief wether you pass or fail. Extended tests are twice as long as a normal test. That’s the reason you pay £124 for extended test. Normal test fee is £62



When do I book my driving test?

Because of the long driving test waiting times, it is best to get the theory test passed as soon as possible. Plan to book your driving test many months ahead if possible as this will give you the best choice of driving tests.

If you need your driving test much sooner than you can find on the DVSA system, we have a dedicated cancellation team who can look for earlier practical driving tests for you. When doing your lessons always plan for your test for the end of your lessons. You really do not want to wait weeks for your driving test. Planning ahead for your driving test is important as waiting times on the DVSA’s website for driving tests is pretty long in all test areas.



Check for earlier Driving Test Appointments

If you have booked your driving lessons with us and we have booked your practical test, if you are not happy with the test date that we have booked please contact us first and we will constantly check for earlier appointments to suit your availability if one becomes available or you can check for earlier appointments yourself by following the link that is on your booking confirmation letter, please remember that if you going to change your test to always check with your instructor first to make sure that they can do the test date that you find.  These are sometimes called ‘cancellation appointments’ Do not book a short notice test, if you do and your instructor cannot do this test date then you will lose your test fee.  You can visit the change your driving test page here:


Day of your practical driving test.

What should I take with me? On the day of your practical driving test, you will need to take your provisional driving licence with you and your theory pass certificate, if you turn up at the driving test centre without your provisional photocard licence, your practical test will not go ahead and you will lose your test fee. If you are being trained by a driving instructor then your driving instructors vehicle should have the correct insurance for your practical driving test, if you wish to use your own car, the car you bring to the test centre will need to be roadworthy and insured (so bring proof of your insurance with you).  Please inform your examiner at the start of your test that you are using your own vehicle as your examiner will need an internal mirror. Your examiner will look over your car very carefully to make sure everything is working and if they deem it is not then the driving test will not go ahead and you will lose your driving test fee.

Find your Driving Test Centre

A list of UK Driving Test Centres can be found at this link. We are constantly adding new test centres to this page.


Driving Test Minimum Age

The minimum age at which one can take the UK driving test is currently 17 for cars (16 for those on the higher/enhanced rate of the mobility component of DLA or PIP). There is no upper age limit.


Driving Test Latest Statistics

In Great Britain, around 1.6 million people sit the practical car test per year, with a pass rate of around 43%, the theory test has a pass rate of around 51.6%.


Booking your Driving Test

At Intensive Courses, we will organise your theory and practical tests for you and your practical test will be booked for the last day of your driving course dependent on availability on the DVSA’s website. Alternatively, you can book your driving test for yourself when you have passed your theory test. In this case, you just need to go to The .GOV website driving test booking page You don’t need to pass another theory test if you are upgrading an automatic car licence to a manual licence.

Driving Test latest changes

The driving test is continuously changing. The official body in charge of the driving test is the DVSA. They are charged by the government to make our roads safer for all road users. The DVSA’s aim is to make driving in the UK safer than anywhere else in the world. They are always looking at ways of doing this. Please see below the latest changes to the driving test.


New driving test changes

The new driving test changes are as follows To increase the independent driving part of the practical driving test from at present 10 minutes up to 20 minutes.


Sat Nav driving

Your examiner will ask you to follow directions given by a sat nav during the independent part of the driving test. Read more about Sat Nav Driving Test Changes.  These changes have been implemented since April 2017.


The DVSA are changing the manoeuvres (to more realistic everyday ones you might experience in real life). These changes are to get rid of the turn in the road and reverse around a corner to the left and replace them with reversing into a parking bay or driving forward into a parking bay. Something that will be useful when it comes to doing your weekly shop.

Vehicle safety questions

Instead of asking you the vehicle safety questions at the start of your test before you move off, these questions will now be asked whilst you are driving (i.e. to clean your windscreen whilst on the move or setting your demister’s to clear windows effectively), These are important skills to be able to do on your own whilst driving.



UK Driving Test FAQ’S

Do I need to move to the UK to pass my driving test and get my UK driving licence?
You have to be a UK resident for a minimum of 3 years to apply for a UK provisional licence.

How long do you drive for in a driving test?
Your driving test in the UK will take approximately 40 minutes to complete (depending on traffic). You will be given clear instructions throughout the test, but if you don’t understand something, ask the examiner to repeat it. Do not panic if you make a mistake during the test.

What do I need to take a driving test?
When you arrive for your road test, you’ll most likely need to provide:

  • The vehicle in which you’re going to test.
  • Proof of registration and insurance for your vehicle.
  • Your learner’s permit or other equivalent authorization.
  • Proof of your completed behind-the-wheel hours, if applicable.
  • Confidence!

How many minors are allowed on a driving test?
You are allowed 15 minor faults during the test and it may be that you have simply committed a minor fault. If you accumulate more than 15 minor faults or commit a serious driving fault during the test you will fail.

Can you change your driving test date?
As long as you change your booking within five clear working days of your original test date you will not have to pay any additional fees. Always remember to check with your driving instructor to ensure that they are free on your amended test date.

Last updated: 03/04/2023

Call Now Button