If you speak to someone who passed their driving test they will most likely be able to tell you more detail about it than their last birthday. In fact if you ask them what are the most memorable days in their life I would have a bet that their driving test would be up in the top 10 if not top 5. Why? It’s simply one of the those days that is like no other. The adrenaline is pumping and everything you have been learning and practicing is now going to be tested in the next 40 minutes. Not only is it going to be tested but it will be done with someone not talking to you very much whilst looking directly at you.
For many it is also a gateway to freedom, socially and for work. It opens so many new opportunities that at 17 years of age it is probably the most coveted document to have.
Gaining a driving licence is a very personal journey in that each and everyone will find different challenges, be it using the clutch or mastering a reverse around a corner but the biggest issue in learning to drive and probably why the practical test pass rate is approximately 40% nationally is nerves.
So how do we control our nerves? I can’t give you a magical cure because if I had one trust me I would be a millionaire but things that can help are the small details. For instance the day before your test do something that is going to take your mind of it completely or the complete opposite have a driving lesson to show yourself you can do it.
Test times can play a big part in nerves, if you know you are the type of person that will get wound up over the course of the day then book an earlier test slot so that you do not have time to get stressed or if you would prefer to have an hour or two driving before hand book a mid day test. Again it’s an individual thing. One thing you should keep in mind is that your driving instructor may try to tell you what time to book the test for, as it would fit in with their diary. Book it for when you want to do it, it’s your big day and let’s face it you’re paying them to be there so they can fit in with you.
You’ve worked hard to learn to drive so have a bath, relax and put your driving documents all in one place ready for the next day. Be prepared, nothing worse than running around like a mad thing because you can’t find both parts of your driving licence 10 minutes before your instructor turns up.
Some pupils that are very nervous try other methods like hypnotism or listening to whale music. Well, it doesn’t work for me but as I have said it’s a personal thing. In saying this I have had many pupils who have recommended herbal remedies. Now, I’m not allowed to recommend anything but I have been told by many people that Rescue Remedy works well to take away that butterfly feeling in your stomach. Please make sure you read the labels and discuss the situation with your chemist if you buy any.
The best thing to keep your nerves down is to not put too much pressure on your self. If you have a car on the drive or tell all your friends you are taking a driving test you will add extra pressure. Try to have an attitude of “If I pass, I pass, if I don’t then I’ll do it again soon, but I am going to give it my very best shot”. With this attitude and a structured approach to your lessons you have the best recipe for success.
Tony’s Top Tips For Passing
1) Be prepared… Have the documents you need ready for your test, they are:
Driving licence – both parts, photo card and counterpart (paper part) **must have**
Confirmation email or letter of appointment
2) Don’t under estimate the time needed on the road to be not only ready but confident.
3) Only tell the very closest of people, if anyone, that you have a test.
4) Have at least an hour before the test driving to chase away the nerves.
5) Approach the test with the right attitude, confident but not presumptuous that you will pass.
6) Make sure you have practised your safety check (show/tell) questions. You don’t want a shaky start.
7) Get your instructor to organise another instructor to do a mock test for you 2 weeks before your real test. A second opinion is always good and may see something your instructor has missed. If nothing else it will confirm you are ready for the test.
8) Don’t drink energy drinks or too much coffee before a test. The caffeine can heighten your nerves.
9) Visit the test centre a few days before the test to familiarise yourself with the protocol for that test centre.
10) Spend some time in and around the test routes. Learn how to deal with particular hot spots, large multi lane roundabout or unobvious one way streets catch people out.
Good Luck, Keep Calm and Safe Driving!!!