Stress doesn’t need to be viewed negatively, if perceived and dealt with in the correct manner. Below is a short list that provides a guide to the positive side of stress. Learning to drive, is stressful in itself but it is a challenge and one that for personal reasons, you have decided to take action on, but normally and naturally it can be felt to a degree under any form of test condition.
Positive aspects of Stress:
1) Short bursts of stress can strengthen the immune system – so taking a driving test may even be good for you.
2) A moderate amount of stress can help you perform better.
3) It can be the spark that encourages you to pass your test.
When you as a pupil, finally arrive at the day, after learning for months the necessary driving skills, enabling you to be assessed by a Driving Examiner. It is only understandable if you have a few nerves or suffer from a bit of the jitters. In just one 38 to 40 minute period, you will find out your suitability to drive as an Independent road user.
I may have passed my test over twenty years ago now, but I can still remember as clear as day the way my left leg shook, each time I depressed the clutch. The Examiner kindly telling me to ‘relax’ as I sat in the car, ready to leave the test centre. I remember the mild panic I felt, when I thought I wouldn’t be able to control it and the mental strength it took to actually do it. I also remember the elation at the end of driving test, on finding out I had passed and had managed to remember everything I had been taught. Surprisingly, this was all achieved after my worst driving lesson since starting learning, in the hour before my test. Where I accidentally passed through a red light, drove up a kerb; my nerves were rampant.
Having that lesson beforehand can iron out any niggles and having the instructor there with you, before you’re due to take the test can ease a few of your worries. Your instructor can even come out on your test with you, if you think it will help.
An Examiner hasn’t been out with you week in and week out, during your driving lessons – observing you go over and over again, the manoeuvres you’ve found challenging, or been in your bedroom, as you’ve sweated over the Highway Code to ensure you understand what the signs and signals mean. Ensuring when you are finally set free on your own, you drive in an attentive, considerate and competent manner and I bet you are itching to get on the road.
It’s a bit similar to growing up I think – your parents are by your side until finally, recognising that you know longer need them to assist you in learning to live, you are able to step out on your own. Driving lessons are very similar. It is your driving instructors job to assess your driving aptitude and your practical ability. To guide and advise, when they think you are ‘test ready.’
A driving test is just that – a test of your driving ability. A decision is being made by a Government representative, to discover your capability of driving independently on the road. What a societal compliment when you finally pass and know, not just in your own mind that you’re competent enough to drive in the UK, but the Power that controls your chance of holding a full driving licence in their hands, does also.
If you know what it is about the test that stresses you, then you can work with your Instructor to overcome the difficulty, or spend a bit of time alone working on the areas affected.
Top Stress Busting Tips:
1) Regulate your breathing. It’s amazing how quickly a person can forget to breathe properly when they are nervous. Take a moment, put one hand on your stomach and inhale slowly and deeply – take a few breaths this way and relax!
2) Discuss with your instructor your strength and weaknesses. Ask your driving instructor to run through those points with you, on the lessons running up to your test.
3) Talk to friends or family about your concerns – sometimes voicing what our worries are, or how we are feeling, can help in moving through the anxiety.
4) A mock test can be arranged, if you would like to find out what taking a driving test is like before actually doing it for real.
5) Remember to enjoy it. All you can do is your best. You’ve been taught and assessed by your Driving Instructor as being test ready – trust their judgement, follow the guidelines and do what you have been shown.
6) Book your driving test at the best time of day for you as a person. If you’re up bright and breezy first thing in the morning – then that may be the best time for you to be test ready. Where if you’re a bit of a night owl, then maybe a late afternoon one would be better.
7) Bach Rescue Remedies – although we in no way endorse these, you can read up about them or take a look in a local Pharmacy to find them and speak to the Pharmacist about their views on whether they are a help.
8) Get enough sleep in the days leading up to the test.
9) Take your mind off your test by keeping yourself busy and doing something FUN…
There are well developed therapeutic interventions – if you feel you need more help than what I have spoken about above:
2) Visiting a Counsellor in the run up to the test to work out your worries, if you want to keep them private.
3) Even a trip to the GP, may ease your mind if you are feeling a little too stressed.
A driving test is a challenge to overcome – this is why it causes stress.Remember how you felt the first time you sat in the driving seat – you didn’t know what you were doing, right? How nervous you felt and how everything seemed new. Well your skills and abilities have developed so much in a short space of time, that now you are test ready.The only thing you don’t know is the Examiner. Everything else you do.
Believe in yourself…
Image Source: The UMF / Flickr – Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0