In Part 4 of this blog series, I will be talking about my experiences of preparing for the driving test. Part 2 talked about my experiences of driving lessons in the start of the learning to drive journey. In this blog post, I will talk about my experiences of driving lessons when I was preparing for the driving test. Note that I took 2 driving tests as I failed my first test, so I will talk about my preparation for both tests.
My first driving test was booked in September 2021 and was for February 2022. The long wait was due to the backlog caused by the pandemic. As I knew there would be a wait, I booked it straight after I passed my theory. Once I had booked my test, preparation was in 2 stages. The first stage was getting to test standard. This involved mock tests to judge where I was at in terms of driving independently and working on the mistakes. Once I was at test standard, the next stage was finetuning everything and making sure I was as prepared as possible for the test. In the weeks leading up to the test, I did extra lessons with my instructor as well as private practice. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass on the day due to a silly mistake.
My second driving test was booked straight after I failed after my first test and was for August 2022. The first step was to reflect on what went wrong in the first test and think about how I could prepare better for this test. The main thing I felt let me down in the first test was that I didn’t feel truly confident that I could drive fully independently. Therefore, the things I did differently to prepare this time round was:
- Did more regular private practice with my family, the fact that they didn’t have dual controls forced me to take more responsibility to drive independently
- Did more mock tests with my instructor so that I could have practice at driving without any help from my instructor. Again, this helped my confidence in driving independently.
- Wrote down the mistakes I made after every lesson or private practice session so I could understand why they happened and how I could avoid making the same mistake next time. Having this extra understanding from learning from my mistakes helped a lot.
Overall, I felt more confident for my test second time around and passed with one minor fault.
When it comes to preparing for your driving test, there are lots of tips that I can give, but the 3 main ones are summarised below.
As soon as you have booked your driving test, plan ahead and be organised
The current pandemic backlog means that there can be a wait of up to 5 months from the day you book your driving test to sitting your driving test. Furthermore, if you have to cancel your driving test, you are facing a wait of up to 5 months until you can find another test date. Therefore, you want to make sure you are ready in time for the test date, as you don’t want to be having to wait another few months because you had to move your test date back. To ensure that you are at test pass standard in time for the test, it is important to be organised and plan ahead from the day you book your driving test. For example, if you have a test booked for end of March next year, you want to be in a position to take your first mock test by mid-January. Therefore, you should be working towards that from now. You should be actively having these discussions with your instructor on how you can plan ahead so that you are ready for the driving test when it arrives. I know a few people that have had to move their driving test back because didn’t plan ahead, and hence they weren’t ready for the tests that they had booked.
Reframe your mindset to take full responsibly as a driver and not rely on the help of your instructor
In order to pass the test and drive safely after passing your test, you need to be able to drive independently without the help of your instructor. In other words, your instructor shouldn’t be having to intervene in any way to help you. In your early driving lessons, your instructor would be giving you help and guidance whilst you were driving. After a while, it is easy to fall in the trap of relying on your instructor helping you when you need it. However, when you are preparing for a driving test, you need to reframe your mindset and take full responsibility as a driver, and treat your driving as if you were driving alone. Mock tests are a great way to see how you cope with driving independently without help from your instructor. Furthermore, private practice forces you to take more responsibility as a driver as there is no dual controls. Personally, I think that adjusting your mindset to take full responsibility as a driver is one of the hardest parts of the learning to drive journey, but it can go a long way to passing your driving test.
Don’t worry if you have a bad lesson leading up to your test
I have seen a lot of people get worried when they have had a bad lesson in the lead up to their test. This can lead them to panic and think about moving their test back. However, in most cases, having a bad lesson isn’t because you aren’t at test standard, as your instructor shouldn’t be taking you for test if they don’t think you are at test standard. There are other reasons that can explain why you had a bad lesson. It could be because of nerves, or it could just have been a bad day at the office. When you have a bad lesson in the lead up to your driving test, the best thing to do is to reflect on why the lesson didn’t go well, think about what you can do better next time, and treat the next lesson as a clean slate. 4 days before my 2nd driving test, I had a terrible private practice session, and I was making mistake after mistake. I reflected on it and came to the conclusion that it was because I wasn’t focusing on getting the basics right, such as following the MSPSL routine on approach to a roundabout. I was able to fix this in and pass my driving test.
4 thoughts on “Part 4: My driving journey – My experiences of preparing for the driving test”
Another nicely written blog Niraj
Pre-test jitters is a very common thing. Overthinking and self-doubt can take over as test days draw nearer. My job then becomes more of a mental coaching type of role. Sometimes it works, but sometimes I can only do so much.
Yeah it must be hard, as an instructor you can’t control what happens in the car on the day of the test, you can only do so much
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