About the Driving Test

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) driving test for car drivers is about 40 minutes long. During this time the examiner will try to ensure that you cover a wide variety of different road conditions. From quiet low speed roads to busy high-speed roads and town or city centre driving. You will also be required to undertake several set manoeuvres. The examiner may require you to undertake two of the following manoeuvres and optionally the emergency stop:

  • Reverse parking behind a parked car or into a parking bay.
  • Reversing round a corner to either the left or right.
  • Turn in the road.

During the test the examiner will tell you in good time which way to go. If you go the wrong way do not panic the examiner is testing your ability to drive not your ability to follow directions. It is better to go the wrong way correctly than to go the right way incorrectly.

If at any time you are unsure what the examiner requires do not hesitate to check what he or she wants; the examiner appreciates that you may be nervous and will be happy to repeat or clarify any instructions given.

Booking the driving test

You can obtain a driving test application form (DL26) from your driving instructor, any driving or theory test centre or by telephoning the driving test enquiry line on 0870 0101 372, between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday. Welsh speakers can also book on 0870 0100 372. If you are deaf and need a minicom machine telephone 0870 0106 372. If you are able to pay by credit or debit card you can book a driving test appointment direct on the same numbers without the need to complete an application form. You will however, need to quote your driver number from your provisional driving licence, your theory test pass certificate number your instructor ADI number or business ID number. Upon booking you will be given a booking number and sent an appointment letter as confirmation within a few days.

Cancelling a test

You are required to give a minimum of ten clear working days notice of your decision to cancel or postpone your test; otherwise you will lose your test fee. If you are unwell on the day of the test and can get a doctor to verify this, the DSA will refund the test fee.

Special requirements

The DSA are required to make every effort to ensure that all candidates can take the driving test. However, it is important that you discuss your needs with them when booking the test.

If you cannot speak English or are deaf you are allowed to bring an interpreter with you who must be at least 16 years of age and cannot be a driving instructor.

If you are disabled you will receive the same test, however, more time will be allocated so that you can explain the nature of your disability and describe any special adaptations fitted to your vehicle.

At the test centre

You must take the following items with you to the test centre.

1. Your theory test pass certificate!

2. Both parts of your signed photocard driving licence or your signed driving licence and your passport.

It is extremely important that you arrive in good time at the test centre so that the above documents can be checked. If you arrive after the start time you will not be allowed to sit the test and you will lose your test fee.

Your test vehicle

The vehicle you intend to drive must be legally roadworthy, have a current MOT certificate if over the prescribed age and be fully covered by insurance for its present use and for you to drive. The driver will be asked to sign a declaration that the cars insurance is in order. The test will not be conducted if you are unwilling to do this. Hire cars are unlikely to be insured for driving test purposes.

Your test vehicle must also display a valid tax disc and L-plates or alternatively D-plates in Wales to the front and the rear. Your vehicle must also have a properly fitted head restraint and a fully functioning seat belt fitted to the front passenger seat, and an additional interior rear-view mirror for suitable use by the examiner. If you overlook any of the above your test will be cancelled and you will lose your fee.

Saturday and evening tests

Some test centres operate Saturday tests and in summer, when it is light, evening test at an extra cost.

The marking system

While you are driving the examiner will note any driving faults on the driving test report form (DL25). The driving faults are categorised into minor, serious and dangerous and are recorded against the appropriate headings shown below. Each fault is denoted by a slash ‘/’ in the appropriate box. At the end of the test the examiner will total up the number of minor driving faults under each heading and overall. If you commit 16 or more minor driving faults you will unfortunately fail the driving test. If you commit one or more serious or dangerous driving faults you will also fail the test. Even if you feel you have failed the test you should continue to try, as the test will help you to identify where you need more practice.

Driving Test Report