Part One ADI Theory test

Sitting the Part One ADI Theory test


In this blog I’ll tell you about my experience of taking the theory test and my help tips to get the most out of your time.

But first I want to address the problem associated with setting aside time to study.

I recently received a message from Rob who’s studying for his part one ADI theory test.

Rob asked: “Any advise about the best way to study? I set aside a full day during week to study, but I didn’t get anything done.

Last week my study day didn’t go as planned. I started off by taking the kids to school because the wife was working. Then I did the weekly shop, followed by running a few errands. By the time I got round to study most of the day had gone, so I didn’t bother starting”.

Well Rob that’s the same for most busy people, because life gets in the way.

Allocating a full day to study is an ambitious plan. I prefer to break study down in to smaller chunks of time. I’ve found the ideal time for me is 90 minutes sessions, 3 to 4 times a week.

90 minutes is enough time to make headway, but not too long that it impacts on my day, or effects my concentration.



Back to the theory test:

Lesson number one: Don’t park in a restricted area that gives you a maximum of 2 hours waiting, otherwise you could walk out to a ticket.

When you arrive at the test center you’ll be asked for you’re driving licence, and given a key to a safety deposit box. You’ll be asked to put your jacket, phone and any other possessions you might have in your pockets, into the box.

Next your given a declaration to read before signing to say you agree with the rules.

Finally you’re asked to show that your pockets are empty for the camera., before taking a seat and waiting to be called through to your booth.

When your allocated a booth, you’ll be given the option to practice using the system, this doesn’t use up any of your theory test time so it’s worth taking a few minutes to get yourself focused, and get used to the set up.

When your ready select start the test. Keep an eye on the time which is at the top right of the screen, and the question number on the bottom right.

Read every question carefully before answering. Many answers are similar, and can be confusing, so reading them a few times might help you spot the correct answer easier. If in doubt mark the question so that you can return to it later, then your not wasting time or focus by stressing over the answer.

Once you’ve completed 100 questions, go back to those you highlighted and with the time remaining do your best to answer them correctly. Don’t leave any questions unanswered. Even a guess gives you more chance of getting it correct than not answering it at all.

Once you finish the questions you’ll be offered a 3 minute break before starting the hazard perception part of the test.

During this part of the test avoid repetitive clicking, but just a one click strategy might result in you clicking too early and you’ll score nothing. My tip is click every time you see a hazard, and click several more times when you know it’s turning into a potential danger. This increases your chance of getting in the scoring zone with a high score.

Once you’ve finished head back to the reception where you’ll be given your score. Before you leave the center don’t forget your possessions from the locker.

If you’ve been successful and passed, you can book your ADI part two practical driving test. click here


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The ADI part one theory

The ADI part one theory


The big time drainer.

Starting a new career involves building new knowledge, experience and learning new skills.


ADI part one theory


The first step to becoming a driving instructor is learning the theory which is the first of the three parts required to become an Approved Driving Instructor with the DVSA.

This is a big time drainer, and in my experience can put many people off continuing through to qualification.

Those that do stick by and complete the theory can take a good 6 months or more before actually sitting the test.

It’s always been a goal of mine to discover why it takes so long, so I started the part one training for myself and sat the actual ADI part one exam.

What I found during my training has helped me understand why people fail to go beyond the first exam, and why others take too long to prepare.

First it’s worth mentioning that some training schools don’t include theory preparation in their training course. Instead at best they give you a list of the DVSA recommended reading material, and ask you to contact them after you’ve passed the part one test.

Others, ours included give you a complete step by step training manual, which guides you through reading relevant chapters from the supplied books and then testing you on your knowledge with multiple choice questions.

I started by following our own system, but I found the problem for me was the system was time draining, and could be slightly confusing because the course involves reading a few pages from multiple books at the same time.

Now if you’re not a good reader, that can hold you back.

I find it’s easier to read one book, before starting another because it takes me ages to get into a book. So jumping in and out of different books doesn’t particularly help me digest the information.

Anyway, I’d already set myself a brave time goal for re-educating myself for the part one test, and allocated 15 hours to research & study before sitting the exam for real.

For those of you that don’t know me, I trained to be a driving instructor 27 years ago. I qualified in 1989, worked for a few franchised driving schools before setting up my own driving school in 1991.


In 1995 I started a new business which was not in the driver training industry, and swapped my skills as a driving instructor for those of a business owner.

Driving sales, managing people and organising business is a mile away from sitting in a car teaching a student the skill of safe driving for life.

So I feel I’m in a good position to comment on the ADI part one theory, and in doing so find an alternative to the existing recommended study preparation methods.

Now, my first hurdle was finding time to study. I had already decided to put a few hours a side two nights a week, but I found that life has a habit of getting in the way. But in reality that’s merely an excuse for bad planning and lack of commitment which effects most people.

I started by following a recommended part one study guide, but it became too time consuming. And so I tried various other options from reading an entire book, to simply practicing on one of the many theory practice sites on the internet. But I found I wasn’t taking in the information with either option.

So, I looked for an alternative method to study, and with just 10 hours available I followed this system.

The part one test is in four banding, so I studied one band at a time. In each band I practiced multiple choice questions, marking questions I was sure i knew, followed by those I wasn’t certain about, and finally the questions I clearly didn’t know the answer to.

I could then go and read the book that gave the most information about the subject (band) i was working in, and if i needed more information I would find it in another book.

I would then re-visit the questions and see how much my knowledge had improved. This method helped me find the knowledge I lacked and helped me retain the information learnt.

My confidence grew and I started to get into the research, which was something that I didn’t get from simply reading, or practicing on the internet.

The Hazard Perception part of the test

I left a few hours to study the hazard perception part of the part one test, and I’ll explain how I dealt with that in the  next post. I’ll also share my results from the actual test with you…