Driving test nerves, how can you deal with them!

Driving test nerves, could possibly be one of the biggest reasons why people fail driving tests!


Is there a cure for driving test nerves?

Driving test nerves

Well there’s a lot of advice available online to learner drivers who think they might suffer with driving test nerves, from hypnosis to beta blockers (you must speak to your GP about taking any kind of medication).

But do any of these methods really work?

Some of these methods will have proved successful in helping people pass their driving test, but they may not work for everyone.

Test passes in the UK

Generally, the yearly test pass statistics produced by the DVSA show a national pass rate of between 40 to 50%.

This means that at least half of the candidates taking a driving test each year are unsuccessful.

Looking at the figures, you could assume that a reasonable percentage of those candidates will have failed due to poor preparation, in other words not being at the required standard to pass a driving test at the time of taking it

If you take lessons from a professional driving instructor, and take their advice when to take the test, you should be above the required standard to pass the driving test.

However, the learners who do fail could be those who struggle with nerves on the test, and have made an error which would be out of character.

How can you deal with driving test nerves?

Those pesky nerves stop many people from doing things that they would like to do but just can’t face.

I remember once attending a sales training course. During the first day I was asked to play the character of a car salesperson, and to deal with a customer who had worked in to a car showroom.

The scenario was a role play model that took place in an empty training room, or so I thought.

The trainer finished the brief and said, “I’ll leave you both to role play the scenario and listen from outside the room to avoid distraction”.

Well, that made the exercise a lot easier knowing we were not being watched, so I settled into the role.

I greeted the customer and we started chatting about his desire to buy a new car. Everything was going quite well…

That was until half the wall opened up and at the other side was 50 people sat in a cinema like surrounding watching our performance.

Well I clammed up and struggled to make any sense of what I was saying.

It’s amazing how we can put ourselves under such pressure when you are pushed out of your comfort zone.

It wasn’t the audience that put me under pressure, they were probably sh**ing themselves waiting for their turn, especially now they knew the entire course candidates would be watching.

So, the same applies to learner drivers. On a normal driving lesson, they drive with ease and confidence, but replace the instructor with an examiner in the passenger seat and they act like a chimp trying to control a car.

The examiner isn’t the one putting them under pressure, they’re just doing their job. The candidate put’s them self under pressure!

So why does this happen?

Well I’m no expert, I’ve been in similar situations all my life, and each time i venture out of my comfort zone I act like a chimp.

But it’s the pressure you put yourself under when you are being watched or judged.

I’ve read books on the subject, watched videos and attended seminars, but I still haven’t found any conclusive evidence of one thing that works for the majority of learners.

What I have found interesting, and which might be helpful in reducing driving test nerves is the following techniques.

  1. Visualization: It works by imagining yourself in the future driving your own car. You actually have to believe that you’ve passed your driving test and driving the car you hope to get.

This is something that you’ll need to do on a daily basis, and for long enough so that you can recall that image of you driving without effort.

2. Stop the head chatter: How many times have you had an argument or conversation with someone in your head, that really isn’t real, it’s just you playing out a scenario?

Well many learners see themselves finishing the driving test and hearing the examiner mutter “sorry you’ve been unsuccessful this time”

They reply this image daily in their head as they approach test day, hoping to pass but thinking they will fail.

The problem is they reply the image so many times that their subconscious mind might believe it to be true.

The trick is to stop the head chatter. Every time you find yourself failing the test in your head stop, it and replace it with test success, and the thought of you driving your own car.

3. Don’t let others influence you with their stories: Failing a driving test isn’t cool for some people and those who fail might not actually tell you what really happened!

Their ego prevents them from accepting it’s their fault, so they might blame the examiner, or someone else caused them to fail, or it was a freak incident.

The truth is if you drive well, and don’t get any serious, or dangerous faults you’ve passed, it’s that simple.

So, take guidance from your instructor, take a MOCK driving test to see if you are at the standard required, and focus on the positives not the negatives.



You can read articles from other organisations regarding driving test nerves here

#driving test nerves

Why Learning to Drive at the Age of 17 is Better

It’s quite normal now for the younger generation to learn to drive as soon as they can. It is actually a really good idea. So, if you are 17, or are wanting to get someone driving lessons, here are some reasons why learning to drive when your younger, is easier. It has been found in…

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Driving Test Changes You Need to Know About

If you didn’t know already, the UK driving test is changing from the 4th December 2017 (not a very nice Christmas present, is it?). We are updating you with the most recent changes made by the DVSA. It was released on the 13th September 2017, that there would be revised changes to the ‘Show me’…

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Changes to the Driving Test

Changes to the Driving Test

The driving test is changing with effect from 4 December 2017.


The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed that the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will change from Monday 4 December 2017.

The Driving and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) are changing the test to bring it in line with today’s driving environment.

New drivers need to be better equipped with the skills to cope with the modern traffic and road situations.

There are four main changes to the practical driving test, these are as follows:

  1. The independent driving section is due to increase from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. Independent driving means you have to drive without turn by turn instruction from the examiner.

2. The introduction of driving following directions from a Satellite Navigation system (sat nav) will be included in the independent driving section.

The examiner will supply and set up the sat nav, so test candidate don’t need to worry.

3. The good news is two older manoeuvres reversing around a corner and a turn in the road will no longer be in the test, Instead you will be asked to complete one of three reversing manoeuvres.

A) Parallel park at the side of the road

B) Parking in a bay; either by pulling in and reversing out or reversing in and pulling out. The examiner will decide which one you will be doing based on the route.

C) Pull up on the right hand side of the road and reverse for two car lengths and then rejoin the traffic.

You will also be asked a vehicle safety questions whilst driving, which will be from the “show me tell me questions”.

To read the full DVSA report on the changes click here

The cost of the driving test, length and pass marks will remain the same.

You can watch the official DVSA video on the changes by clicking here


#roadsafety #drivingtestchanges


Learner drivers caught using test stand-ins

L Plate

Learner drivers caught using test stand-ins

Dozens of learner drivers are caught each year using stand-ins to take their test for them, official figures show.

There were 209 convictions from 2012-13 to 2016-17, with more than half dealt with by the Metropolitan Police, Transport Minister Andrew Jones said.

In addition, 111 people were convicted of taking the practical or theory tests on behalf of others over the same time.

A total of about 1.5 million practical and 1.9 million theory tests are taken each year.

Mr Jones said the majority of investigations were conducted by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) until there was enough evidence to support an arrest and prosecution.

DVSA head of counter-fraud and investigations Andy Rice said: “The driving test is there to ensure that all drivers have the skills and knowledge to use the roads safely and responsibly.

“Anyone who tries to circumvent this process is putting innocent road users at risk.”

Driving test fraud was a serious offence and dealt with accordingly, he said.

More than 1,100 licences have been revoked due to such activity in the past five years.

To read the full article click here



Friday 13th hits driving test candidates…

Friday the 13th effects new drivers, and driving test candidates arggggg….


Well it’s the first Friday the 13th of 2017, and we feel we should to spread some love to the new drivers that have had their first driving lesson cancelled. But we’re sending some hugs to those of you who was hoping to gain your full drivers licence today, but in true Friday 13th bad luck the  weather has put a halt to soooo many of this mornings driving tests.

You just can’t prepare for the weather. Last week some people were walking around in tee shirts, this week it’s snow boots.

If it’s your first ever driving lesson that has been cancelled this morning, it should only set you back a few days before your instructor can re-schedule a new one.

But if it was your driving test that was cancelled then I really feel for you. I know how much preparation you have put in to getting to this day, and how the nerves, and excitement might have caused a restless night, only to wake to what would be nice on Christmas morning, but not today, not the day the of your driving test.

If you have been one of the unfortunate people to have your driving test cancelled, don’t despair, the DVSA will get you a new appointment soon.

For the superstitious among you the next and last Friday 13th of 2017 is October, so don’t book your test on that day.






Driving under guidance

Sat Nav’s they’re not perfect…


It’s easy to get a little complacent when driving the same route you’ve driven a hundred times before.

You see when you know where your going you can cope with distractions, from passengers chatting to you, other drivers getting it wrong, and pedestrians walking in your path with no obvious thought for their own safety.


But when you’re driving in the worst traffic, on the busiest road network in the UK, surrounded by people who either know where their going because they travel the same route daily, or like you they haven’t got a clue where they are going, your senses become heightened.

You’re constantly checking your mirrors, looking over your shoulders, keeping an eye on all four corners of your car, reading signs, listening to directions from your sat nav, and checking the directions given when you don’t hear it correctly. It’s exhausting.

Everything’s a distraction, but you’ve got to get in the zone and concentrate on what you’re doing. And because there’s so much happening compared to a usual day you need to be more aware, increase your distance from the car in front, look further head and plan what you’re going to do next. But you’ve also got to inform others of what you’re going to do, and all while following guidance from your sat nav. Phew.

Now sat navs are good but not perfect. They may be hard to hear in busy environments, and leave instruction till the last minute, which might lead to a wrong turn and the system automatically re-calculating your route, which can take a few seconds and take you further off course.

And as frustrating as it might be you’ve got to keep your cool and patience. But you can also help by keeping a good distance from the car ahead, and not be tempted to chase after them.

Now when you’re learning to drive, it’s easy to miss-hear an instruction, causing panic and then it all goes wrong. It’s a big blow for your confidence and generally leads to a bad lesson in the students mind.

But there’s no such thing as a bad lesson if you’ve learnt something, however the method of learning might be.

The DVSA are talking about using Sat nav’s on driving tests during the independent drive section.

So the next time you are on on lesson and you don’t understand an instruction, don’t panic check your mirror, come off the gas (slow down) and ask your instructor to confirm what he is asking you to do. Then you’ll stay in control.

If you’re using a sat nav system, don’t panic continue to follow the road ahead and listen for confirmation or new instruction.

By the way if you’re wondering where in the UK I was talking about at the beginning of this blog, it’s London. One of the busiest cities in the world, and a drivers worst nightmare, especially when in rush hour traffic.


If you’re having a driving lesson this weekend, happy panic free driving… 



#drivinglessons, #mspsl, #driving


Driving test celebrity

Driving test celebrity

What can get your knees knocking more than waiting for the driving examiner to call out your name?


Last nights episode of celebrity was the first week of the challenges. We saw four fearless celebrities invited to take a challenge that would win them 10 stars towards putting food on the table.

Now at this point I must admit I’ve never been a fan of the program, and that’s probably because I haven’t watched much of it in the past. Anyway the challenge for our intrepid foursome was to be locked in an underground vault for ten minutes with thousands of critters (as described by Ant and Dec)..

During the task Ant and Dec constantly reminded our four hero’s that this year they were using more critters than ever before. And for the full ten minutes the two presenters laughed their UGGS off, each time thousands of horrid creepy crawlies were poured into the chamber.

There were rats, cockroaches, huge spiders and a cocktail of some of the nastiest looking insects on the planet. But after 10 minutes of screaming, prying and reviving an old Abba classic, the four emerged from the bleak vault  into the light (still with ants in their pants), to reap their reward.

The moral of today’s story is although you might be dreading your driving test day, you are armed with the skills necessary to pass. You have to keep your focus and remind yourself that millions of people have done what you are going to do before.

And I’ll guarantee you would rather spend 45 minutes in a car with a driving examiner, than 10 minutes in a dark vault with thousands of smelly, slimy, spiky, hairy companions that BITE!!!

Have a great Tuesday…






Have you taken a MOCK driving test

The MOCK Driving Test

It’s scarier than Halloween…

If you’re getting near to, or already have a driving test booked then you should have been advised by your driving instructor that you’ll need a MOCK driving test well before the big day.

Most students are fearful of failing the driving test, like the rest of us would be now if we were asked to take it again.

It’s easier to cope with nerves if you already know what to expect. That’s why MOCK driving tests are an important part of your preparation.

What if you fail the MOCK test? 

A mock test is designed to put you through your paces, and see how well you cope under your own steam, with-out help from your instructor. Exactly like on the actual day.

It’s particularly useful for your instructor too because they get an idea of what you are likely struggle with should you start to crack under pressure.

Once your instructor knows how you will perform under pressure they can focus on getting you properly prepared for the test day so that you shouldn’t let the test day nerves get the better of you.

If you haven’t taken a MOCK test yet ask your instructor when they think you should.

Remember proper preparation leads to better results.

The Driving Test, Why People fail

Top 10 Reasons People Fail The Driving Test as compiled by the DVSA’s driving examiners

Source: DVSA



1. Observations at junctions

Poor observations at junctions is one of the top 10 reasons that people fail a driving test.

You’ll be marked for this fault if you are not taking effective observation before emerging at junctions, and emerging into the path of other vehicles. Always make sure it’s safe before proceeding.


Failed2. Moving off safely

Moving off safely makes it into the DVSA’s top 10.

When you’re moving off from the side of the road, you need to make sure you look around, check your blind spots – and use the correct signal!


Failed3. Use of mirrors

Not using mirrors properly is one of the top 10 reasons people fail.

Remember that you need to use your rear view mirror and door mirrors – and react to the information you receive! People get caught out for pulling up with no mirror checks, increasing their speed with no mirror checks, or using their mirrors too late.


Failed4. Reverse parking

The next reason is reverse parking. In the driving test you’ll either do a parallel park on the road, or reverse into a parking bay at the test centre.

You’ll notch up a fault in this area if you need to reposition to correct a loss of control or accuracy. A complete misjudgement or significant loss of control will count as a serious fault.


Failed5. Response to traffic lights

Giving the right response to traffic lights is something that catches people out.

Some of the mistakes that people make include waiting at a green filter light when it’s safe to proceed and staying at the stop line when it’s safe to move.

Other faults that count include not conforming to a red light, and stopping beyond an advanced stop line in the area designated for cyclists.


Failed6. Steering

Believe it or not, steering makes it into the DVSA’s top 10.

You need to be able to maintain a steady course in normal driving. Things like mounting and dismounting the kerb, and not following the contour of the kerb results in faults in this area.


Failed7. Positioning

Road positioning is really important.

Your vehicle should be positioned correctly for the route you’re taking. If lanes are marked, make sure you’re in the middle of the lane. Avoid straddling lanes.


Failed8. Turning right at junctions

Turning right at junctions makes it onto the list.

When you’re turning right, position your vehicle correctly – it shouldn’t cut the corner when turning right.

Also, watch out for cyclists and motorcyclists, and any pedestrians crossing the road you are turning into


Failed9. Control when moving off

Is this the one everyone dreads doing?

Repeated stalling is one of the things that counts as control when moving off.

Other things that are included in this reason are moving off (or trying to!) with the handbrake on, rolling backwards when trying to move off – and not putting the car in gear and attempting to move off.


Failed10. Response to road markings

And finally… look out for road markings.

You’ll be marked with faults in this area for doing things like unnecessarily crossing the solid white centre lines on the road, and not following directional arrows.

Stopping in a yellow box junction when the exit is not clear also counts for this reason. So make sure you know the rules about using them.


Prepare to pass

It’s normal to be nervous before your test, but if you’re properly prepared and your instructor thinks you’re ready, then there’s really no reason to worry.

Your examiner’s not trying to catch you out; they just want to make sure that you can drive safely.

My advice is ask your instructor for a MOCK test, which will give you valuable experience of how the test will be conducted on the real day. It will also give you a good indication of how close you are to test standard.






If you want to avoid these 10 mistakes book your driving lessons with an Elite driving instructor call the office on: 01482 772301