driving instructors Coventry
driving instructors Coventry
driving instructors Coventry
Patient, Expert Driving Tuition - Coventry Driving Lessons
Covering Coventry & Surrounding Areas

1st Gear Learner Driving School Coventry

Driving Test Tips, Myths & Mistakes

Tips to Help You Pass the Driving Theory Test

Remember that at 1st Gear Learner Driving School Coventry we are here to help on all aspects concerning your driving test so please email or call using the contact details on the' contact us' page and ask your question, we are here to help.

When you have received your provisional driving licence, then next stage is to take the theory test. Many learner drivers struggle to pass the theory test. Listed below are some tips and advice to help you pass. The theory test consists of two sections. Section one is multiple choice questions where the pass mark is 43 out of 50. Section two is the hazard perception part and the pass mark is 44 out of 75. Both the multiple choice and hazard perception sections need to be passed or the the theory test will need to be taken again. To help you understand the theory test more, please see our what to expect on the theory test section.




Test prices can be seen here. They can be booked online. The theory test centre page provides contact numbers and web site links. There is no booking fee if the theory test is booked via the official DirectGov web site. Other web sites may charge you a fee for booking your test. If you wish to cancel your theory test, a minimum of 3 working days notice must be given or else you will lose your fee.


Theory Test - Part 1 - Multiple Choice

1 - Purchase or borrow a theory test and hazard perception DVD and book. You can purchase the official DSA theory test kit from many online stores or good book shops. As well as studying this, take a mock theory test as much as possible. You can take the official practice theory test by going to the DirectGov web site.

2 - When you have studied the theory test kit and have taken several mock tests, make a note of the areas that you find difficult. Spend extra time on these areas until they are stored in your mind.

3 - Before you take the theory test, take around 10 or more driving lessons with qualified driving instructors like those at Cambridge Driving School. This will get you familiar with road markings, road signs and will benefit you significantly on the hazard perception part of the test. Your driving instructor will be able to provide you with lots of help and tips for the theory test.

4 - Some of the multiple choice answers may seem obvious. Read them very carefully however before making your decision to ensure you have chosen the correct answer.

5 - If you have some time left over after completing the test, before you click the end test button, ensure you have completed all 50 questions. It will tell you how many questions have been answered on screen. Using any time you have left, review your answers to ensure you have not made any mistakes.


Theory Test - Part 2 - Hazard Perception

1 - Look out for developing hazards for example a car emerging from a junction, a pedestrian about to cross the road etc. As soon as you spot a potential or developing hazard, click the button on the mouse. There may be many developing hazards per clip so it is acceptable to click the mouse on several occasions per clip. Ensure you only click the mouse when you see a developing hazard as constant clicking through out will fail that particular clip section.

2 - As before, practice using the official DSA theory test kit and taking driving lessons with a qualified driving instructor will help immensely with this section of the theory test.

3 - Types of hazards that you need to keep a look out for are:

  • Pedestrians or cyclists waiting to cross the road
  • Vehicles emerging from side roads or driveways
  • Large vehicles when turning need extra room and may come onto your side of the road
  • If the clip is on a narrow road especially with parked cars be prepared for oncoming vehicles


Being Prepared for Your Driving Test Will Help to Alleviate Your Anxiety


Driving Test Tips


What can you expect on the day of your driving test?

Whether you go for the driving test in your 1st Gear Learner Driving School Coventry driving instructor's car or your own car, the driving test will be conducted in the same way.

1 - First you will be asked for your documents by the driving test examiner - you will need your driving licence (with photo ID if you have an older driving licence) and you will need to present your theory test pass certificate.

2 - Then you will be asked to sign a declaration form stating that the vehicle is insured for your use on the driving test. This should not be a problem if using a car from 1st Gear Learner Driving School Coventryl.

3 - You will be asked to lead the way out to your car. You may ask for your driving instructor to accompany you if you wish.

4 - Before you get into the car, you will be shown a registration number plate to read at about 20.5m (67ft). If you cannot read the number, the correct distance will be measured and you will be asked again. If you still cannot read the number, you will have failed the driving test and you will need your eyesight tested before you re-book your next test.

5 - You will then be asked two "Show me - Tell me" questions. A full list of the possible questions and the correct answers can be found on the "Show me Tell me" link on the left.

6 - On successful completion of the show me tell me questions, the driving test examiner will invite you to make yourself comfortable in the car while he notes down the car's registration number and checks the car's roadworthiness.

7 - Once the driving test examiner gets in the car, he/she will explain the rules of the driving test to you.

8 - Basically, follow the road ahead unless road marking or signs direct you otherwise. If he/she wants you to turn off to the left or right, he/she will give you the direction in plenty of time. If you do not hear or do not understand the direction given, simply ask them to repeat it.

The driving test will last for approximately forty minutes and will include the following:

  • Urban roads and back roads
  • Main roads possibly of a higher speed limit
  • Dual-carriageways up to national speed limit (70mph)
  • Country roads up to national speed limit (60mph)
  • You will only be expected to perform two of the set piece manoeuvres on the test
  • Turn in the road (Three Point Turn)
  • Reversing into a limited opening on the left/right (reversing around a corner)
  • Reverse parking - either in a car park into a parking bay or on the road behind a parked vehicle.
  • There is approximately a one in four chance of having to perform an emergency stop. This is NOT conducted on every driving test.
  • At several points during the driving test, you will be asked to park in a safe place and then simply pull away again. Possibly on a hill or from behind a stationary obstruction.


At the end of the driving test, the driving test examiner will ask you to switch off the engine and will then inform you as to your success or failure.

Regardless of pass or fail, the driving test examiner will ask you if you wish the driving faults to be explained. This is always a good idea, especially if you have not passed, but even if you pass this may still be useful advice.

Taking Your Driving Test in Your Own Car


Although we highly recommend using the services of a professional driving instructor with 1st Gear Learner Driving School Coventry it is not necessary to use a driving school car for your test. If you are planning to use your own or a family member's car, you MUST make sure of the following:

  • The car MUST be roadworthy, and preferably clean inside and out.
  • The car MUST be insured for your use.
  • Seatbelts MUST be properly fitted, front and back.
  • Although dual-controls are not required, you should provide a rear view mirror for the driving test examiner to use. You can get these with suction pads from any car accessory shop.
  • The car MUST be displaying L-plates front and back.
  • Finally, please be sure to fill up with fuel before arriving for the driving test!

What happens if you pass?


When you successfully complete the driving test, you will be given a driving test pass certificate. This will need to be sent, along with your provisional driving licence, to the DVLA who will issue you with a full UK driving licence. The price of a full licence is subject to change, so check with the driving test examiner or your driving instructor.

You CAN drive before your full driving licence arrives, but it is a good idea to make a photocopy of your driving test pass certificate in case you are asked by a Police officer!

What happens if you fail?


If the worst happens you will need to take the driving test again. You must wait a minimum of ten working days before attempting the driving test again. You can, if you need, take the driving test an unlimited number of times before finally passing. Just be aware that your theory test pass certificate expires after two years from the date of issue!

If you were unhappy with the result and feel the driving test was not conducted fairly or properly, you may appeal. Ask your driving instructor at 1st Gear Learner Driving School Coventry for advice on this. In very rare cases a free re-test may be given but the driving test examiners decision is final and will stand.

Make Sure You Know How to Open Your Car Bonnet!

Show Me, Tell Me Test Questions

The Show Me and Tell Me test was introduced for the first time on 1st September 2003.

At the start of the driving test, the examiner will ask the candidate two questions on the checks that should be carried out on their vehicle before beginning a journey (Vehicle Safety Checks).

Candidates will then be asked to show or tell the examiner what they would do. Some of the questions may require the candidate to open the bonnet on the car.

The possible show me tell me questions and answers are listed on the Gov UK website here.

With 1st Gear Learner Driving School Coventry you will be well versed with these procedures and more to make you a safe and capable driver and motor vehicle owner.


Crossing Your Hands Is NOT Marked During Your Driving Test!

Driving Test Myths & Mistakes

Since the driving test has been around there have been many strange and bizarre tales about the driving test and lessons. Here are some of the strange and mythical things that people say and think about the driving test and driving lessons in general.


Can you show me the test route I'll go on?

There is not just one test route. Examiners do not spend all day driving the same route, it's just made up as you go. For 10 minutes of the test you have to plan your own route, the examiner will only tell you roughly which direction to head in and you must find your own way. For example, they may just say "Head towards Bell Green" or "Take the 3rd right, 2nd left and then go to football stadium".

There are a few "routes" that examiners follow or do the same each time just to make it easier but it doesn't mean you'll stick to that route. It wouldn't help to know the routes anyway because a road is never the same twice with different traffic, weather and hazards.

I want an instructor with a high pass rate because then I'm more likely to pass

Pass rates mean nothing for one reason - there is no proof of them. No official records are kept and pass rates are rarely anything more than made up figures to impress people. If an instructor says their pass rate is 80% or 90%, how do you know? Lots of schools claim "The highest pass rates!" or "Excellent pass rates!" but can they prove it? Ask for proof and see!

When a pupil goes on test the examiner writes down the instructors number on their badge and then the result is supposed to build up a pass rate for that instructor. However it's not compulsory for instructors to leave their badge in the car for a test so very often the results aren't recorded. An instructor only has to display their badge when giving paid tuition. Instructors used to get sent their pass rates every January but this hasn't been done since around 2003.

Here's a good example of how confusing pass rates can be. There's a new instructor and their first ever pupil passes on their first attempt. For all future tests the instructor removes their badge from the car so the results never get recorded. They could have 200 fails in a row but they still officially have a 100% pass rate because none of the fails were recorded!

If you look closely into the small print of people who claim 90% or 100% pass rates you will see many falsifications. They often only include the people that went on to pass with them, saying that people who went elsewhere or quit don't count. Of course they do! They also often say 100% pass rate of those that passed, well what about the ones that failed? Many schools base pass rates on how many pupils eventually passed with them. Each pupil could have failed 4 times then passed but they still count that as a 100% rate because the pupil eventually passed.

All this just shows how silly pass rates are, they can be manipulated and made up so easily that they aren't worth anything.

What car do I use for my test? Examiners have cars at the test centre don't they?

Many people think that there are special cars the test. The test centre do not provide cars to take test's in, you do it in your instructors car or your own car. It has been known for people to turn up at test centres without a car, thinking the examiner will let you use their test cars. There aren't any! It's worth pointing out here that it is your responsibility to provide a car for a test, not your instructors. If an instructor wants to refuse the use of their car because you aren't ready then they can. You can book the car you learn in with 1st Gear Driving School Coventry.

Why don't any instructors teach in smart cars?

It's a good question. Smart cars aren't allowed because they only have two seats and DSA rules state there must be room for someone to sit in the back of the car for when we need to be examined or for if an examiner is being checked while conducting a driving test (sometime you have two examiners go on your test with you and one checks the other).1st Gear Driving School Coventry usually have a new Ford Focus.

Learners are exempt from motoring laws so it's ok if you have an accident or drive faster

Being a learner doesn't make any difference in the eyes of the law. It's surprising as to how many learners comment on it being ok if they crash or hit a pedestrian because they think that learners can't be prosecuted. It is totally untrue and you have just as much responsibility and liability as all other drivers on the road.

I'm going down my local test centre to book my test

There is nothing at test centres others than a waiting room with some chairs in. There is no reception, no booking service, no staff. Test centres are just literally rooms with chairs in where examiners meet pupils and instructors sit and wait so please don't go down your local centre because you can't book anything there.

If you cross your hands on the wheel or stall then you fail instantly

No you don't. Crossing your hands isn't marked on a test, it hasn't been for decades. So long as you are comfortable and remain in control of the steering at all times then it does not matter if you cross your hands when steering? A quote from an assistant chief driving examiner is as follows: "Learners can steer the car using whatever method they're most comfortable with. We always used to recommend the 'push-pull' method, but it was never essential. We're more concerned about the outcome than the method a learner uses to steer the vehicle".

Stalling is not a problem so long as you don't stall when pulling out on to a major junction or stall repeatedly. Of course by the time you go for a test you shouldn't be stalling at all but driving test nerves can often cause problems like this.

My friend passed after 3 lessons

Even if you get a pupil who is a complete natural and does everything well first time then it will take at least 20 hours to teach them. There is so much to learn and so much to cover that there is no way anyone ever passes these days after just 3 or 4 hours of driving. Many years ago maybe in the 60's and 70's this may have been true but the test was not as comprehensive then as it is nowadays.

The examiners are all mean old men who don't speak and want you to fail

Examiners are just human like the rest of us. They have good days and bad days but they're generally nice people. The test isn't done in complete silence either, the examiner may often ask you things about yourself or your job to put you at ease. Many people are often surprised at just how nice the examiner was on their test. They aren't all men, women do the job too and examiners ages range from 21 upwards and well into their 60's.

The test can be cut short by the examiner

This one is true, if you are driving too dangerously then the examiner has to pull you over and stop the test. This is known in the trade as a "walk back" because the examiner is not insured to drive the car and has to walk back to the test centre, even if they are miles away. This very rarely ever happens but it has been known. It will not make you popular because instructors then have to walk to wherever you are and cancel lessons if they're late, examiners also have to cancel tests because of it.

If I book the test then my instructor has to take me because I've paid for it

It is the responsibility of the person who books the test to provide a car, nobody else's. If an instructor refuses the use of their car for a test because you aren't ready, you booked it without telling them or for some other reason, then you are not entitled to a refund and we do not have to take you to the test. Your test may cost £62 or more but our cars cost £15,000+ . You can't just turn up and have a go just for the sake of it or a trial run. We will assess you and let you know when we feel you have a very good chance of passing the stringent requirements set by the DSA.

It's good to drive as slow as you can to show you're being careful

Driving too slowly and being too hesitant is the official number 1 reason that people fail tests. Driving slowly gives the impression that you don't know what you're doing and can't handle the car. You don't want to speed and be reckless but driving slowly will only result in you failing. You should drive as you normally do on lessons according to the road conditions at the time, don't change anything. If you are constantly stopping at give way lines and letting everyone else go first all the time then it can be dangerous and annoying to other road users.

They're putting the minimum age of driving up to 18 or 21 soon

This is a popular rumour that does the rounds every year at colleges and universities. It's not true and there are currently no plans at all to increase the minimum age of learners. It's often started by big schools that feed out false information to panic people into booking lessons before the age goes up.

You have to do the test on your own

This isn't true, you can take your instructor with you if you like. We're always happy to sit in the back if you want us to and sometimes this can make the test seem a lot less daunting. As from April 5th 2010 the examiners will always ask you if you'd like your instructor to join you on the test.


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