Since 1935, around 46 million driving tests have been taken, according to Gov.uk. Many first timers fail due to excessive nerves or lack of preparation, with driving test anxiety known to strike even the calmest of students. The current first time pass rate is at around 46%, meaning that there is a likelihood that drivers may not pass the first time, so if you’re a first-time test taker there is no reason to panic.
If you suffer from driving test anxiety, or are looking for help preparing for your driving test, then you’re already doing the right thing by reading this blog! Preparing for your test will ensure that you have a calm and steady mindset on the day. We have compiled our best tips for helping to avoid driving test anxiety:
Use an instructor
Many driving test failures have been marked down to the candidate having taken lessons from a relative instead of a qualified instructor. Test (and traffic) conditions have advanced over the years, and it is important you are trained by someone who is up-to-date with all of the current regulations. On average, learners who pass are found to have had around 47 hours of lessons and 20 hours of practice. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suggest around 45 hours of lessons, and 22 hours of private practice.
Practice, practice, practice
Don’t just practice the test route. Most instructors will know the approximate test route for your area and will run through this with you but, make sure that you are also prepared for the unexpected; both in your test and afterwards. Practice driving unfamiliar routes so that you are confident long after passing your test. Also, check our top 5 reasons for failing your test to ensure you’re on the ball.
Nerves can often make even the sturdiest of stomachs turn. It’s important to ensure you have enough mental energy to concentrate, so we recommend eating a snack before your test (a full meal may make you feel sluggish). Bananas are the go-to recommendation for driving experts as they are high in B-vitamins and potassium, making them good fuel without stressing your body.
Cut the caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant and is likely to increase your anxiety. Ensure you get a full night’s sleep instead of relying on caffeine.
Don’t tell the world
You don’t need to tell anyone your test date. The pressure of ‘everyone knowing’ if you’ve failed or not can be too much for some. Instead, keep your test date to yourself and just share the good news when it happens.
Pack your bag
A surprising number of test takers don’t even get to begin their test because they don’t have the relevant documents. Ensure you have your paper theory pass certificate, valid provisional photo ID. Note that if you are not driving an instructor’s car, there may be other documents you need to take. Check the ‘using your own car’ section of the government site.
Don’t expect to chat
Many test takers are put off when they find themselves confronted by a relatively stony faced or unresponsive examiner. It’s key to remember that it is their job to take your test seriously and keep their eyes on the road.
Breathe and laugh
Many find that their anxiety (whatever the cause) can be lessened by working on their breathing. Laughter is also proven to relax your mind, whether real or fake. Why not keep in mind that, in Japan, you can fail your test if you don’t bend down enough to check beneath your car for concealed cats!
Remember that anxiety is normal and you are not alone. It’s easy to overwork the problem in your head, but just remember that a fail is not the end of the world! Just focus on being the best driver you can be.
(Please note that if you do suffer from medically diagnosed anxiety it is important to alert the DVLA.)