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Before a practical driving test can be taken, you must have passed the DVSA Theory Test.

The DVSA practical test currently costs £62.00 (£75.00 for evenings, weekends and bank holidays), and generally lasts around 40 minutes.

The extended test for disqualified drivers currently costs £124.00 (£150.00 for evenings, weekends and bank holidays), and generally lasts around 70 minutes.

Please note that both theory and practical driving tests are available in English and Welsh only.

These changes have been made to improve road safety, reduce driving test fraud, and improve social cohesion.

On arrival at the test centre, your assigned examiner will enter the waiting room and call out your name. At this point you will be required to produce the following documentation:

  • Valid theory test pass certificate;
  • Photo-card driving licence;*

Should you be a holder of an old-style paper licence, this must be produced along with a valid Passport; this is the only form of photographic identification accepted in the absence of a photo card.

*Please note that failure to provide the required documents may result in the examiner refusing to allow the test to go ahead and you may also lose the test fee.

You will also be required to sign the DL25 test marking sheet in order to confirm that the test vehicle is both suitably insured for use during the test and also fit for test purposes.

The examiner will also ask if you would like someone; either your instructor or a friend (must be 16 years of age or above), to accompany you. This is encouraged by the DVSA, however the decision to do so is entirely a personal one.

Also, you may find that the examiner’s supervisor accompanies you on test too.

*Please be aware that should this be the case, their presence will be mandatory. If you decide not to allow the examiners supervisor to attend, the test may not go ahead and you also risk losing the test fee. It is important to assure you that their presence is solely to assess the performance of the examiner, not yours. The supervisor will have absolutely no influence on either how your test is conducted or the end result.

Following this you will be asked to lead the way to your vehicle, at which point the examiner will carry out a test of your eyesight whereby you will be required to read a vehicle number plate from either 20 metres (for vehicles displaying new style number plates) or 20.5 metres (for vehicles displaying an older style number plate). On successful completion you will be then given two safety questions known as “Show me, Tell me, whereby you will be asked to demonstrate one safety check and explain another.

*Please note that should you be unable to satisfy the requirements of the eyesight test, the actual driving test will not take place and your licence will be revoked.

General Driving

The test is designed to be an overall assessment of your ability to safely control the vehicle in various traffic and road conditions, whilst showing evidence, through your driving, a core understanding of the Highway Code.

For a large part of the test, the examiner will direct you around a route suitable for purpose; these instructions will be given in a similar manner to those given during your lessons and should be followed accordingly.

There is also a possibility that you may be asked to carry out an Emergency Stop. This is conducted at random (around 1 in 3 tests).

Independent Driving Phase

You will also be assessed on your ability to independently make decisions, whilst safely making progress and maintaining full control of the vehicle. You will be required to either follow written/illustrated directions, road/traffic signs to a destination or possibly a combination of both of these. This phase of the test will last approximately 10 minutes. Please note that the Independent Drive phase is not designed to be a test of your navigational skills.

Reversing Phase

You will be required to complete one reversing manoeuvre from the list below:

  • Turn in the Road;
  • Reverse around a Corner;
  • Reverse Park - this could be in the form of Parallel Park or Bay Park;

The Marking System

Faults recorded during the test are categorised as follows:

  • Driving fault

    - A fault that is deemed to be of a minor or less serious nature given the circumstances surrounding it at the time. No potential or actual risk to either yourself or another road user. A single driving fault is not deemed severe enough on its own for you to fail the test.

  • Serious fault

    - A fault that is deemed more severe in nature given the circumstances at the time. These faults involve potential danger and possible risk to the safety and wellbeing of either yourself or another road user. Even if this is the only fault recorded on the DL25 test marking sheet, it is deemed severe enough on its own for you to fail the test.

  • Dangerous fault

    - A fault that involves actual danger to the safety and wellbeing of either yourself and / or another road user; whereby evasive action has to be taken by either the driving test examiner or another road user. Even if this is the only fault recorded on the DL25 test marking sheet, it is deemed severe enough on its own for you to fail the test.

Ultimately, your test will be deemed successful if you make -

  • 15 or less driving faults;
  • No serious or dangerous faults;

On completion of the test the examiner will tell you if you have been successful or not, followed by a de-brief & assessment of your performance. You will also be given a copy of the DL25 test marking sheet for your records.

To book your practical driving test, use the Official DVSA Online Service.

Prospective Changes To The Car Driving Test

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency wants to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on Great Britain’s roads by making sure newly-qualified drivers are better prepared for driving on modern roads.

To do this, the driving test needs to better assess the candidate’s ability to drive independently in modern driving conditions. The changes are to:

  • increase the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes;
  • ask candidates to follow directions from a sat nav during the ‘independent driving’ part;
  • replace the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more real-life scenarios, e.g. driving into and reversing out of a parking bay;
  • ask 1 of the 2 vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions) while the candidate is driving, e.g. asking them to use the rear heated screen;
  • A consultation, which seeks views on changes to improve the car driving test in Great Britain, closed at 11.45pm on 25 August 2016. The findings from this consultation are yet to be released.


    Factual information contained within this page is, to date of posting, correct to the best of my knowledge.  No liability is accepted for errors or omissions.

    *Please note that in the interests of both safety and law, I am unable to answer calls or respond to messages whilst conducting driver training sessions. Should your enquiry not be answered swiftly, please leave your name and a brief message (for private numbers, please leave a contact number within your voice message also) and I will contact you at my earliest possible opportunity; your enquiry is extremely important to me. Calling or texting is generally the preferred method of contact as I am able to respond to your enquiry more quickly and efficiently.

    An answer phone messaging service is available at all times (24 hours’).

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      - Charlie Cook, Houghton-le-Spring

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