For those of you who are soon to take your driving test, I wanted to share my experience with you – as it is a little out of the ordinary. As the title gives away, I didn’t pass the first time and I ended up taking the old style driving test as well as the new one. With the changes being in place for almost a year now – I doubt there are many learner drivers who actually took the old test, but I wanted to reflect on my test attempts let you know which of the driving test formats I actually preferred.
My first attempt
I took my first driving test on 9/11/2017. As I had Marmalade’s New Driver policy, I was able to take the driving test in my own car and because I’d had a lot of practice in it, that’s what I decided to do. I went out on my 1-hour lesson prior to my test and all was going well, even though I was feeling nervous. As soon as we drove into the test centre I had an absolute nightmare trying to park and had to take some time to calm down whilst my instructor parked for me – not a great start!
After calming down, my examiner came over and we started the test. Now, as I mentioned, I failed this go. I got 4 minors, 2 serious and 1 dangerous driving faults – damn! I had issues with parallel parking near a bus stop, driving over a bus lane and almost hitting… you guessed it, a bus! (Is anyone else thinking busses hate me?) I got the result and came to terms with it. I knew I didn’t drive well enough to pass, so I wasn’t shocked.
The second attempt… is changing?
As soon as I got home from failing this test, I wanted to book in for my second attempt. It didn’t click straight away that the change in format of the driving test was less than a month away – enter panic stations! I really wanted to pass my test by Christmas, but the next available date was February 2018 – way after the changes came in! Wait… this means I have to learn all of the new manoeuvres and use a Sat Nav whilst driving?! I wasn’t sure I was ready for this.
I found a handy app where I could check all of the test spaces in my area, and could check to see if I could reschedule my test when others cancelled. Luckily, I found a spot early December and decided to give it a go, but after heavy snowfall the night before – my test was unfortunately cancelled. Back to the handy app, it is!
Luckily, I found another open test on the 22nd of December and booked straight in! I had my fingers crossed for this one because it meant if I passed, I would have achieved my goal of being a full licence holder by Christmas!
I passed – yay! In total, I got 8 minor faults which, whilst it’s more than I would have liked – I was happy with! I’d had very limited practice with the new format to the test and following a Sat Nav, so 8 minors aren’t too bad, right? I even had to perform a new manoeuvre, the forward bay park! This was scary because I hadn’t practised it much, but in the end, I did it quite well, and following a Sat Nav I think helped me to pass.
Which style test is better?
Having practised all the manoeuvres for the old and the new test, I actually preferred the new style and I think the addition of the Sat Nav in the test is great. In the old style test, I never knew what my next instruction would be so this made me panic a lot, but the Sat Nav gave me time to focus and my ahead of time!
Luckily, everyone now gets the new test and learners even get to tackle the motorway now – which is something I wish I could have had when I was learning! My advice for driving tests would be to just keep your cool, which I know is easier said than done. It’s natural to be nervous and your examiner will know that – just don’t let it affect your driving skills.