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Taking the old and the new style driving test

Hayley Round profile

Hayley Round

November 30, 2018

Driving test 5 min read

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!

The result?

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.

Hayley Round profile

By Hayley Round

'I love driving because it gives me freedom to go to new places. Passing my test December 2017 was a huge a milestone and helps a lot with my job and constant changing hours of work!'  See more posts by Hayley

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