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Helping your child to pass their driving test

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We Are Marmalade

November 10, 2017

Parent advice 7 min read

*Updated 21.12.17*

The driving test has remained almost unchanged since it was legalized in 1935, up until December 2017 – when we saw the biggest changes of all. The theory test has changed multiple times over the years, to keep up to date with technology, as well as introducing new features to further increase safe driving habits.

Here is our guide to what’s changing, and how you can help your son or daughter to pass their driving test.

The Theory Test

The theory test was introduced in 1996, as a written examination. It was then updated to a computerized format in 2000. In 2002, the theory test was changed again, and introduced the hazard perception element. In 2015, hazard perception was updated so it used CGI clips instead of the real-life video clips it had started out with.

Helping your child pass their theory test

orange_line_icon_tickHelping your child prepare for their theory test can be really helpful. The same way in which you helped them with their homework or their exams, encouraging them to learn to pass their theory test is key.

orange_line_icon_tickThink about supplying them with theory test DVDs or apps. Physically seeing and practicing the type of test they will be faced with can help conquer any nerves.

orange_line_icon_tickDon’t think about what you would do, but what they should do. You may have picked up some bad habits when driving, so keep it textbook

The Practical Driving Test

For the first time in a very long time, the practical driving test has changed, and for your son or daughter, it is hard to know what to expect as there is not currently any firsthand experience for them to hear.

The driving test changes are being implemented to reduce the number of road collisions, as it is the biggest killer of young people – accounting for a quarter of all deaths for those aged 15-19. The DVSA wanted to make sure that the training and the driving test itself worked to reduce the number of young people being killed in road collisions.

What changed in December 2017?

  • The independent drive is 20 minutes long instead of 10, taking up around half of the test!
  • The show me/tell me questions and how they are asked changed – we’ve got articles for both the show me and tell me parts of the driving test
  • Reversing manoeuvres have changed. Gone are turn-in-the-road and reversing around a corner, and in are bay parking forwards and reversing, and reversing two car lengths on the right hand side of the road.

The new manoeuvres are seen to be the biggest changes of all, and it is only with practice that your learner driver will perfect them.

Driving test manoeuvres - forward bay parking

Helping your child pass their driving test

Alongside their structured lessons with a driving instructor, the DVSA recommends that learners have 22 hours of private practice in a friend’s or family member’s car.

If you would like your son or daughter to be able to practice in your car, then it is a legal requirement that they are sufficiently insured. You can add them as a named driver to your insurance, or you can get them their own police – either in the form of short term learner insurance, or an annual policy which covers them before and after they pass, to borrow your car for occasional use. If your child has their own bolt-on insurance then your No Claims Bonus won’t be affected should they need to make a claim.

Before you head out with your child to help them with their driving, don’t forget that they must legally be supervised by someone who:

  • Is at least 21-years-old
  • Has held a full driving licence for at least 3 years
  • Is qualified to drive the type of vehicle the learner is driving – E.G a manual transmission

These are the minimum legal requirements, so check your son or daughter’s insurance policy (or yours if they are a named driver) to be sure that you meet the specific requirements that they set.

Top Tips

orange_line_icon_tickKeep your cool! Teenagers – especially your own – can test your patience in many ways, but this is about them and they’re probably very nervous

orange_line_icon_tickTeach them based on what they’re learning in their lessons, not how you drive or what you think they should learn

orange_line_icon_tickBe there to listen to them, especially in those nervous days and weeks leading up to their driving test


We can’t guarantee that these things will result in that coveted pink licence, but hopefully, they will help the process along! Practice, encouragement, study time, and knowing what they’re going through are all really key for you to support your son or daughter as they take their theory and practical driving tests.

Learner Driver Insurance→

Get short term cover on a friend or parent's car as a leaner, to help you get that magic pass!

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By We Are Marmalade

'We champion young drivers with award-winning low cost insurance for learner and new drivers and a great young drivers' car scheme.'  See more posts by We Are

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