Your test day is looming and you’re nearly ready to trade your green licence for your pink but there’s one question you have to ask yourself- should I take my driving instructor on my test? Well, some people will swear by having your instructor with you on your test day while others disagree and advise against it. If you decide you want to have your instructor with you, they have to sit in the back of the car and remain silent throughout your test. If you don’t want your instructor, they wait at the test centre for your return - but which one is best to go for? We’ve weighed up the pros and cons of taking your instructor to try and help you decide!
You’ve probably heard this one a lot. A very nervous person may want their instructor in the car for the reassurance. Lots of people find it daunting to have a complete stranger observing them so having a friendly face reassures them, and besides - who doesn’t like having someone familiar around for moral support when they need it?
Jogging your memory
Although your instructor must remain silent and make no contact with you, some people find their presence jogs their memory - weird right! I've been speaking to a few of my friends who decided to have their instructor with them on their test, and they swore that they remembered certain things like checking their mirrors and blind spots during their test, just from knowing their instructor is there!
At the end of your test, your examiner will provide you feedback and let you know if you've passed or failed - your instructor can give you their opinion, too! What's more, if you fail your test, your instructor will know what didn’t go so well for themselves and have a starting place for you to help you continue to practice before taking the test again. You can talk through all parts of the test and get their feedback about your performance.
On the flip side of moral support, some people can be even more nervous having their instructor in the car. Many people don’t want to let their instructor down, therefore they’re more likely to mess up with them in the back seat. The last thing you want to do is feel like you’re letting your instructor down, especially in the middle of your test!
Another pair of eyes
Lots of people feel a lot of pressure if their instructor is in the back seat- its another pair of eyes watching them! Many people feel more anxious knowing their driving skills are being watched by 2 people- resulting in more pressure! That’s the last thing you want on your test day!
Most learners will have been taught to drive without having someone in the back seat. They don't often pop up on your driving lessons and aren't around for private practice much either unless your siblings insist on coming along so they can laugh at your driving (we've all been there), so it goes without saying that it could be a bit distracting. So what some see as reassurance, other's see as added pressure - not what you want on test day!
What do I do?
At the end of the day, its personal preference. If you think you will benefit more from having your instructor in the car to help steady your nerves, go and ace your test. However, if you would rather just 1 person observe you, leave your instructor at the test centre- they’ll have time for a coffee break!
We spoke to a few former learners, now new drivers about their test experience - one of which had their instructor in the car and another didn't was like
Josh said: "I took my instructor with me on my first test, but I wasn't really that fussed about having her there - I kind of just agreed to it. Throughout the test, I actually forgot she was there, I was too busy concentrating on driving. Unfortunately, I didn't pass that test but it helped when it came to going back to my lessons. My instructor saw first hand what the issues were with my test, so we knew what to work on. On my second test, I decided to give the test a go without my instructor in the back. There wasn't really a reason for it, only to see if having her there maybe did put me off, without me realising. Luckily, I passed this time! I don't really think having her there was the deciding factor, I just think we practised well enough for me to get through the test second time around - I honestly didn't feel any different with her being in the car"
Missy said: "I felt like having my instructor in the car with me would have been a mad mood. I'm eager to impress, so the thought of having another person in the car on the test added a whole load more pressure. I failed the test twice and passed on my third attempt. It may have been different if my instructor was in the car but honestly? I know myself - I would have been way too scared and pressured having him there. It was the best choice for me.
And there we have it - pros, cons and two different sides on the debate. If you're still undecided on whether or not you should have your instructor in the car with you on your test, ask around your friends and family and see what experiences they had, it may help you make your mind up.