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What are the Best Ways to Prepare for your Driving Test?

driving test preparation

31 March 2022.  Kev & Tracey Field

Learning to drive can be scary and it might seem complicated at first. But with plenty of practice, you will pass your test and become a pro driver in no time! 

We recently created a mini-series on our podcast to help all of you learner drivers out there prepare for your upcoming driving test. Make sure to listen to the series after reading this article (links at the end), as we provide lots of additional information in the podcast episodes! 

Preparation One Month Before Your Driving Test 

Let’s start with talking about the preparation that you begin one month before your driving test. We’re going to give you some top tips to start preparing when your test is coming up within the next month or two. 

Identify your Strengths and Weaknesses

The first thing that you should do is identify your strengths and weaknesses. What are you doing well and what could be improved when it comes to your driving abilities? Are there areas that you need to practice a lot more before your test? 

 You can use our FREE Confident Drivers coaching wheel and other visual aids such as mind mapping to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Some of you might prefer to complete a reflective log, depending on your preferences. 

driving parking sensors

Practice with Mock Tests

Another important thing to do when your driving test is fast approaching is to plan a mock test which is one of the recommendations made by the DVSA in their Ready to Pass Campaign

Your mock test doesn’t need to be a full 40-minute test. A shorter 20-minute test can be enough to give you practice for the real thing. The aim of a mock test is to experience a test situation when you will be expected to drive independently, making your own driving decisions without prompts. Practice tests will help you to feel more confident behind the wheel and you can work on improving upon your weaknesses. 

Driving Independently

During your driving test, the examiner won’t help or prompt you in the same way as your driving instructor might. The examiner will expect you to demonstrate you can drive independently as this is what you will have to do once you have passed your driving test. In other words, they want to know that you are confident and competent behind the wheel and that you can drive safely on your own. 

A great way to increase your driving independence is to continue revising your theory. Memorise road markings and other important driving rules and regulations so that you know exactly how to act in certain situations and scenarios. 

 Listen to episode 25 of our podcast for more information about driving independently. 

driving confidence mind movies

Create Mind Movies

One of the best techniques for many learner drivers is the process of creating mind movies. 

This is a type of imagery technique that involves replaying something that went well during driving lessons, inside your head to remind yourself of it and keep yourself thinking positively. It’s a great way to boost your confidence and calm your nerves as your driving test approaches. 

Preparation One Week Before Your Driving Test

So, your driving test is looming and you’ve got just seven days to prepare for success.

Firstly, consider the things that you’re going to need on the test day itself. You’ll need to take your provisional driving license with you and your certificates showing that you have passed your theory test. Get these things ready so that you don’t forget them on the day.  According to the DVSA more than 1100 tests a month are cancelled due to people either forgetting their documents, turning up late, or at the wrong place!

Learn about what happens on the day of the driving test

Get familiar with what happens during a driving test so that you are aware of the whole process before you arrive. What happens when you first get to the test centre? What happens during the test? Where does the test begin and end? 

A lot of the time, it is the fear of the unknown that makes people nervous for their driving test. Asking yourself all of the above questions will reduce apprehension and make you feel more relaxed on the day of your examination.  

Next, identify what aspects of the driving test are making you feel the most nervous so that you can learn more about each of these things to reduce your nerves. You can then create an action plan to overcome your fears and improve on your weaknesses. Again, our FREE Confident Drivers Coaching Wheel can help you with this. 

Driving Independently and Practice as much as possible

By the time your driving test for just one week away, you should definitely be driving independently. You should be able to act quickly in unfamiliar and unexpected situations, with minimal input from your driving instructor. 

At this stage, it’s all about practice, practice, practice! Make sure you are practising all the different manoeuvres and techniques that you could be tested on during your driving examination. 

 Ideally, you should feel confident and competent in every single skill and technique going into the test. Not only will this boost your chances of passing the first time but it will also reduce your nerves and fears. 

Stay Calm using Breathing techniques

It’s natural to feel a little nervous before your driving test but there are things that you can do to calm your nerves as the day of your test approaches. 

Breathing techniques are great to lower your heart rate and prevent you from feeling panicked or overwhelmed. Get used to practising different breathing techniques in the days leading up to your examination so that you know exactly how to calm yourself down on the day of the test. 

Find out more about how breathing helps calm driving nerves in our blog and listen to episode 11 of our podcast.

breathing exercises for driving nerves

Put Yourself in the Passenger Seat

Perspective is an important thing. By sitting in the passenger seat, you can begin to imagine what it’s like to be the examiner during your driving test. This is a great way to identify exactly what the examiner is going to be looking for as you are driving around the roads.  

Remember that the examiner is with you, not against you. Your examiner is rooting for you to pass your test. 

Preparation One Day Before Your Driving Test

So, the day is almost here! Your driving test is just around the corner and that means that you’ll need to be doing some last-minute preparation to ensure you pass your test with flying colours. 

 It’s likely that you will wake up feeling nervous but there are things that you can do to calm your nerves as much as possible. Remember those breathing techniques that we mentioned earlier? The day before your driving test is the perfect time to use these breathing techniques. 

Staying calm for your driving test

The driving practice in the lesson before your test gets you comfortable in the car so that you’re 100% ready when you head to the exam centre. When your test finally comes around, replay the mind movies (the ones that we spoke about earlier in the article) in your head to keep yourself calm and collected and to remind yourself of your previous driving successes. 

 Talk yourself through things if you find that it helps to speak things out loud. This is known as commentary driving and many students find it reinforces their actions and makes them feel more confident in their skills and abilities.  Talking yourself through tasks that you find slightly more difficult will help you stay focused on what you need to do, and has the added bonus of keeping any negative thoughts away!  It is absolutely fine to talk yourself through tasks on your driving test.

At the Driving Test Centre

You should always arrive at the test centre at least 10 minutes before your test start time so that you can organise your documentation and this is another opportunity to practice those breathing techniques. Waiting is anxiety-provoking when you’re about to take a driving test so keeping your stress down and your nerves in check is vital. 

Keep an eye on your posture, make sure that you aren't hunched over in a defensive position, as this will reduce your confidence and will compromise your breathing, making your body feel stressed.

Smile

Focus on keeping your eyes up and your shoulders back, and smile!

Smiling is a simple trick that can make you feel more confident even if you don’t actually feel very confident at this moment in time. It tricks your brain into thinking that you’re safe and calm, and it also looks great when you’re smiling at the examiner! 

smiling for driving nerves

Conclusion

So, that concludes our top tips for learner drivers to maximize your chances of driving test success. Whether your test is in a month, day, or a few hours, keep these top tips in mind to stay calm and pass your driving test with flying colours. Before you know it, you’ll have that driving license in your hand! 

 Remember to listen to the mini-series on our podcast for more tips! Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like more advice and register for our free driving test nerves course on our website. 

We hope you have found these thoughts on preparing for your driving test helpful. Please help us by sharing this guide with others.  There is a good chance that if you found it useful, so will they.

Nervous Drivers Calming Kit

If you would like some self-help stress management resources to help you tackle your driving anxiety and improve driving confidence then our calming kit is created by leading industry experts especially for you.  Access to all the resources is online.

Relaxation
relaxation
Coaching
coaching
Hypnotherapy
hypnotherapy
Mindfulness
mindfulness
Self-Talk
positive self talk
Imagery
Imagery

These plans are created specifically for drivers and learner drivers looking for online solutions to manage driving nerves and anxiety.  We also have a range of group plans created for driving instructors who would like to offer support offroad to their learner drivers, you can find more details on our ADI page.

One Month

£27
  • INCLUDED IN YOUR KIT:
  • Video Guide Questions
  • Solution Flowcharts
  • 9 Stress Management Techniques
  • 5 E-learning Courses on:
  • Stress Management,
  • Driving Confidence,
  • Driving Test Preparation,
  • Driving Test Nerves,
  • Attention and Memory
  • Created by industry experts
  • 1 Month Immediate Access
  • Renew or Upgrade to coaching at anytime

Three Month

£57
  • INCLUDED IN YOUR KIT:
  • Video Guide Questions
  • Solution Flowcharts
  • 9 Stress Management Techniques
  • 5 E-learning Courses on:
  • Stress Management,
  • Driving Confidence,
  • Driving Test Preparation,
  • Driving Test Nerves,
  • Attention and Memory
  • Created by industry experts
  • 3 Month Immediate Access
  • Renew or Upgrade to coaching at anytime

Annual

£97
  • INCLUDED IN YOUR KIT:
  • Video Guide Questions
  • Solution Flowcharts
  • 9 Stress Management Techniques
  • 5 E-learning Courses on:
  • Stress Management,
  • Driving Confidence,
  • Driving Test Preparation,
  • Driving Test Nerves,
  • Attention and Memory
  • Created by industry experts
  • 12 Month Immediate Access
  • Upgrade to coaching at anytime

Driving Confidence Coaching

  • Range of Coaching plans to choose from:
  • 30 min or 60 min coaching sessions
  • Driving Anxiety report
  • Access to Nervous Drivers Calming Kit
  • Drive Calm® e-journal
  • Personalised for your situation
  • Video or Audio Zoom calls
  • VIP In-Person coaching and driving

Sign up for our FREE tool to help you become a more confident driver

If you have a driving test coming up soon you might find our Ultimate Guide to Driving Test Nerves useful.

What others are saying

Read more of our reviews from happy learner drivers on Trustpilot

It's great to have a website offering fantastic techniques to assist with the challenges of driving. The website recognises the fact that learning to drive can be stressful and there are strategies to help with this. The website's name, 'CONFIDENT Drivers' is what a learner is aspiring to be, so it's very positive. The techniques also apply to building general confidence in all walks of life, so useful again. Thank you!

I was so pleased when my instructor signed me up for Confident Driver. I loved the hypnosis sessions & I recently passed first time with one fault. Recommend 100%

Confident drivers has been a really useful tool in changing my attitude to the driving test. I hadn't recognised just how much my negative thoughts about my ability rather than my actual driving ability have been holding me back and putting me off. I particularly liked the quick fix section that gives you strategies to calm down just before the test!

The Driving Confidence Podcast

driving confidence podcast

We created this podcast for drivers who want to be calm and confident on the road. Whether you are a learner driver, a new driver or have been driving for years, this podcast will help you to beat driving nerves and anxiety and build your driving confidence.

Co-hosted by Kev & Tracey Field, each Driving Confidence podcast episode offers bite-sized information and ideas that are both relatable and achievable to help you manage your driving nerves or anxiety and transform how you feel about driving.

Listen On:

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Drive Calm Journal A twelve week prompt journal for anxious drivers

Drive Calm Journal : A Twelve week Prompt Journal for Anxious Drivers

  • Do you avoid driving whenever possible?
  • Do you feel like the only person who is anxious about driving?
  • Would you like to drive wherever you want, whenever you want?
  • Are you ready to take action to improve your driving confidence?
Follow the prompts, questions, exercises and reflections each week to create your own goal based action plan to work on your driving mindset.  Created by Kev & Tracey Field to help anxious drivers take action and track their progress over twelve weeks based on our unique Drive Calm® System.  
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