Our Ultimate Guide to Driving Test Nerves

guide to driving test nerves

Do you need help with driving test nerves? Then our guide can help! 
Get help from leading industry experts Kev and Tracey Field and discover the most effective techniques for banishing driving test nerves forever to become a calm and confident driver

Stress Management Techniques to beat driving test nerves

Relaxation audios
Listening regularly to relaxation audios can help driving test nerves by managing your general stress levels which in turn will influence your stress levels while driving. They will help you pinpoint tense muscles and relax them quickly and easily, help you recognise signs of stress early so that you can avoid them escalating as well as helping you remain focused while driving. A learner drivers subscription to Confident Drivers gives you access to four relaxation audios as well as hints, tips and combinations of techniques. Find out more in our blog about how relaxation can reduce driving test nerves.

Breathing exercises
Practising breathing exercises is one of the quickest and easiest ways to help driving test nerves. Once learnt breathing exercises will become your go-to strategy for calming physical and mental symptoms of nerves and stress. They can be practised before your driving test and even while driving once they have become automatic.  Confident Drivers gives you access to seven different breathing exercises as well as hints, tips and information in our plan to help nervous learner drivers
Find out more in our blog about breathing exercises and driving test nerves.

Hypnotherapy tracks
Hypnotherapy helps driving test nerves by reprogramming your unconscious thoughts and automatic reactions so that you no longer feel stressed about your test and driving. Instead, you will feel calm and confident and focus on your driving instead of any distracting nerves. We have two hypnotherapy audios available with a learner driver subscription to the Confident Drivers website, both created specifically for driving confidence and driving test nerves by hypnotherapist Joline Saunders. You can find out more about Joline and arrange one to one hypnotherapy sessions on her website https://jojohypno.co.uk/

Coaching is an effective way to identify your driving strengths and weaknesses and plan which areas of your driving need developing. Stress and nerves are often a result of a skills gap between what we need to do, and what we feel able to do and coaching can help you fill that gap. Find out more in our blog about stress.

Download your FREE copy of the Confident Drivers Coaching Wheel to help you plan
for your driving test and overcome driving nerves in the request box towards the end of the article.

Positive Self Talk
Are your thoughts and the way you are talking to yourself creating your driving test nerves? Practising positive self-talk tasks and exercises can help you to become your own biggest supporter, reducing nerves and keeping you calm and focused on your driving test. If you would like help to be positive and confident during driving lessons our subscription plan has been developed with learners and driving lesson nerves in mind.  Find out more in our blog about negative thoughts and driving test nerves.

TFT Meridian tapping
Sometimes emotions and feelings about driving or the driving test seem to get stuck. Thought Field Therapy (TFT ) also know as meridian tapping can help you shift emotional blocks, leaving you free to drive without the old unhelpful emotions that you experienced previously. This technique can feel a bit strange initially but once you have learnt the routine it is a quick and effective way to help driving test nerves.

Imagery is one of the most versatile techniques and is used by elite sportspeople all over the world to manage their nerves and achieve their goals. Imagery can be used effectively from your first driving lesson to start preparing you for your test, reducing any driving test nerves at the same time.  The imagery section in our resources guides you through three different ways to use imagery techniques.  Helping you to improve driving confidence, mentally rehearse driving manoeuvres and visualise passing your driving test.

The Confident Drivers six-week mindfulness course available with your subscription can help you become more aware of your thinking habits, improve your focus and concentration and stay in the present moment rather than worrying about what 'might' happen. Find out more about how mindfulness can help driving test nerves in our blog.

Learn more about Stress
Learn more about what triggers stress, nerves and anxiety and why we respond in the way that we do. Understanding how stress impacts the way you feel about driving helps you to gain perspective and start learning solutions to manage your feelings and emotions.  A subscription to Confident Drivers gives you access to e-learning courses about stress, attention, memory and motivation.

Are you ready for your driving test?
Do you feel ready to drive independently without your driving instructor by your side? 
Do you know what you could be assessed on during your driving test? 
And have you safely and efficiently carried out all of those driving tasks in your lessons? 

If you do not feel ready then this is likely to be the main source of your driving test nerves. 

If this sounds like you then you may need some more practice. 
Why not download our free driving test coaching wheel (link above) to identify which driving competencies you need to improve so that you have a plan in place to pass your driving test. 
You can also check the top ten reasons for driving test fails published by the DVSA. If you are confident in all ten areas then you are in a great position to take your test free of driving test nerves.

Preparation before the day to reduce driving test nerves

best time for test

Booking the best time of the day for your test

There is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to the best time of day to take your driving test. 
To work out which might be the best time of day for you consider: 
Are you a morning person? 
What time of the day are you at your best? 
Will you spend the day worrying and increasing nerves if your test is late in the day? 
What time of the day do you normally have your lessons? 
Where possible make sure you have driven before at the same time as your test - trying something new on your test will just add to driving test nerves!

word test makes you feel nervous

Does the word test make you feel nervous?

If you feel nervous and come out in a sweat just thinking or saying the word test it is very likely you have had a previous negative experience with tests! 
It is this past experience, stored in your mental database which is telling your subconscious that tests are something to be scared of.  If this sounds familiar then stop using the word test! 
Ask yourself:

Are you and your instructor happy that you can drive a car safely and independently? 
Are you driving well in your driving lessons without help from your instructor? 
Then it is time for somebody independent of your instructor to see that and reward you with your driving license. 

You could think of it as your driving instructors judgement that is being checked and assessed.

What is worrying you most about your driving test?

Instead of focusing on feeling nervous take the time to think about exactly which bit is making you worry most. 
Is it a particular manoeuvre or a local roundabout you hate or something else? Downloading a copy of our free coaching wheel (link above) can help identify where nerves are coming from. 
Then think about what you can do to reduce nerves in that area. Do you need to do some research or preparation? 

Look at the junction or roundabout on Google maps to see how it should work. 
Check in the DVSA guides for information about how to do a manoeuvre. 
Does your instructor (or another local instructor) have a YouTube channel with demonstrations in your area? 

With any other interview or exam, you would put in some preparation, make sure you do the same for your driving test!

get a good nights sleep to beat nerves

Get a good nights sleep!

We know it might be easier said than done but a good nights sleep before your driving test will help you to feel prepared and in control. We like these tips on the Dreams website which are written with students and exams in mind but the same principles apply.

Tips on the day to beat driving test nerves

Body Language
Be aware of your body language while waiting in the test centre. Remember to sit up straight (you can not breathe properly if you are hunched over). Sitting or standing in a strong position changes your mindset and attitude (see Power poses below) and finally Smile! It changes the way you feel. Positive body language is a good step towards reducing driving test nerves.

Power Pose
Following on from body language check out this video from Amy Cuddy on power posing to increase confidence.


Pandiculation is simply stretching your arms out/ up, yawning and screwing up your face. You often see cats, dogs and other animals do it, including babies when they first wake up. This is one of the bodies natural ways of resetting the nervous system and can be helpful in calming driving test nerves.

hum or sing to keep nerves away

Hum or Sing

Humming and singing resets your vagus nerve which is responsible for the fight or flight response in the body. As well as calming your driving test nerves it may also leave you feeling more positive.

Remedies to help driving test nerves

Eat a banana

Lots of driving instructors, blogs and social media groups suggest eating a banana before your test. This image gives a few of the reasons why a banana is good choice for getting you through your test.

eat a banana to calm nerves

Chew Gum

Have you ever noticed when you feel scared or nervous that your mouth dries up? When you chew gum you salivate. When you salivate this signals to your brain that everything must be ok and so it reduces the fear signal in your brain.

chew gum to calm nerves

Please help us by sharing this guide with others.  There is a good chance that if you found it useful, so will they.

Best Plans For Learner Drivers

These plans are created specifically for individual drivers.  We also have a range of group plans created for driving instructors, you can find more details on our ADI page.

One Month

  • 8 Stress Management Techniques
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  • 8 Stress Management Techniques
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  • Created by industry experts
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1 to 1 Call

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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!

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

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