How Do I Know When I’m Ready for the Driving Test?

With many driving test centres having a waiting list of several months before you’re able to sit the test, it’s essential that you’re ready and well prepared for the practical driving test. If you fail the test, it means more waiting, which also means more lessons and more expense.

That doesn’t mean that your driving must be of an impeccable standard, but it should mean that you’re going into the driving test with the best possible chance of passing.

With you, the learner being in the driving seat, it’s not always clear whether you’re ready for the driving test. So with that in mind, use this guide to asses your own driving abilities for helping you to decide when you’re ready for the driving test.

How Do I Know When I’m Ready for the Driving Test?

You’ll know when you’re ready for the driving because:

  • Your driving instructor say’s you’re ready to take the test
  • You’re capable with all components of the driving lessons syllabus
  • You can handle unexpected situations
  • You can drive independently
  • You make few minor driving faults
  • You rarely make any serious or dangerous faults
  • You passed a mock driving test

Your Driving Instructor Says You’re Ready to take the Test

If your driving instructor says you’re ready for the test, then you should have a good level of confidence in your abilities to pass the test. However, if you don’t share the same level of confidence that your instructor has, or if you’re learning to drive with a family member or friend, continue reading to conclude whether you’re ready for the test.

You’re Capable with all Components of the Driving Lesson Syllabus

When it comes to learning to drive, you need to break the process down into individual components that make up the driving lesson syllabus. The driving lesson syllabus is a structured process where you’ll learn the required skills to not only pass the driving test, but to become a safe driver. If you feel that you are competent with all the individual components of the driving lesson syllabus, then you may be ready for the driving test.

You Can Handle Unexpected Situations

During driving lessons, you’ll repeat the same processes time and time again until you become proficient with each component of the driving lesson syllabus. But these are only the fundamental skills required for driving and don’t represent the unexpected situations that often occur on our roads. In fact, the driving test often has a habit of revealing situations that candidates are not prepared for.

You can’t be expected to be prepared for every possible event that may occur while driving, as this takes years of experience. But if you’re capable of driving independently on roads that you’ve never driven on before and driving at different times of the day, such as rush hour, then that’s another tick in the box that says you’re ready for the driving test.

You Can Drive Independently

When you start out learning to drive, your instructor will provide you with full verbal instructions while you drive. As you progress, these instructions should reduce and be replaced with occasional prompts. As you reach test standard, you’ll be expected to drive independently with rare prompts from your instructor.

However, it’s quite normal to have the odd bad lesson, where everything seems to go wrong, even when you’re approaching your driving test. This is quite normal, so don’t let it knock your confidence.

You Make Few Minor Driving Faults

On the driving test, you’re allowed to make 15 faults, often referred to as ‘minor’ faults as they’re not considered serious or dangerous. 16 or more of these faults, or having several faults within the same category will result in a failed driving test.

Even as you reach test standard, it’s unreasonable to expect your driving lessons to be fault-free. But if you are still making many faults, or continue to make the same faults on each lesson, you’re probably not quite ready for the driving test. Keep a log of your faults, analyse where you’re going wrong and work to correct them.

You Rarely Make Any Serious or Dangerous Faults

Just one serious or dangerous fault will result in a test failure. An example of a serious fault could be changing lanes without first checking your mirrors. A dangerous fault could be where you changed lanes without checking your mirrors and it caused another driver to react.

With the average learner having around 40 hours of professional driving lessons, it’s unreasonable to expect zero faults with that level of experience, but if you are making serious or dangerous faults, they need to be very few and far between.

You Passed a Mock Driving Test

The best assessment to determine whether you’re ready for the driving test is to take a mock driving test. As the name suggests, this is an imitation of the real driving test where the role of the examiner is played by a driving instructor.

You can ask your own driving instructor for a mock test, but the best thing to do is to book a mock test in with a driving instructor that you’re unfamiliar with. This way, you’ll be sitting next to a complete stranger, just like you will on the driving test. It’ll be a little more realistic as you’ll not have the confidence of knowing the person sitting next to you.

Additionally, having a different instructor explaining the outcome of the mock test will likely result in advice and fresh tips that you may find beneficial.


Finally let’s take a look at confidence. Confidence in learner drivers / test candidates varies considerably from overconfidence to having none at all. If you’re not feeling confident about whether you’re ready to take the driving test, don’t worry as that’s normal. Try to assess your own ability to drive by running through the advice detailed above. If you meet or exceed most of what is explained on this page then the chances are you’re ready for the driving test.

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