7 Things To Do (& Not To Do) If You Fail Your Driving Test

by Adam Phillips - 4 Min Read

You’ve failed your practical driving test and it feels like the end of the world – but it needn’t be if you follow this seven-step guide to making a winning comeback.

The first thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Research shows that over half of learners fail on their first attempt. The real issue is what are you going to do about the fail to ensure you make the grade on the second attempt? To find out what steps must be taken, use this seven-point guide to get yourself back on the road to success:

1. Don’t give up

You failed and feel terrible about it – but don’t get angry or give yourself a hard time. The fail could be for any number of reasons on the day; from a simple cock-up that scuppered your chances to nerves getting the better of you. But there is an upside; you’ve now been through the process so you know what to expect the next time whether it be how the test centre operates to the realisation that examiners aren’t out to ‘get’ you.

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2. Do listen to your examiner

Don’t walk away feeling like it’s all over; the examiner will always tell you clearly and openly why you failed plus you should be provided with a copy of your driving test report as well. It’s essential you discuss the reason (or reasons) for your fail with your driving instructor as soon as possible. It means any potentially serious problems with your driving ability can be dealt with straight away in lessons.

3. Don’t stop driving

The worst thing you can do after a fail is to stop driving because your confidence has taken an inevitable knock. Instead, head out on to the roads with your instructor, family member or friend as soon as you can to start rebuilding your confidence.

Also remember that research has shown that those who pass their test the second time round are statistically more likely to be safer, better drivers once they qualify.

Second time passers appear to fare better, especially when it comes to driving safely and considerately. Perhaps this is down to concentrating more and taking into account different road conditions and other drivers. First time passers know how to handle a car but some might be over-confident and that can quickly lead to recklessness.”

– Guy Frobisher, Director of Safety, Continental Tyres

4. Do rebook your driving test

Consider rebooking your driving test as soon as possible if you and your ADI feel that the fail was down to a mistake that can be sorted easily with a little more practise. If you delay booking a fresh test, worry and nerves can fester making the challenge of taking another test seem insurmountable.

(5. Don’t forget the small print!)

Remember that your new test can only be booked a minimum of 10 working days after the last one. If you do book a test that you feel is far off, use the official ‘Change your driving test appointment’ to see if you can snare yourself a slot that has been cancelled at the last moment.

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6. Don’t fear the second test

It is actually healthy to be a little nervous about a test. It can mean you’re fully focused on the big day – but too many nerves can be distracting and detrimental. Use our guide to dealing with driving test nerves to achieve the right balance. Some of us also fret that the examiner will be waiting to pounce on us if we make the same mistake again during the second test.

That couldn’t be further from the truth; examiners don’t actually have a record of what happened in your previous test and even if it is the same examiner, they carry out seven tests on average a day up to six days a week so there’s a very good chance they aren’t going to remember you in the first place.

7. Do use Theory Test Pro

While learners typically obsess over the practical driving test, don’t forget the theory test! If you should fail, there is inevitably one simple reason – you haven’t been practising enough.

It’s why we created Theory Test Pro to offer learners the best way to study the Highway Code and practise the Hazard Perception Test. Best of all, the software allows your instructor to keep an eye on how you are progressing and can take you through any areas where you might be struggling.

Oh, and one final thought to cheer you up – according to research, if you fail your practical driving test the first time, it means you are more intelligent than those who do manage a pass on their first attempt. No, really.

Nail Your Theory Test 1st Time!

Use Theory Test Pro to double your chances of theory test success. Sign up here for free.

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