The A-Z of Learning to Drive & Passing Your Test

by Brady Myles - 9 Min Read

What’s an ADI? What does a green badge mean? Do you fail if you make a minor fault? What’s the pass mark for the theory test? We’ve got the answers to all these questions – and everything else.

A

ADI
It’s an Approved Driving Instructor who the DVSA (see below) says is qualified to teach you – and of course charge you for the privilege.

B

Bay Parking
During the practical driving test, you may be asked to park in a bay – either by reversing in and driving out/driving in and reversing out of it.

Block Bookings
If you book and pay for a bunch of driving lessons upfront, you could land yourself a discount. Best to do an individual lesson with the instructor though before block booking – you need to make sure you work well together. See ‘Vetting’.

C

Code of Practice
The list of standards drawn up by the DVSA that your ADI must stick to when managing their business and most importantly, you – check out the full code here.

Complaint
If your ADI is not sticking to the above list, make a complaint directly to the DVSA – a complaint can be made here.

‘CRB’ Checked
Concerned your instructor might have a dodgy background? Don’t worry as all qualified instructors must have passed a Criminal Records Bureau check before being allowed to teach.

D

Driving Examiner
They’re the ones who monitor and assess your driving during the practical test; don’t be scared of them – they don’t bite. Promise.

via GIPHY

Dual Controls
Some instructors offer cars with pedals on the passenger side too, meaning the ADI can intervene quickly if you’re about to drive into the back of a lorry.

DVSA
That’s the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to you, responsible for the driving test as well as a host of other safety-related roles and much more besides.

Driving Test Report
Pass or fail, at the end of the test, you will receive a feedback form from your examiner, detailing what you did right – and what you did wrong. Here’s what they look like.

E

Emergency Stop
During the test, you may be asked to stop your car quickly and safely when the examiner signals for you to do so. Top tips here.

F

Fail
You’ll fail your theory test if you don’t get 43 or more out of 50 in the multiple choice section or 44 or more out of 75 in the hazard perception test. In the practical test, 15 minor faults or a major fault will land you with a fail.

Flag
Can’t think of the answer to one of the questions during the multiple choice section of the theory test? Then mark it with a flag and come back to it later.

G

Green Badge
Check your instructor’s windscreen for their green badge – it means they’re fully qualified.

Grade
Remember to ask your instructor what their grade is – an ADI will either be Grade A (high standard of instruction) or Grade B (satisfactory standard of instruction).

H

Hazard Perception Test
The second part of the two-parter theory test, you’ll need to watch 14 video clips and click when you spot an emerging hazard – head here to learn how to click your way to theory test success.

Highway Code
The official rules of the UK’s roads covering lane use and road signs (and everything in between). In other words, it’s essential and thankfully, all Theory Test Pro users have full access to the online version.

I

Independent Driving
During the practical test, you will be asked to drive under your own steam for about 20 minutes, following directions from a sat nav or traffic signs to a specific location.

Intensive Driving Course
Cram your learning into a series of days, not weeks – check out our list of pros and cons here.

J

Jargon
What’s DSSSM? POM? Or SCALP?! They’re essential driving routines that you need to learn to help pass your test. Check out our guide for more details.

K

Kerb
Hit one hard enough (or even mount it) during your test and you could be looking at a major fault – an instant fail.

L

Licence
Before you can begin learning to drive, you’ll need a green provisional licence (apply for one here). Pass both your theory and practical driving tests and you can apply for a full licence here.

L-Plates
Put these on the front and back of you car whenever you are behind the wheel.

M

Major Fault
During the practical test, expect an instant fail if you perform a major fault (serious/dangerous); this is where the examiner deems that you have done something dangerous or posed a danger to yourself and other road users/property.

Minor Fault
This is a driving fault that is not deemed dangerous (unless you keep making the same mistake and it might be upgraded to a serious fault). You can notch up to 15 minor faults before you will be failed.

Manoeuvre
During your practical test, you will be asked to perform one of three manoeuvres to test your car control and observation skills simultaneously; these are pulling up on the right, parking in a bay or parallel parking.

Multiple Choice Questions
There are 50 of them in the first half of your theory test and you need to get at least 43 right to pass.

Motorways
Since 2018, learners have been allowed to head out on to motorways to practise – as long as you’re with an ADI who has a dual-controlled car.

N

‘Numpties’
Occasionally during a driving lesson, you may come across drivers who get angry at learner drivers because they’re impatient *******s. If this does happen, try to stay focused on driving. If you prefer, ask your instructor if you can pull over to let said numpty past.

via GIPHY

O

Onwards (& Upwards)
Failed your test? Don’t give up – get up, brush yourself down and go talk to your instructor about what went wrong.

P

P-Plates
They’re like L-plates but green, white (and voluntary); slap them on your car once you’ve passed and they let other road users know that you’re still a newb – and to cut you some slack. Downside? See ‘Numpties’.

Parallel Parking
Reverse and park up behind a parked vehicle. Simple in theory, tricky in practise.

Pass Plus
Take this six hour-plus voluntary course to hone your skills in key areas such as night driving, all-weather motoring and motorway mastering. Pass it and you could enjoy a discount on your insurance. More details here.

Pull Up
A controversial new manoeuvre introduced into the test in 2017, which sees you pulling up on the right and reversing backwards.

Q

Quiz
Use apps like Theory Test Pro to practise your theory test including both the multiple choice questions and the Hazard Perception Test. Click here for more details.

R

Refresher Course
Had a long break between lessons? Then take one of these to get yourself back up to speed.

Reverse Around a Corner
Like the three-point turn (see below), this manoeuvre is no longer part of the driving test but it’s still essential for everyday driving so make sure your instructor trains you how to do it.

S

Sat Nav
Now part of the practical driving test so best to get familiar with one before the test.

This is the very sat nav used in the test!

Show Me, Tell Me Questions
Expect to be asked a ‘tell me’ question at the beginning of the practical test – you will be expected to explain how you would carry out a safety task. During the test, you will then be asked a ‘show me’ question, where you must show how you would carry out a safety task. Click here for a list of the questions and answers.

Stall
If you happen to stall the car during the test, you won’t automatically fail the test so take a deep breath, check your mirrors and move off again. Keep stalling though and even manage to create a dangerous situation because of it and the examiner will fail you.

Supervising driver
If you’re being taught by a family member or friend, they need to have held a full licence for three years, be over the age of 21 and not be distracted while supervising. For instance, they must not use a mobile, sleep or be drunk or they could be done.

T

Test Centre
It’s where the theory test is held plus where your practical driving test will start and finish.

Theory Test
You’re going to need to pass this before you are allowed to book your practical test. The theory test is made up of two sections – first, 50 multiple choice questions  and second, the hazard perception test.

Theory Test Pro
Double your chances of theory test success with the UK’s leading theory test learning aid. Click here for more details.

Turn in the Road
Known by learners as the ‘dreaded three-point turn’, any right-minded instructor will insist that you learn how to turn your car in the road properly even if the manoeuvre isn’t part of the practical test anymore.

U

‘Useless’
Sometimes we think we’re not good enough to pass. Ignore those doubts – instead build up your confidence by taking a ‘one lesson at a time’ approach. Your instructor will let you know when you are ready for your test.

V

Vetting
Make sure you vet your driving instructor properly; are they an ADI? What is their reputation online? Could a friend refer one? Remember, you’re about to spend a ton of money on them so do your research. More info here.

W

Wing Mirrors
Check they’re positioned correctly before driving off in your test plus make sure you keep using them when driving or when asked to carry out a manoeuvre.

Wallet
A provisional licence costs £34 if you apply online (£43 if you do it by post), the theory test costs £23 and the practical test costs £62 (weekdays).

X

‘Xtra’ Time
If you feel that you need more time to hone your driving skills, then tell your instructor and they can advise you on your progress and next steps. Remember, there is no rush to book your test.

Y

You
Be nice to yourself and treat yourself with respect. Learning to drive and taking the test is a big – but surmountable – challenge, so don’t beat yourself up or give yourself a hard time. Put the work in and it will pay off.

Z

Zzzzz
Make sure you get to bed early the night before the test so you’re wide awake for it! If you’re super stressed then read our top advice for dealing with test nerves here.

Double Your Chances

… of theory test success with Theory Test Pro. Sign up here for free.

 

Main image © Paul Inkles

Sleep Image © Planet ChopStick

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