How to pass: driving test tips

Learning to drive is a huge part of many people’s lives. You are your own gatekeeper to a path of freedom when it comes to getting your full driver’s license. You have to put in the hours and, above all else, pass your driving test.

In this blog we are going to offer some simple driving test tips to help you pass, broken into three categories:

  • the learning and lessons
  • preparation for your test, and
  • the in-test tips.

Part 1: The learning and lesson phase

Trust Your Instructor

First and foremost, none of our tips for passing your driving test will be all that useful if you do not follow this very first rule of thumb: Trust your driving instructor. Once you do this, all other bits of advice will fall into place nicely for you. You need to find an instructor that is first of all reliable, but also someone that you could imagine spending 40 hours in a car with.

Some of the qualities to look for in a driving instructor include:

  • DVLA stamp and (ideally) years of experience.
  • Patience – someone who won’t get frustrated if you do something wrong.
  • Someone you can be relaxed with. We know it’s not as easy as it sounds but it’s important that your instructor puts you at ease, whether he does that by being approachable and outgoing or with a bit of humour. 
  • Reliable, you can count on them to be there in time for your lesson. 
  • Suitable teaching style. When you’re asking around for recommendations, make sure you find out about the instructor’s teaching style – are they no-nonsense and to the point? or do they have a softer approach? Pick what suits you personally.  

If you’re struggling, we can help find the best driving instructor for you.

Once you have found an instructor that you are happy with, you simply need to let them do their job – teaching you how to drive and be safe behind the wheel. This is what they do for a living and you have to believe everything they tell you. Trust them. It is the best and simplest thing for you to do.

Test routes with your instructor

Going on test routes with your driving instructor is a very common practice. Your instructor will prepare you as well and as much as they can. However, if possible, there is an element of self-help that can be used to increase your confidence before your test.

If you have access to a car to practice at home with, for example, a relative, make the most of this opportunity. You can ask your instructor what you need to practice most on. That way, you can really hone in on what you’re least strong at between lessons.

It is also very beneficial to go on test routes if you have access to a car to practice in – ie do a practice driving test. You can find the routes online, or ask your instructor. The person that you are driving with could even make a mental log of any minors, majors or key events that happened throughout the journey to give you a good indication of how you did and if you were good enough to get a “pass”. For information on what the pretend examiner might want to look out for, click here.

Independent driving

It is recommended that each learner do at least 20 hours of independent practice outside of their driving lessons. As your instructor will more than likely tell you, this is a good chance to keep sharp between lessons and build confidence.

To help with your independent driving and gain useful insights from your journeys to see what you are doing well and what you could improve on, check out Otimo.

Part 2: The test preparation phase

Being properly prepared for your test is another obvious but key tip for passing your driving test. Have you spent enough time behind the wheel, both with your instructor and independently with a friend or relative? Do you know the ‘Show me, Tell me’ questions? Have you been around the test routes of the test centre that you are going to? If you are unsure about any of the above, you may feel ill-prepared, which will make you more nervous. Be prepared and be well-rested. It will help with the nerves. My instructor actually advised me to use Rescue Remedy before my test and it really did help calm my nerves. So, if you do anticipate that you will be nervous, a big tip for passing your driving test is taking Rescue Remedy in the hours leading up to it.

It is also recommended that you have at least an hour lesson before your test. Your instructor will tell you the same thing. This is a chance to smooth out any mistakes and hopefully build up your confidence.

aerial view driving

Part 3: The in-test phase

Start your test with a clean slate in that you start with full marks. You don’t gain points, you can only lose them. In that way, you are starting with an advantage, so see that as a reason to relax.

A big tip that we can give for passing your driving test in this instance, is be observant. You are already at a stage where your driving is good enough for your instructor to put you forward for a test. Again, trust your instructor and trust your own ability. To remind yourself about being very observant, slightly adjust your rear-view mirror, exaggerate your movement to get a good view. Don’t move it too much, but just enough to constantly remind yourself to check all of your mirrors and be looking around as much as you can. Another benefit of slightly adjusting your rear-view mirror is that the exam invigilator will notice that you are checking your mirrors constantly due to your exaggerated movements. It’s a win-win.

There are plenty more tips that can be shared about how to pass your driving test. However, these are the key high-level ones that we can quickly give you.

If you have any questions or would like to chat with someone from Otimo to arrange driving lessons, please email


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