Driving theory test: insider tips
The driving theory test, introduced in 1996, presents a different challenge to the learner compared with the practical element. With all the similarities of a school or college exam replete with the need to know your stuff and perform on the day, it’s a big hurdle and one that some 25% of people fall at first time.
Some handy tips to help you prepare for and handle the test as effectively as possible:
The Highway Code
As it has been for generations of learner drivers down the years, so the Highway Code is your bible for knowing the rules of the road.
Stating the obvious maybe, but you need to revise and prepare. There are various ways of revising including reading and re-reading the Highway Code, taking mock tests, and using smartphone apps to test yourself whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
Try to recreate the test conditions where possible, such as taking the same amount of time you’ll be allowed on the day to take a mock test online.
A mental exercise for when you’re travelling on the bus or as a passenger in a car. Observe what other drivers are doing and think through what you’d do. For example, when watching a motorist approach a hazard, try to mentally put yourself in their position and think through how you’d react.
There are various resources and forums for discussing experiences and learning from others who have completed the driving theory test. Some pitfalls others share might help you to learn from their mistakes. Similarly, you can also benefit from knowing about things others have done particularly well.
It obviously makes sense to talk one-to-one with anyone you know who has already taken the theory test. How did they find it? What questions came up? (Don’t assume you’ll get the same ones) and would they do anything differently if taking it again?
Handling the test itself
Rest properly and try to get a good night’s sleep the night before. Fatigue will eat away at your ability to recall the information you’ve learned. Also, try to relax. If you’ve used the resources above then you just need to keep your calm and impart your new-found knowledge. Listen to some music to help you approach the test in a good frame of mind.
Read the questions properly. Take your time to read and fully understand the question even though your instinct might be to “get on with it” and come up with answers. If you’re stuck on a particular question, rather than get in a mental rut thinking about it over and over, move on to the next one then come back to the one – or ones – that were stumping you. You may find the answer comes to mind more readily.
Know anyone else taking the test around the same time as you? If so, partner up and help each other. Moral support and testing each other will make the preparation process less isolated.
Generally speaking, all of the above boils down to one thing: preparation. As the old saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail and as with exams back in school, the more you practice and the more varied in the ways in which you do, the better.
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Photo: Robert Couse-Baker