Booking your test
You do not need to pass another theory test if you’re upgrading an automatic car licence to a manual licence.
To pass the driving test you must be able to:
drive safely in different road and traffic conditions
show that you know The Highway Code by the way you drive
The national standard for driving cars tells you everything you must be able to do to pass the test. Only take your test when you can do everything without instruction.
There’s no minimum number of lessons you must have done before you book and take your test.
What to take to your test
You must take:
your UK driving licence
your theory test pass certificate
a car - most people use their driving instructor’s, but you can use your own car if it meets the rules
Your test will be cancelled and you will not get your money back if you do not take the right things with you.
Your driving licence
You need to apply for a replacement driving licence if you lose yours before your test. This could take up to 15 days to arrive.
Rearrange your test if you do not get the new licence in enough time.
If you do not have a photocard licence
Bring a valid passport and your paper licence.
If you have a licence from Northern Ireland
Bring the Northern Ireland photocard and paper counterpart.
If you’ve lost your theory test certificate
Contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) with your:
date of birth
driving licence number
You’ll be sent a letter that you can take to your test instead of your pass certificate.
Taking someone with you
Your examiner will ask if you want someone to:
sit in the back of the car during the test
be with you for the result and feedback
This will usually be your driving instructor, but you can take a relative or friend. They cannot take any part in the test.
be over 16
follow the rules about observing tests
You cannot take a foreign language interpreter with you. You have to take the test in English or Welsh.
What happens during the test
There are 5 parts to the driving test:
an eyesight check
‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
general driving ability
reversing your vehicle
The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars.
How long the test lasts
You’ll drive for around 40 minutes.
You’ll drive for around 70 minutes if you’re taking an extended driving test because you’ve been banned from driving.
You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:
20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate
New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, such as AB51 ABC.
You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.
‘Show me, tell me’ questions
You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.
You’ll be asked the:
‘tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving
‘show me’ question while you’re driving
Your general driving ability
You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways.
The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes are not published, so you cannot check them before your test.
Pulling over at the side of the road
You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:
normal stops at the side of the road
pulling out from behind a parked vehicle
a hill start
You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.
Reversing your vehicle
The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:
parallel park at the side of the road
park in a parking bay - either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic
You’ll have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either:
directions from a sat nav
The examiner will tell you which you have to follow.
They’ll set the sat nav up for you. You cannot use your own sat nav.
If you cannot see traffic signs
If you cannot see a traffic sign (for example, because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.
Going off the route
The examiner will not give you a fault for taking a wrong turning.
They’ll help you get back on the route if you do.
If you make mistakes during your test
You can carry on if you make a mistake. It might not affect your test result if it’s not serious.
The examiner will only stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.
Driving test faults and your result
There are 3 types of faults you can make:
a dangerous fault - this involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
a serious fault - something potentially dangerous
a driving fault - this is not potentially dangerous, but if you keep making the same fault, it could become a serious fault
You’ll pass your driving test if you make:
no more than 15 driving faults (sometimes called ‘minors’)
no serious or dangerous faults (sometimes called ‘majors’)
If you pass your test
The examiner will:
tell you what faults you made, if any
give you a pass certificate
ask you if you want your full licence to be sent to you automatically - give the examiner your provisional licence if you want to do this
Apply for your full driving licence within 2 years of passing your test if you do not want to get your licence automatically.
When you can start driving
You can start driving straight away when you’ve passed your test. You do not need to wait for your full licence to arrive.
Contact DVLA if your full licence has not arrived 3 weeks after you applied for it.
If you do not pass
The examiner will tell you what faults you made.
You have to book another test and pay again. You have to choose a date at least 10 working days away.
Appeal your driving test
You can appeal if you think your examiner did not follow the regulations when they carried out your test.
Your test result cannot be changed, but you might get a free retest if your appeal is successful.
How to appeal
Contact your local magistrate’s court within 6 months to appeal in England and Wales.
If you live in Scotland, contact your local sheriff’s court within 21 days.
If your test is cancelled or there's bad weather
Your driving test can be cancelled or stopped because of bad weather, problems with your car, or for other reasons.
Driving tests are not carried out in dangerous weather conditions, such as when the roads are icy or if there’s flooding, thick fog or high winds.
Call your test centre if there are any of these conditions on the day of your test.
The phone number for the test centre is on your booking confirmation email.
If your test cannot go ahead
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will:
automatically book the next available date for your test
send you the details within 3 working days - it can take up to 7 days if there’s a long period of bad weather
You can change the date you’re given if it’s not suitable.
You cannot claim for any out-of-pocket expenses if your test is cancelled because of bad weather.
Problems with you or your car
You’ll have to book another test and pay again if your test cannot be completed because of a problem with:
you, for example, if you feel unwell while taking your test
your car, for example, if it breaks down during the test or does not meet the rules to be used
If your test is cancelled for another reason
Sometimes DVSA has to cancel tests for other reasons, for example, if the examiner is unwell.
You’ll be sent a new date for your test if this happens. You can change the date if it’s not suitable.
You can apply for a refund of out-of-pocket expenses if DVSA cancels your test at short notice.
If you have a disability, health condition or learning difficulty
When you book your driving test you should say if you have a:
You’ll still have to drive to the same standard to pass, but the examiner can make adjustments for your situation.
You have a disability
You might be allowed more time for your test if you have certain disabilities. It will give the examiner time to talk to you about:
any adaptations fitted to your car
You’re deaf or have a hearing impairment
The examiner will use written notes at the start of the test to explain what will happen. If you lip read, they’ll also look at you so you can lip read what they’re saying.
The examiner will usually give directions to you as hand signals. These will be explained to you before your test starts.
Using a sign language interpreter
You can take a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter with you. They must be at least 16 years old.
Your driving instructor can be your interpreter.
You need to arrange your own interpreter and pay any fees that they charge. You can claim the cost back after your test.
You can take a driving test at any stage of your pregnancy. However, you must be able and willing to do an emergency stop.
You have reading difficulties
When you do the eyesight check at the start of the driving test, you can write down the number plate instead of reading it out loud.
You have learning difficulties
The examiner will make adjustments for the independent driving part of the test if you have learning difficulties.
They might ask if you’d prefer to follow traffic signs instead of directions from a sat nav.
Using your own car for your test
You can take your driving test in your own car rather than your driving instructor’s if it meets certain rules.
Your test will be cancelled and you’ll have to pay again if your car does not meet the rules.
Rules about the car
Your car must:
be insured for a driving test (check with your insurance company)
be roadworthy and have a current MOT (if it’s over 3 years old)
have no warning lights showing, for example, the airbag warning light
have no tyre damage and the legal tread depth on each tyre - you cannot have a space-saver spare tyre fitted
be smoke-free - this means you cannot smoke in it just before or during the test
be able to reach at least 62mph and have an mph speedometer
have 4 wheels and a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of no more than 3,500 kg
The MAM is the limit on how much the car can weigh when it’s loaded. It’ll be in the car’s handbook.
Things that must be fitted
The car must have:
an extra interior rear-view mirror for the examiner
L-plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales) on the front and rear
a passenger seatbelt for the examiner and a proper passenger head restraint (not a slip-on type)
Dashcams and other cameras
You can use a camera fitted for insurance purposes, as long as it:
faces outside of the car and does not film the inside
does not record audio from inside the car
Manual and automatic cars
You can take the test in a:
manual car - these have 3 pedals
automatic or semi-automatic car - these have 2 pedals
If you take your test in a semi-automatic car you’ll only be able to drive automatic and semi-automatic cars once you’ve passed your test.
You can take your test in a hire car if it’s fitted with dual controls and meets all the other rules.
You can use a car with:
an electronic parking brake
Cars you cannot use
Some cars cannot be used in the test because they do not give the examiner all-round vision.
You cannot use any of the following:
BMW Mini convertible
Ford KA convertible
VW Beetle convertible
Check with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) before you book your test if you want to use a:
Cars with known safety faults
You cannot use one of the cars shown in the table unless you have proof that it’s safe. This is because these cars have been recalled for a safety reason.
You must bring the proof that it’s safe with you when you take your test.
ModelReason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue date
Citroen C1Steering failureVehicles built between 9 Sep 2014 and 15 Oct 2014, with vehicle identification numbers (VINs) between wF7xxxxxxER516105 and VF7xxxxxxER52336728 Jun 2016
Peugeot 108Steering failureVehicles built between 9 Jun 2014 and 15 Oct 2014, with VINs between VF3xxxxxxER256527 and F3xxxxxxER01707828 Jun 2016
Toyota AygoSteering failureVehicles built between 9 Jun 2014 and 15 Oct 2014, with VINs between JTDJGNEC#0N022080 and 0N026438, JTDJPNEC#0N002099 and 0N002100, JTDKGNEC#0N022186 and 0N031372, and JTDKPNEC#0N002083 and 0N00210228 Jun 2016
Toyota YarisPotentially defective seat rail track and/or steering column mountingSome models built between Jun 2005 and May 2010 (‘05’ to ‘10’ registration plates)9 Apr 2014
Vauxhall ADAMPotential steering problemVINs with last 8 digits between E6077301 to E6113446, and F6000001 to F600654429 Sep 2014
Vauxhall Corsa DPotential steering problemVINs with last 8 digits between E6071016 and E6118738, and E4181031 and E430812229 Sep 2014
Proof you need to bring to your test
You must bring proof that says one of the following:
the car was recalled and the recall work has been done
the car was recalled but did not need any work to be done
the car was not part of the recall
The proof must be either:
the recall letter or safety notice, stamped by the manufacturer or dealer
on official or headed notepaper from the manufacturer or a dealer
Your test will be cancelled and you could lose your fee if you do not bring the right proof.