It’s been around nine years since I passed my driving test and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was completely petrified and was praying for the female instructor as I heard she was the nicest one working at the test centre. About a 1/4 of the way through my test, I stalled. I instantly thought I had failed. Still, I carried on with my test and concentrated so much that my brain was hurting. I drove back to the test centre and I immediately expect her to tell me that I had failed. But she told me I passed with five minors! The relief and all the nervous energy I had possessed instantly drained away from me.
But the nerves for a driving test are unreal. You never know what to expect, you’ve got to try and remember everything you’ve learnt from the last load of months worth of lessons. In a way, I felt a pressure to not let my instructor down as he had to have a hell of a lot of patience with me! Especially with the reverse around a junction manoeuvre (what is the point of that one?)
There are ways of tackling the driving test nerves. First of all, breathe. Take slow deep breaths and think calming thoughts when on the road. Remember, if you make a mistake, don’t automatically assume you have failed. It can easily be classed as a minor fault by the driving test examiner. One other thing I should warn you about is to not glance at the form the examiner is ticking off. If you see him/her writing something on there, don’t be put off. Concentrate.
Another thing I did to tackle my driving test nerves was to speak to others who had passed their test. They gave me information and advice on what happens on a test and what to expect. Going into the driving test with that information and advice can really help ease the nerves.
Also, in regards to the advice, on your last lesson before your driving test, ask your instructor for tips and maybe him/her if you could go through some of the things that you need to improve on. It could be a certain manoeuvre, looking at different signs and signals, clutch practice etc. I think that if you practice those skills before your test, if they do happen on your test, you can feel fully prepared and ease those nerves.
I tell you one thing I did do too – I didn’t tell anyone I was taking my driving test. That’s definitely a method in combatting the nerves. There’s less pressure on you when you get to the driving test then, not so many people to tell if you don’t pass. Arrive to the test centre 15 minutes before your test, don’t arrive too early or too late, otherwise your nerves will be all over the place. Also, please don’t drink gallons of water or coffee before your test, the last thing the examiner needs to see is you wriggling around in your seat in desperate need of a wee.
If you are thinking of taking your driving test this year, I wish you good luck!