How to Prepare for Your First Driving Test (And Pass): What to Do, What Not to Do

February 13, 2019

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Did you know that more than four in 10 people (44 percent, to be exact) fail their driving test? Do you want to make sure you’re not one of them?

Preparing for your driving test can definitely be challenging, whether you’re a teen who’s eager to get their license or an adult who’s finally ready to take the plunge and start driving.

It’s normal to be nervous about your driving test. Don’t let your nerves hold you back, though. With a little planning and preparation, you’ll be able to pass the test and get behind the wheel with confidence.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to prepare for your driving test and pass it the first time around.

Common Driving Test Mistakes

When it comes to preparing for your driving test, it’s helpful to know what you need to avoid while taking the test.

Be sure to avoid these common mistakes while you’re practicing, whether that’s at a driving school or in an empty parking lot:

  • Rushing while trying to park (especially parallel parking)
  • Being inconsistent while braking and accelerating (this includes slamming on the breaks or flooring the gas pedal)
  • Not handling curves in the road well
  • Making illegal lane changes or changing lanes without looking
  • Not making sure the road is clear before proceeding through an intersection
  • Following too closely
  • Underusing the turn signal
  • Not asking for help when you’re unsure of what to do

This last one is extremely important. It’s okay to ask for help — your instructor would rather give you advice than have you put them in a dangerous situation.

How to Prepare for Your Driving Test

Okay, you know what not to do during your driving test. How do you make sure you avoid all these mistakes, though?

That list is a lot to remember when you’re already going through a nerve-wracking experience.

The key is to be as well-prepared as possible. Here are some tips that will help you ensure you’re ready for your test and can feel confident going through it:

Know What to Expect

One of the best ways to prepare for your driving test is to know what the test entails before you show up to take it.

Most road tests do not take very long — you can expect to be in the car for about 20 minutes or so. During the test, you’ll be asked to demonstrate a variety of skills, including the following:

  • Smooth steering while driving straight, reversing, and turning
  • Smooth and moderate acceleration
  • Gentle braking
  • Keeping the vehicle in the correct gear
  • Adhering to speed limits and adjusting to accommodate road, weather, and visibility conditions
  • Maintaining a safe following distance
  • Identifying and obeying various traffic signs and signals
  • Keeping your vehicle in the proper position when stopping
  • Keeping your vehicle in the proper lane
  • Using your turn signal and horn to communicate with other drivers and pedestrians

You’ll also need to demonstrate your observation skills and ability to react and anticipate potential errors from other drivers.

Take Regular Lessons

Taking regular lessons leading up to your driving test can help you to feel more prepared and confident when you get behind the wheel.

You’ll also be more aware of the mistakes you have a tendency to make and will know what to work on when you practice for the test on your own.

Make sure that you attend these lessons regularly and don’t skip them unless a true emergency arises. It’s hard to gain the skills you need when you’re not showing up to class on a consistent basis.

Monitor Your Progress

While you’re taking your driving lessons, keep track of your progress.

Pay attention to areas in which you’re improving and make sure that you’re celebrating small victories along the way.

At the same time, make sure you’re also being honest with yourself about the areas in which you need to improve.

Practice, Then Practice Some More

The more practicing you do leading up to your test, the better you’ll feel when the time comes to actually take it.

When you’re practicing, pay special attention to areas in which you’re struggling. Focus on the specific skills you will need to demonstrate during the test, too.

Take a Practice Test

If possible, try to take a practice driving test before you take the real thing.

This can help you get some of your nerves out, and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect during your licensing test.

Many people find that they feel a lot more confident taking a test when they’ve done a practice round first.

Make Sure Your Car Is Test-Ready

When you take your driving test, you will need to bring a safe vehicle with you.

Obviously, since you can’t drive the car there yourself, you’ll need to be accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years of age or older.

Your car must be registered and inspected. It should have functional headlights, seatbelts, turn signals, and windshield wipers, too. It never hurts for the car to be clean (inside and out), too.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Finally, be sure to get a good night’s sleep prior to taking your test.

If you get plenty of sleep, you’ll feel rested, alert, and ready to do your best during the test.

Research also shows that sufficient sleep can enhance your exam performance and help you get a higher score.

Need Help Preparing for Your Driving Test?

As you can see, there’s a lot you need to do when it comes to figuring out how to prepare for your driving test.

Because of all the information involved, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed as you get ready for the big day.

If you’re not feeling as confident as you’d like to feel going into your test, consider working with us at Pierre Paul Driving.

Check out our different driver’s education packages today. You can also contact us to sign up or to learn more about how we can help you get prepared for your test.