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The Driving Test and Licence

Getting started

You need to be 17 to start learning to drive  and have a valid provisional licence before you take your first driving lessons on public roads. Complete a D1 form from the post office and send it to the DVLA (DVLNI in Northern Ireland) with your passport or birth certificate, and a passport-sized photo. You can also apply online.

Apply for a provisional driving licence up to three months before your 17th birthday, and you could book your first driving lesson for the big day!

In order to book and then take your car driving test, you must take and pass your driving theory test first. The theory test is made up of two parts: A multiple choice part and a hazard perception part.

When you arrive for your theory test you will be asked to put personal belongings into a locker, after which you will be taken into the examination room where you will be given instructions on how the theory test works.  If you prefer you can choose to go through a practice session of the multiple choice questions to get used to the way the test works. At the end of this practice session the real theory test will start.

As each page is displayed it will have one question and several answer options, and you have to select the correct answer to the question by touching the screen. Be observant though as some questions could require more than one answer.

Some car and motorcycle multiple choice questions will be given a "Case study" The case study will give focus on "Real Life" examples and experiences that drivers could come across when driving. The case study will show a scenario that five questions will be based on. The case study assesses your understanding of driving theory, and the multiple choice questions assess your knowledge of the subject

If you would like any more information about the case study, please click on the link below:


You will be asked 50 questions in 57 minutes and you need to answer 43 out of 50 to pass this part of the test.

You can scroll between questions, and put a ‘flag’ by any questions that you are not sure about and come back to these questions later in the test. If you prefer you can have a short break of up to 3 minutes before you start your hazard perception test.

When your hazard perception test starts you will be shown a short video clip about how the hazard perception test works.

The hazard perception test is also taken on the computer, but you click the button on your mouse when you identify a developing hazard in the video clip that you are shown.

You will be shown 14 video clips that show every day road scenes. In each clip there will be at least one hazard developing, and one of the clips will have two hazards developing.

To get a high score you need to click on the mouse at the early stages of a hazard developing, the maximum you can score each hazard is 5.

Unlike the theory test you will not be able to mark, or scroll through the hazard perception test, as just like on the road you will have only the one chance to respond to the hazard.

The pass mark for the hazard perception part of the test is 44 out of 75.

You may leave the examination room when you have completed the test, but once you have left the room you cannot re-enter it. You will then be told your result by the test centre staff.

To help you prepare for your theory test click here and watch the video youtube.com Official DSA Theory Test

If you would like any more information, please click on the link below:


To book your driving theory test click the following link direct.gov.uk/booktheorytest

To check, change or cancel your driving theory test click here direct.gov.uk/changetheorytest

The Practical Driving Test

The practical driving test will see if you can drive safely and it will also determine your knowledge of the Highway Code through your driving.

The practical driving  test is made up of the following:

Eyesight Check

If you fail your eyesight check your test will not continue. This test requires you to read a number plate that is 20.5 metres away if it is an old style number plate, or 20 metres if its a new style number plate.

Vehicle Safety Questions

After the eyesight check you will be asked two vehicle safety check questions. These are safety checks that as a driver you should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use on the road. You will be asked two questions: one ‘show me,’ one ‘tell me,’ and you will receive a driving fault for each one answered incorrectly.

The driving part of the test

As from the 4th October 2010 the drivng test has changed. There will now be about 8-10 minutes of independant driving included in the test. During the driving test the examiner will give you directions that you should follow. But at some point in the test you will be asked to pull over, and the examiner will explain the route that they require you to follow. You may be asked to follow one sign to a particular destination or it may be that whilst following that sign you are required to change direction and follow a different sign. you may even be asked to follow a diagram or map.

Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions. During your test you will be examined on your general driving and on one reversing exercise. The reversing exercise will be chosen from:

  • reversing around a corner
  • turning in the road
  • reverse parking

You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.

Throughout the driving test you should drive in the way your instructor has taught you. If you make a mistake, don't worry about it, it might be a less serious driving fault and may not affect your result. The examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.

You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit one serious or dangerous fault you will fail the test. If at any time your examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users your test will be stopped.

You are allowed to take someone with you on the test: this person must be over 16 years old and cannot take any part in the test.

After the practical test

When the driving test is over, the examiner will tell you whether you passed or failed. You can request feedback on your test from the examiner, who will then go through your performance during the test.

If you pass...

If you pass and have a photocard driving licence issued after 1 March 2004, the examiner will ask you if you want your full driving licence issued to you automatically.

If you want to use this service, the examiner will take your old licence from you, scan the details and send them electronically to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You will then be given a pass certificate to prove you passed your test. DVLA will then send you your new full licence by post within four weeks of you passing your practical driving test.

If you pass your test but do not want to use this automatic service, or have a licence issued before 1 March 2004, you will be given a pass certificate by the examiner. On the back of the pass certificate it tells you what you need to do next. This involves sending your licence and appropriate fee to DVLA who will then check your application and issue you with a new full licence.

If you fail...

If you fail the test you should ask the examiner for some feedback to help prepare yourself for your next test. If you want to you can have your driving instructor listen in on your test de-brief, this will help him to also understand what went wrong and if necessary work on those areas to prepare you for your next test.  Your driving report form will also show you where you made any mistakes. You cannot take another practical driving test for 10 working days after your car or motorcycle test, although you can book it straight away.

You can find out more about the theory and practical tests by visiting the Driving Standards Agency’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/dsagov and watching ‘Are you ready?: a guide for learners’.

If you require more information please click the following link:


If you want to book a Theory or Practical Test:

You can phone the DSA on; 0300 200 1122

If you want to book online please click the following link: direct.gov.uk/bookpracticaltest

To check, change or cancel your practical test click here: direct.gov.uk/changepracticaltest

Pass plus

Pass Plus is a training course specifically aimed at new drivers and it is linked to insurance discounts which means that after successful completion of the course it will save you money on your car insurance premiums.

Pass Plus has been designed by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) with the help of insurers and the driving instruction industry (us).

Pass Plus will build upon your existing skills and knowledge and it will teach you how to anticipate, plan for and deal with all kinds of hazards, and can help you to become more confident on the roads and reduce your risk of being involved in road accidents.

Pass Plus is made up of six practical modules which include:

  • driving in town
  • driving in all weathers
  • driving on rural roads
  • driving at night
  • driving on dual carriageways
  • driving on motorways

The Pass Plus course is conducted over 1-3 lessons totalling 6 hours in car driving.
(Additional lessons may have to be taken to reach the required standard at an extra cost)

When you have successfully completed your Pass Plus course you will receive a certificate from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). You can then use this certificate to claim discounts from participating insurance companies.

How much is Pass Plus?

At Always Passing the course will cost you from £170 for the 6 hours of training. This cost will soon pay for itself though, as you will save money and enjoy paying less for your car insurance. In addition to this you will have the confidence to deal with any situation safely.

East Sussex County Council, West Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council are sometimes running schemes to help qualified drivers with the cost of Pass Plus.

East Sussex County Council have been running workshops at County Hall in Lewes from 7-9p.m. once a month on Road Safety for pupils living in East Sussex who are about to take their Pass Plus course. After attending the workshop, each pupil will be entitled to claim a £60 refund on the Pass Plus in car course. For more details please telephone ESCC on 01273 482150 or ask your instructor.

Anyone who holds a full UK licence is eligible to take part in the scheme. You will not have to take a test at the end of the course but you will be continually assessed by your driving instructor. You must successfully complete all the modules in the course to an achieved or exceeded standard.

Contact Details

Always Passing

Hawthorn Cottage
Lower Dicker
East Sussex
BN27 4BJ

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Telephone Number

01323 841 337

Fax Number

01323 841 337

Email Address


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