The UK practical driving test lasts for approximately 40 minutes.

You need to take your provisional licence with you to the test centre. In the waiting room the examiner will introduce themselves to you and will check your licence and will ask you to sign the insurance and residency declaration. They will then ask if you wish your driving instructor or accompanying driver to be in the back of the car during the test or during the debrief at the end. They will then ask you to lead the way out to your vehicle. On the way to your vehicle they will ask you to stop to read the number plate of a vehicle 20 metres away. As you approach the car they will either ask you to get into the car or will ask you to open the bonnet to perform one of the show me tell me questions.

When you have completed the two show me tell me/vehicle check questions they will give you a short explanation about the test and will then ask you to start the car and pull away.

The test will involve where possible driving in normal situations such as town driving, rural roads, major roads and dual carriageways. Motorway driving is not included in the driving test. In addition every driving test candidate is required to do one reversing exercise and a section of “independent driving”. One test out of every three includes a “controlled” (emergency) stop and will also usually also include at least one angled start and hill start.

At the end of the driving test the examiner will inform you whether you have passed and will explain any mistakes that you have made. You are allowed to make up to 15 driving faults (minors) but no serious faults (majors). If you make a dangerous mistake. often one that requires the examiner to intervene then this is marked with a D.

On your test you may be accompanied by an extra “examiner” who will sit in the back of the car. Their job is to ensure that the examiner is doing his job correctly. They are not assessing your driving. You should remember that this will cause some distraction and will increase the weight of the car thus affecting the handling – for instance you will need extra gas when pulling away to avoid stalling.

The DVSA target for driving test waiting times is 6 weeks – in other words you should be able to book a test within that period. in practice however waiting times are considerably longer hence the use of driving test cancellation finder services.