The theory test is made up of two sections and both are conducted at specific test centres and are computer based. If you pass one part and fail the other you'll fail the whole test, and will have to re-take both.
Before the test starts you'll be given instructions on how the test works. You can then choose to go through a practice session of the multiple choice questions to get used to the layout of the test. At the end of the practice session the real test will begin.
A question and several answer options will appear onscreen and you have to select the correct answer to the question by touching the screen. Some questions may require more than one answer.
Some car and motorcycle multiple choice questions will be given as a case study. The case study will show a scenario that five questions will be based on. The subject of the scenario focuses on real life examples and experiences that drivers could come across when driving.
You can navigate between questions and 'flag' questions that you want to come back to later in the test. After the multiple choice part you can choose to have a break of up to three minutes before the hazard perception part starts.
You are allowed 57 minutes to answer 50 questions. The pass mark is 43.
Hazard Perception Test
After the break you'll then be shown a short tutorial video clip about how the hazard perception part works. The hazard perception part is also delivered on a computer but you respond by clicking a button on the mouse.
You'll be presented with a series of video clips which feature every day road scenes. In each clip there'll be at least one developing hazard, but one of the car/motorcycle clips will feature two developing hazards. To achieve a high score you'll need to respond to the developing hazard during the early part of its development.
The maximum you can score on each hazard is five. The pass rate is 44 out of a possible 75 points.
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The Practical Test
The driving test is designed to see if you can drive safely, know The Highway Code and can demonstrate this through your driving. It will start with an eyesight check. You must be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres. If you can't, you will fail the test.
Next you will be ask two questions from the Show Me, Tell Me question bank. Fail to answer either question correctly and you will score one minor fault.
The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving, including when you are carrying out the set exercises. You will have to successfully perform one of the following reversing exercises:
For about 20 minutes, half of the test, you will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. This will be set up by the examiner, one in five driving tests won't use a sat nav you will follow road signs instead.
The purpose is rather to assess your ability to drive safely whilst at the same time having to make your own decisions in order to reach your target destination. This includes for example deciding when it's safe to pull over and ask for directions. Your result will not be affected unless you commit a driving fault, even if you go off the independent driving route. Sat navs are not allowed for this part of the test.
The cost of taking the practical test is £62 if taken on a week day and £75 if taken over the weekend.
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