If you’re anything like me, driving is something that fills me with fear. I put driving lessons off for at least 4 years but soon after seeing everyone else drive, I decided it’s about time – mainly because it’s often a make or break deal for employers too.
I booked my theory test a week after studying as I was passing all the mock tests – I didn’t even tell anybody I had booked it.
I then painfully read the Highway Code which contains approximately 9253823 pages of common sense like ‘don’t hit anyone with a car door’ – yup that’s actual rule! Unfortunately there is stuff in there you really need to know that’s not common sense so here’s some tips you should know about in order pass your theory test.
1. It’s Not ALL Common Sense
Before I even started, I kept hearing people say it’s all common sense, and whilst that’s slightly true, it’s also really far from the truth. Would you know the minium tread depth across the central three-quarters of tyre? Or what colour the studs are between the slip road and central reservation on motorway? No. Neither did I. (ps: it’s 1.6mm and green).
2. Practice, Practice, Practice and Download This App.
If you download any app, it should be the Driving Success 4 in 1. If you’re not wanting to pay they also have free version but it’s definitely worth upgrading for the small fee of £4.99. At the end of the day, driving isn’t cheap and the test alone costs £23 to sit. So don’t waste your money or time and invest in studying to get the best chance you have to pass.
Of course if you think you can pass with the free option, dot it, but I’d rather pay a total of £27.99 rather than £46 or more to sit it again.
Whilst you can probably still pass with the free version of this app, it’s worth noting the free version only has 360 questions and 8 hazard perception clips compared to 722 questions and 85 clips.
3. Book Your Theory Test.
When you book your theory test, don’t use any other website other than the official Government website. You should also only be paying £23 and no more or else you’ll just be scammed for more money which won’t give you anything extra or worse, the test booking may not be legit and you’ll lose money.
Booking your theory test after you start to score well is also a great motivation to keep studying. I’ve watched several YouTube videos before I began and many of them said they either left studying until the last week, last day or didn’t do any at all – which I don’t recommend and is obviously total bs – unless you’re a really lucky guesser.
4. How to Pass: Multiple Choice.
If you download the app I mentioned above, there’s 14 sections to go through ranging from 12 to 80 questions per section. Once you’ve gone through those and passed them all with at least 90%, I would recommend going onto the mock test.
You’ll have 50 questions – all multiple choice – and 57 minutes to do it in. Shocking my average time to complete the test is 7 minutes and that’s apparently the norm. The pass mark is 43 so you really have to study.
It took me roughly 15 minutes when I took my actual exam because I would complete the questions and then go over every single question reading it twice making.
The questions in the exam were worded the same as the ones in the app but there were a few I didn’t know which I had to make an educated guess on. There’s a total of 730ish questions in the bank meaning on the day of your exam, they could ask you any of them on top of a few questions you’ll have probably never seen before.
5. How to Pass: Hazard Perception.
I’ll be honest, this is one you can’t really practice for too much. In the paid app there’s 85 clips – all worth going through as the pass mark is 44 out of 77.
The idea is that you have to click as soon as you see a developing hazard which is classed as anything that can make you (the car) stop, slow down or change direction.
You only have 5 seconds to get the points and even if you spot the hazard early, you may just click outside of the 5 second scoring gap and not get it – so never click once.
It seemed to work for me during the mocks and official test so hopefully this ‘3 click method’ will work for you too.
The idea is that you click once as soon as you see the hazard, click again a second later and click again ideally before you (the car) stops / changes direction. That way you should be guaranteed at least a minimum of three points. Once the car stops or changes, etc. the scoring window closes and you’ll be awarded zero marks.
tip: Don’t click in a pattern or too much though as you may be awarded no points for that video as the software has anti-cheating detection. It’s rare you’ll trigger this so don’t worry. I reckon I clicked 4 or 5 times per clip on the actual day due to panic and luckily I didn’t get penalised but if you do and get an error, try the method.
6. Highway Code
A lot of people say don’t bother looking at the Highway Code but honestly you’re better just going over it.
The 4 in 1 app is great and as you read each section you can click once you’ve finished reading each bullet point, thus keeping track of what sections you need to finish.
There’s a lot on motorcyclists which I personally skim read along with 101 other sections but it’s worth reading just in case something comes up in the test as it could be the difference between 43 and 44.
7. On The Go
I was adamant that I was going to be learning from a book as I didn’t want to get distracted on my phone whilst using the app because as it turns out, Netflix works in a small screen whilst you do the questions on your phone simultaneously…not a good habit.
But if you prefer a book I would really think about how you’re going to study. Studying on the go be it in the car, brushing your teeth, walking to the shops, having lunch or waiting for a train is great to keep you on your feet. You can set practice reminders daily by entering your test date and let the app create reminders for you.
I found that I could just pick up my phone when I was out and about and because I always have my phone with me. When you’re finished the mock test, make sure you go over any incorrect answers and screenshot them. Then write them down in different colour pens
hint: blue apparently helps you retain more info.
After you’ve written everything down you need to remember, write it all out again and again and again until you can safely score it off your notes knowing you’ve memorised it.
8. How Long Should I be Studying For?
Daily. Even if its one mock test – do it daily. The more practice the better chance you have of passing and with high score – because who doesn’t want full marks?
On average I was studying about 2 hours daily. In the first week it was at least 5 hours daily, spread throughout the day. I took advantage of being off in Summer whereas if you’ve got work, school, uni or college, it’s better if you do whatever suits you and your studies as you’ll definitely have other priorities.
9. Changing Your Booking
Okay so I changed my theory test date at least 5 times. Originally I had a month to study as that’s how far in advance the earliest date available was. It then moved to three weeks, then just under 3 three weeks, then just over two weeks and luckily so then found one that was that very week…*gulp*.
Yep, at 6am I woke up to double check the bookings and vuella, I was able sit it in three days!
A lot of people cancel so there’s early spaces available at random times of the day – so be sure to keep checking back for early dates if you’re ready and if not, you can push back your test date.
10. What To Expect
Turn up 20 minutes early to make sure you’re at the right room and building on time.
You are asked to show your provisional and then asked to turn your phone off. The person at the first desk will give you a locker key and a sheet of rules which you have to read over.
Once finished, you head to the second desk where you’re asked for your ID again. You’ll then sign a digital pad and wait at the seats where you’ll see people taking their test.
Before you go in you’ll have your glasses checked as well as behind your ears, your tie, arms, pockets and anything else that could be seen as a sneaky way to cheat.
You’re then told what to expect and assigned a booth – nobody will see you or your screen, vice versa…unless you’re sitting outside or walking in.
You can do a practice run for the multiple choice which I did just in case it was different to simplely clicking the answer – which it wasn’t.
You then put on headphones and are shown a hazard perception clip of what to do. After you take the earphones off and you begin your test.
After the 14 clips, you’ll be asked to take part in 2 surveys, I didn’t bother and left the testing room.
You collect your stuff from the locker, hand they key back, show them your ID and then you get your results!
…And finally, good luck with your theory! If you have any questions. ask away in the comments or drop me a DM on Twitter/Instagram @trafotoz.