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practical test

Booking a practical test

A list of test centres can be found online and on the reverse of the practical test booking form, which can be obtained at driving test centres, a copy may also be downloaded from the DSA website Click here. Practical test appointments can be booked online, by phone and by post and subject to you giving three clear working days notice, can be changed and cancelled online or using the telephone service.

A test can be booked in one of three ways.


Booking online
To book a test online you will need:

a valid UK driving licence
a theory test certificate number
a valid debit or credit card for payment (Visa, Mastercard, Delta, Visa Electron, Switch/Maestro and Solo cards are accepted) .

Link to Test Booking Site.


Booking by phone

To book a practical test with a Call Centre Agent over the phone you will need:

a valid UK driving licence
a theory test certificate number
a valid debit or credit card for payment (Visa, Mastercard, Delta, Visa Electron, Switch/Maestro and Solo cards are accepted)
You can book a practical test over the phone using the numbers below, from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Practical test booking line - 0300 200 1122

Welsh language booking line - 0300 200 1133

Minicom booking line - 0300 200 1144

Fax booking line - 0300 200 1155


Booking by post

To book a practical test by post you will need an application form. Payment can be made by cheque or postal order, but cash payments are not accepted. Application forms are available online or on request from the Driving Standards Agency booking line.

To download a practical test application form, click on the link below. There is also an information sheet available to download.

Download an application form for a practical driving test (PDF, 70K)

Download a practical test application information sheet (DL26) (PDF, 126K)


Special needs

If you require any special needs facilities at your practical test you will need to request these at the time of booking.

details can be found on the DSA website. Click here.



The test vehicle

Category B - cars and vans

Cars or vans presented for test must be:

a four wheeled vehicle of no more than 3500 kilograms (kg) maximum authorised mass (MAM)
capable of a speed of at least 100 kilometres per hour (km/h) or 62.5 miles per hour (mph)
The car or van must also be fitted with:

a seatbelt for the examiner
a passenger head restraint, this needn't be adjustable but must be fitted as an integral part of the seat - 'slip on' type head restraints aren't permitted
an interior mirror for the examiner's use

L-plates displayed on the front and rear of the vehicle but not interfering with the driver's or examiner's view
a speedometer that measures speed in miles per hour and kilometres per hour

The vehicle must be legal and roadworthy and have no warning lights showing ie the airbag warning light.

Convertible vehicles

Some convertible vehicles are unsuitable for the driving test – eg the Ford KA convertible and Mini convertible due to the lack of all-round vision for the examiner. If you propose to use a convertible vehicle for the driving test please check its suitability when you book.
Suitability of vehicles for Category B tests.

The vast majority of hatchbacks, saloons and estate cars are suitable for test, but increasingly the designers of cars are producing models with sweeping lines which have good forward vision but have large blind spots to the rear and present examiners with problems of observation.

Panel vans also present problems with vision and are often unsuitable for test.

Vehicles supplied by motor manufacturers have obviously been through the type approval process, but this approval concentrates on vehicles from a driver’s point of view and such a process does not necessarily make the vehicle suitable for the purposes of the test.

Vehicles for test must allow examiners all round vision to allow them to see approaching vehicles, particularly when the car is at an angle to other vehicles during reversing manoeuvres and also when emerging at a junction with the vehicle at an angle to the major road.


At the driving test centre

You must bring the following items with you. If you do not, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) may refuse to carry out the test and you may lose your fee.

an appropriately insured and licensed vehicle, displaying L- Plates (except for taxi and Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) part 2 tests), that is suitable for the purpose of the test
the appropriate theory test pass certificate (or confirmation) if you are not exempt
your appointment letter
both parts of your photo card licence. If you do not take both parts of your licence your test will not take place and you will lose your fee
if you have an old-style paper licence, you must take your signed driver licence and a valid passport - from 1 November 2005 no other form of photographic identification will be accepted

If you misplace your licence, you must apply for a replacement from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which could take up to 15 days. If this happens, you may have to rearrange your test.
no licence
no photo
no test, and
you will lose your fee!

Your driving test will start with an eyesight check and some vehicle safety questions. You will then start your practical driving test which will include some specific manoeuvres.
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 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.

The practical driving test (car)
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is now able to offer tests outside the normal test times at a number of test centres. This provides customers a wider range of appointments over an extended working day.

Practical tests are generally available at all permanent test centres. Saturday and weekday evening tests, subject to resources being available, are offered at a premium rate. Non premium rate tests are available at various times between 7.30 am and 3.27 pm Monday to Friday.

The driving test is straightforward and has been designed to see if you:

can drive safely.
know The Highway Code and can demonstrate this through your driving.

The test will include an eyesight check (if you fail this, your test will not continue). The eyesight test requires you to read a number plate that is a certain distance away. For more information about the eyesight check please use the 'Driving eyesight requirements' link below.

After the eyesight test you will be asked two vehicle safety check questions. You will then be examined on your general driving and on two reversing exercises. The reversing exercises 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.


Vehicle safety questions
These are basic safety checks that a driver should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use. Although some checks may involve the candidate in opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, pupils will not be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check fluid levels.

As vehicle technology advances, more and more vehicles are being equipped with electronic diagnostic systems, which inform the driver of the state of the engine fluid levels and tyre pressures. It will be acceptable for a candidate to refer to the vehicle information system (if fitted) when answering questions on fluid levels or tyre pressures.

You can find source material in the DSA publication 'The official guide to Driving - the essential skills' and 'The official DSA guide to learning to drive'. Advice and information on how to carry out vehicle safety checks can also be found in the manufacturer's handbook.

Candidates will be asked two questions, one 'show me' and one 'tell me'. One or both questions answered incorrectly will result in one driving fault being recorded.


What happens during the test?
During the driving test the examiner will give you directions which you should follow. Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions. During the test, the examiner will ask you to carry out set exercises.

Throughout the 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 off 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 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. Your driving report form will also show you where you made any mistakes. You can take another practical test 10 working days after your car or motorcycle test.
Driving test standards
All examiners are trained to carry out the test to the same standard, they do not have pass or fail quotas. So as long as you demonstrate the standard required you will pass your driving test.
Weather conditions/ mechanical problems etc
DSA do not conduct tests in bad light or in adverse weather conditions for the safety of the candidate and the examiner. We will arrange another appointment at no further cost, but compensation is not payable. Candidates should call the telephone number quoted on the appointment letter to check whether their test will go ahead.

If the driving test is not completed for reasons attributable to you or your vehicle, you will have to take another test at your own cost.