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Helping learner drivers to feel more comfortable ahead of their test

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Driving instructors, Driving test, Learning to drive, Ready to Pass?

Thousands of learners and their families have been visiting driving test centres across England for events to find out more about what happens on test days.

Our test centre open days and drop-in sessions give your pupils a chance to look around their local test centre, ask questions, talk to our examiners to help dispel any driving test myths they may have heard.

So far, over 4,000 people have attended these events and visitors were able to:

  • learn more about the driving test and what examiners assess
  • find out more information about our ‘Ready to Pass?’ campaign
  • find out the top reasons why people do not pass their driving test in their local area

In this blog post, I’ll update you on why we are holding these events, explain how you can support these events, and what learners are saying about them.

Where we have held events so far

So far, we’ve held 23 events for you or your pupils and their families in:

  • Basildon
  • Bradford
  • Bredbury
  • Chelmsford
  • Chilwell
  • Colwick
  • Derby x 2
  • Erith
  • Guildford
  • Leicester (Cannock Street)
  • Mitcham
  • Pinner
  • Reading
  • Rochdale
  • Speke
  • Tolworth and Morden
  • Upton
  • Uxbridge
  • Wakefield
  • Wanstead
  • Yeading

Why are we holding the events

Waiting times are a lot higher than we would like and we are keen to do as much as possible to help prepare learners, especially in the areas with higher waiting times and pass rates are lower than national average.

The Ready to Pass? campaign website is a great way of us doing this. We all learn differently whether that be through our experiences and face-to-face conversations. So, some of our driving test centre managers and their examiners have volunteered to organise and run events outside their normal testing hours in their areas to help learners in their local communities.

1 in 5 people who fail their driving test say the main reason was because they were nervous on the day. We want to give learners the opportunity to meet our examiners as this may help to reduce their nerves in the build-up to their driving test. This is because learners who meet an examiner before their test are more likely to feel at ease with their test day examiner.

On the day, our examiners will explain to your pupils what happens on the test, from the waiting room through to the show me, tell me questions. There is also an opportunity for your pupils and their families to ask driving examiners questions about their role on test day, and what learners can and cannot do.

This is important as it gives learners an indication of what to expect on their driving test. For example, a couple of common questions our examiners get asked is whether the learner can ask the examiner questions whilst on their driving test or if they can listen to music during their test.

Learners and parents who attend are given a copy of the Ready to Pass?’ checklist and a drivers record as tools that they can use to check if they are ready for their driving test and record their progress.

Feedback from learners

Our data shows that 82% of learners who attended one of our driving test centre events felt more confident about their upcoming driving test.

This is what some learners said:

“I’ve just come back from the open day and want to thank you and all the staff for putting on such a helpful and informative event. I was pleasantly surprised by the massive turn out which goes to show how popular something like this is.” 

“I think the open day was a brilliant idea as it took away some of the unknown about the actual test. It really calmed my nerves to see the place and get to meet some of the examiners.”

“I passed this morning. Thank you for doing the open day.”

This a great example of what we can achieve when we work together, and it's fantastic there has been such a good turn-out and support for these events.

We have also carried out surveys for those who attended the open days. We found that:

  • the top reasons for attending were to get more information about the driving test (69% of people), and to meet driving examiners (50% of people)
  • what people enjoyed most was talking to driving examiners (86% of people)

The events so far have had a real community feel which is great as we all need to work together to support learners.

Dates of upcoming events

Our upcoming events are:

Date Test Centre
29 March 2023 Hendon
01 April 2023 Goodmayes (London)
15 April 2023 Gillingham
22 April 2023 Loughborough
30 April 2023 Mitcham
13 May 2023 Burgess Hill
13 May 2023 Garretts Green
20 May 2023 Lee on Solent

How you can support us

If you are based in one of these local areas and think your pupils would benefit from attending an event, you can:

  • check if your pupil has had an email from us letting them know about the event
  • ask if they are planning to attend it
  • encourage your pupils who are struggling with driving test nerves to attend the event and highlight the benefits to them
  • share other learners' feedback on the event with your pupils
  • let us know your feedback if you or your pupils have attended an event

Most of these events do not require you book a place. Your pupil, their parents and you can just turn up on the day.

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  1. Comment by Fergus MacRoth posted on

    I sincerely hope you are stressing that they should not take a test if they aren't ready - and to listen to their instructor on that subject.

    Given the long waiting times, which currently show no signs of reducing, if they postpone a test now they know full well they are looking at another 5-6 months. And they were likely already unhappy at the 5-6 they've already waited. Those times are from my own area - they may be more or less elsewhere.

    It's a huge Catch-22 situation for all concerned - with the instructor the one likely to lose out the most. The majority don't want to cancel, so it means a higher failure risk, higher faults, so pushing the Standards Check button. If you force them to cancel, you won't see some of them again. And many of those who agree are usually still unhappy about it, so they won't pass on recommendations.

    Even if they postpone, it is pushing them towards cancellation checking services, which then takes any cancellation dates away from those of us who use the more traditional methods. Indeed, I have even started suggesting some of them use those apps, to my shame.

    • Replies to Fergus MacRoth>

      Comment by Mohamud Abukar posted on

      Are you arranging to visit to Southampton just to know when exact date does events will in Southampton .

    • Replies to Fergus MacRoth>

      Comment by Peter posted on

      When are you coming BRISTOL ?

  2. Comment by Alison Knight posted on

    Are you going to arrange any in Scotland?

  3. Comment by Ryan Brady posted on

    Are you planning to hold a similar event at the Bristol Kingswood MTC?

  4. Comment by Nigel Aspland posted on

    Nothing in wales ?..

  5. Comment by Mike posted on

    On paper it sounds great. Would be really useful to extend this to as .many areas as possible. Nothing for my local centres in South Wales which makes it seem like a tick box exercise

  6. Comment by Graham Carroll posted on

    Great idea, im all for it... But how come you are so test obsessed all a sudden??. The present 50ish % pass rate, is around the are its always s been.

  7. Comment by Paul Brash posted on

    I think it's a great idea, however there are no events in any of the test centres I use as a driving instructor (SE London).
    What you cover at these events is similar to the areas I talk through and it's great to know that I'm covering those areas most learners are anxious about.
    Do you have any data on the % of learner drivers attending that are having regular lessons with a driving instructor?

  8. Comment by Gemma Pym posted on

    I am an ADI of 17 years. I feel the examiners attitude on the day towards the candidate is the main factor. I use Gosforth test center and the difference between examiners is extreme. There are a couple who treat candidates with respect and use a friendly manor. This has a positive effect on the candidates nerves.
    There are a few examiners who use a very cold unfriendly manor. Which is unnecessary and needs accessing urgently.
    I would like to be able to give feedback on the examiners performance. Give credit to the ones who make an effort to calm the candidates nerves and also be able to give constructive feedback on the ones who may need to develop their people skills.
    The test is a massive deal, its expensive and my pupils have waited a long time for it. So surely the DVSA should make sure the candidate is given a positive experience pass or fail.

  9. Comment by David Paul Gill posted on

    When are these events coming to leeds

  10. Comment by Keith Nisbet posted on

    Adi passmark is ok as it is

  11. Comment by Paul Adams posted on

    Hi. I agree with Gemma above . The examiners attitude on the day is extreme . From friendly to rude. I think examiners should be assessed on thay attitude towards the pupils.
    Any plans for a open day in South Wales.
    Thanks Paul

  12. Comment by Charlotte Thompson posted on

    It doesn't matter to me as I don't care what sort of examiner I get. Even when I'm not nervous I still fail as I've never been practically minded, theory test I can do standing on my head but not practical

  13. Comment by Modista Masese posted on

    Luton has the lowest pass rate when are you coming to lounge this event

  14. Comment by marzana begum posted on

    I think examiners is the problem bc some are very bad to learner. I failed two time .Pass rate to low .if u can do anything in Birmingham .I will be very grateful. I need to pass my test

  15. Comment by Lee posted on

    Wouldn't the examiner's time be better spent providing more tests?

  16. Comment by Goiyala podang posted on

    When will be your visit in aberdeen

  17. Comment by Ana Carolina Ambiel posted on

    Any possible event in Sevenoaks at any point?