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Beating those driving test nerves

Many a driving student who I would put my house on to pass their test first time, often struggle at the expense of nerves. Every student wants to pass first time, and we at L to P Driving School want you to as well, so we will only put you forward when we believe you are ready and most likely to pass. We carry out mock tests in advance of your official test day to ensure that you are ready, and if you are not we will be open and honest with you, work on the areas of weakness to make sure you are 150% ready.

Did you know that nationally only 21% of students pass their driving test first time, surprising isn't it? So, there should be no stigma if you don't pass your test first time, but everyone wants to, and that can often result in self inflicted pressure, which can affect an individual's performance on the day.

So what can you do, to reduce the nerves and give yourself the best chance of passing? Below are a few things which may help:

  • When you finally get your test date, don't tell your friends, as this only adds greater pressure on you as you approach the day

  • Don't skip meals before the test

  • Stay off the caffeine

  • The night before, make sure you have got your licence out and ready for the next morning. Make sure you check the time and date of your test confirmation

  • Get an early night so that you are as fresh as you can be on the day

  • Make sure you are prepared for the day, make sure you have learnt thoroughly the show me tell me questions. You will be asked a show me question before you leave the test centre, it pays to know the answers to these questions, as it helps reduce the nerves before you start to pull away from the test centre

  • Ensure you get an hour with your instructor before the test to refresh on manouveres, and to get comfortable and relaxed in the car you will be taking to your test in

  • Arrive at the test centre in good time, you don't need the stress of arriving late and being in a panic

  • Go to the lavatory before your test

  • Pretend it's a mock

  • Think of the examiner as if they are your instructor sat next to you, and show them your driving talent

  • Remember there's no rush, or time limit on your manouveres, take your time, pause the manoeuvre mid flow if you need to take a few seconds to compose yourself and think about the next step, use the pause to check your mirrors and blind spots whilst you think

I have personally found that another way of combatting stress and anxiety is through meditation and mindfulness. It's not for everyone, but I and many others have seen the benefit. If you are studying for exams at college as well as your driving test, then try to find 10mins of quiet time on your own, clearing your mind can really help reduce the stress and 'noise' in your head and truly relax you. I have used an app called Headspace, which has little ten minute bite sized sessions which I found really helpful and calming.

Another alternative is Rescue Remedy, which really helped my daughter during her exams when she was under pressure and stressed, its made from natural flower essences and she felt had a real calming influence.

At the end of the day, if you are one of the majority who are not successful first time, don't worry! Many of my students have said that the experience of the first test made them realise that there was really nothing to worry about, and it was the pressure they heaped on themselves that cost them their test, and the majority then pass at the next attempt - remember 79% of driving students don't pass first time.

My advice, is like every girl guide, or prepared! Talk to your instructor and be honest with one another and discuss whether you are ready, which areas may be giving you concern and address these in advance, so that you give yourself the best chance of success. Remember, you pass when you are ready, and not before, it comes from experience hours on the road, outside of your driving lessons, as well as listening and implementing the best practices your instructor imparts. Examiners won't fail a student if they give them no reason to, treat your test like your last lesson, and go out and impress them with your driving qualities!

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