Tests

DVSA Links

You can use these links to quickly find information from the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency

From 8th June 2015 the Paper Counterpart of the driving licence is being abolished, what does this mean?

From 8 June 2015 the DVLA will stop issuing the paper counterpart (D740) to the photocard driving licence. The counterpart was introduced to display driving licence details that could not be included on the photocard. These details include some vehicle categories you are entitled to drive and any current endorsements/penalty points.

How can you check your driving licence details?

You can now view your driving licence details for free online at:

www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

How to book your driving test

To book your driving test make sure you use only the official GOV.UK website.  There are other third party websites that you can use, but some charge more than the DVSA, and some are fraudulent!

GOV.UK booking website

What to do it your test is cancelled

Sometimes the DVSA have to cancel practical driving test. This could be due to bad weather, sickness, or other reasons beyond their control. This guide tells you what do if there is bad weather, and what will happen if a test is cancelled.

What to do if your driving test is cancelled by the DVSA

How to claim out of pocket expenses

If your practical driving test is cancelled by the DVSA at short notice for any reason other than because of bad weather then you can claim for out of pocket expenses using the following form.

Out of pocket expenses claim form

Show / Tell Questions

During the practical test you will be asked two 'show me / tell me' questions.

Before you start driving the examiner will ask you a 'tell me' question where you will be required to explain how you would carry out a safety task.

The examiner will ask you one 'show me' question where you will be required to show how you would carry out a simple safety task whilst you are driving.

Each question you get incorrect will result in a driver (minor) fault being recorded on the marking sheet.

'Tell me'

'Tell me' Questions
1.) Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that after starting the engine press the brake pedal several times to ensure it does not feel spongy or slack. When applying the brakes on the move the vehicle should slow down and stop as normal, and not pull to either side.

2.) Tell me where you’d find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that pressures can be found in either the manufacturer's handbook or an information plate located somewhere on the vehicle body of some cars. Pressures should be checked using a reliable pressure gauge when the tyres are cold (as air expands when hot), especially before starting a long journey, or extra weight is to be carried. Ensure the spare tyre is checked too, and all valve caps are replaced once checked.

3.) Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that the head restraint should be adjusted so that the rigid part (centre) of the head restraint is at least level with the eyes or top of the ears, and as close as possible to the back of the head whilst still being comfortable so that it offers maximum support in the event of a crash. NOTE: Restraints on some vehicles might not be adjustable.

4.) Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that you should regularly inspect the tyres ensuring that there are no cuts, bulges or other obvious damage. Then explain that there should be 1.6mm of tread depth across the centre three-quarters of the breadth of (across) the tyre and around the entire outer circumference (all the way around) of the tyre.

5.) Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that you would need to turn on the ignition first, and then turn on the headlight switch. Depending on the vehicle this will normally be located on one of the stalks, or a switch on the dashboard. There will normally be three positions on the switch (off, side lights, and dipped beam) There will be a green icon shown on the instrument panel. You would then explain that you would walk around the car before a journey to ensure both headlights, and both red tail lights are working.

6.) Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that if there was a fault with the system the ABS warning light on the dashboard would either stay on or flash after the engine has started.

7.) Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain you would turn on ignition; apply each direction indicator individually; walk around the vehicle to ensure that they are all (six!) are working. Alternatively turn on the hazard warning lights and walk around the vehicle to check bulbs are working correctly. As this is a tell me question there is no need to exit the vehicle.

8.) Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Turn on ignition, but do not start the engine. Press brake pedal and ask someone to go behind the vehicle and check that all of the lights are working. Alternatively you could explain if you are by yourself then you could reverse up to a reflective surface like a window or garage door and see the reflection of the lights. There is no need to exit the vehicle, as this is a tell me question.

9.) Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain you would apply gentle pressure to the wheel with one hand whilst starting the engine with the other hand. Once the engine starts there should be a noticeable movement of the wheel as the system begins to operate. If the steering becomes noticeably heavy whilst driving there may be a fault with the system.

10.) Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain you would turn on ignition and switch headlights to dipped beam setting, then operate the fog light switch and identify the warning light on the dashboard. Explain that fog light should only be used when visibility is reduced to less than 100 metres.

11.) Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.
Answer (Tell before driving)

Switch ignition on if necessary, and turn lights switch to normal headlights (dipped beam), and then turn on main beam switch, which depending on vehicle is normally done by pulling or pushing the indicator stalk.

12.) Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.
Answer (Open bonnet and tell before driving)

Open the bonnet, there will on most cars be a release lever you will need to pull from within the cockpit first, and then there will be a secondary catch under the bonnet to fully release before you can open it. Then point out the engine oil dipstick. Then explain that you would check the oil on a regular basis, particularly before starting a long journey. You should check the oil when the engine is cold and the car is parked on a flat level ground. Check it by pulling out the dipstick and wiping clean, then re-dipping and checking the level against the minimum and maximum markers on the stick. Once explained ensure bonnet is FULLY closed.

13.) Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.
Answer (Open bonnet and tell before driving)

Open the bonnet, there will on most cars be a release lever you will need to pull from within the cockpit first, and then there will be a secondary catch under the bonnet to fully release before you can open it. Then identify the reservoir and point out the high and low level markings on the header tank. Explain that if topping up is required then this should be done when the engine is cold to avoid burning your hand when removing the cap. Once explained ensure bonnet is FULLY closed.

14.) Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
Answer (Open bonnet and tell before driving)

Open the bonnet, there will on most cars be a release lever you will need to pull from within the cockpit first, and then there will be a secondary catch under the bonnet to fully release before you can open it. Then identify the brake fluid reservoir. Point out the minimum and maximum markings and explain that the level should be between these. Ensure that the car is parked on a flat level surface before checking. Once explained ensure bonnet is FULLY closed.

'Show me'

'Show me' Questions

1.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?

Answer (Show when driving)

When it is safe and you will not be distracted, operate the rear screen washer switch / button / lever, and wipers if necessary. How to operate this will depend on the make and model of the vehicle.

2.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?
Answer (Show when driving)

When it is safe and you will not be distracted, operate the screen washer switch / button / lever, and wipers if necessary. How to operate this will depend on the make and model of the vehicle.

3.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?
Answer (Show when driving)

When it is safe and you will not be distracted, turn on the headlight switch. Depending on the vehicle this will normally be located on one of the stalks, or a switch on the dashboard. There will normally be three positions on the switch (off, side lights, and dipped beam) depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

4.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?
Answer (Show when driving)

When it is safe, and you won't be distracted, turn on rear screen heater. There is normally a button near the fan and temperature controls, but will depend on the make and model of the vehicle. If the screen does steam up whilst driving you can also turn on Air Conditioning (AC), as this will help to remove the moisture from the air inside the car. It's useful to note that on most modern vehicles the rear screen heater control will also heat the door mirrors to improve visability.

5.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?
Answer (Show when driving)

When safe to do so, when you wont be distracted, and it won't affect or mislead other road users, press the horn control; depending on the make and model of the vehicle this will normally be located on the steering wheel. The horn must not be used between the hours of 11.30pm and 7am in a built-up area.

6.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?
Answer (Show when driving)

When it is safe, and you won't be distracted, turn on the front screen heater. There is normally a button near the fan and temperature controls, but will depend on the make and model of the vehicle. If there is not a button, you will need to turn the fan speed up, turn temperature control up, and direct the air flow towards the screen. You should also turn on the Air Conditioning (AC) if fitted to the vehicle, as this will help to remove the moisture from the air inside the car.

7.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?
Answer (Show when driving)

When it's safe to do so and you won't be distracted, operate the front side window switches, normally located on the driver's door or the dashboard.

Theory Test

ELITE Driving School can help you pass your Driving Theory Test with flying colours!

Theory Test Pro

Theory Test Pro is an online study programme that provides you with everything you need to pass your driving theory test, including:

  • Entire official test question bank
  • Hazard perception video clips
  • Online version of the Highway Code

To register for our FREE on-line and App based Theory Test Pro software please register your account by clicking the link below.  Before you gain full access you will be sent an email asking you to confirm your instructors's details and that you are a current pupil of ELITE.  Alternatively you can call the office on 020 8004 6818, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will register you directly.

The theory test overview

This is a computer-based test, and consists of two parts. Both parts must be passed together as an unsatisfactory grade in either will result in both having to be sat again.

Multiple choice questions

The first part is a series of fifty multiple choice questions which you have 57 minutes to answer. Some of these will be based around case study scenarios. You must achieve a pass mark of 43 out of 50.

As of January 2012, the full official question bank ceased to be published by the Driving Standards Agency. However, the questions are still based around the same knowledge as before, and study materials are readily available for purchase from most good retailers. As well as paper based publications these include PC ROM's, DVD's and smart phone applications.

You can start driving lessons before you have passed the theory test, and this is usually beneficial as your instructor will give you knowledge and answer any questions you may have from your studying before you go for the test.

Hazard perception test

The second part is a test of your hazard perception skills. This involves watching fourteen video clips containing fifteen developing hazards in total. Each of these hazards is worth a possible five points each (when you see the hazard you must click the mouse to acknowledge it - the quicker you respond, the more you score). You must score at least 44 out of a maximum of 75 to pass.

Common problems candidates experience with this element of the test include clicking only once on a hazard, and this click being too early before the hazard is deemed to be developing. Or candidates over-clicking, that is clicking too many times in quick succession and a rhythm being detected which will result in the clip being voided an a zero score being given.

The perception skills needed to pass this test will be developed throughout your driving lessons by the application of the 'Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre' routine to almost all situations you encounter, and your instructor will give you top tips on how to apply that on the day of your Hazard Perception test.

On the day of your theory test you must remember to take both the photo card and paper counter-part of you driving licence with you. Failure to produce either will result in you not being allowed to sit the test and your test fee being lost.

hazard perception intro image

For more information on the theory and hazard perception test, click here to view this DSA video.

Booking your theory test

You can book your own theory test as soon as you feel ready to sit it.

To book a Theory Test make sure you use the official Government website, as there are many bogus websites that charge more than booking it direct, and they will not give you an immediate date and time.  They  may also charge you extra if you need to change the date.  

Also don't be fooled by claims of guaranteed pass, or free retests.  There are usually strict terms and conditions that apply and are nearly impossible to meet, and you pay extra for them.  

The Highway Code

Everything you need to know to pass both the theory and practical tests, and ultimately become a safe driver is based upon the Highway Code. You can purchase a copy at any good book store, supermarkets, Halfords,and even some petrol stations for less than £3. You will also also receive a free version of the Highway Code via our Theory Test Pro App.   

The Practical Test

Pass your Practical Driving Test with ELITE Driving School!
Your ELITE instructor will cover a detailed syllabus of lessons based around The National Standards for Learning to Drive to ensure you are fully prepared to be a safe, confident, responsible and independent driver. You will also be fully ready for your driving test, whether it be at Croydon, Mitcham, West Wickham, Redhill, Crawley, or any of the other driving test centres within our catchment area.

Booking your driving test
To book your Practical Driving Test make sure you use the official Government website. DO NOT BOOK through any third party booking sites that will come up in Google searches. Many of these will offer guaranteed pass or free retests. However, the initial booking is more expensive, you wont be able to choose the date and time for your test, and often their misleading terms and conditions mean that you wont be able to change or cancel your test without loosing what you've paid. Through the official DVSA site you can change or cancel your test up to 3 working days before your test without loss of fee.

Getting an earlier test date
If your instructor agrees that you are ready to take your test sooner than the date you've booked then you can check the DVSA system to see if earlier dates become available. Unfortunately this relies on a bit of luck. Dates do become available if other candidates cancel, examiners are issued overtime, or a new examiner is deployed to a test center. However, as new slots become available they tend to get snapped up quickly. If you haven't got the time to keep logging on and checking yourself then you can use a third party cancellation checking service. They will keep on checking for you, and when test slots become available text you the details. Make sure that you check that your instructor can accommodate your new date before changing it.

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What does the test involve?
The Practical Driving Test was updated in December 2017. The new test is the same length of time as tests pre 4th December 2017, and still involves you driving for around 40 minutes on various road types and conditions.

The most common question we are being asked is 'Why are the changes to the driving test being made?' The simple answer is that road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They count for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19 years. Most fatal collisions happen on rural or high-speed roads. Therefore the DVSA want to see candidates spending more time on these roads during their driving tests, proving they are fully prepared to drive on their own. The changes to the manoeuvres, meaning there will no longer be a turn in the road or reversing around a left corner, mean that examiners won't need to spend a disproportional amount of time on quieter roads. The revised manoeuvres can be carried out more naturally during the test. All of these changes bring the learning to drive and testing process in line with The National Standards for Learning to Drive. These are the guidelines and framework that all learners' lessons should be structured around.

Eyesight check
The first part of the test is staying the same, and involves the examiner asking you to read a vehicle number plate at a distance of 20 meters (new style plate) or 20.5 meters (old style plate) to check your eyesight. Not being able to read the number plate at the required distance will result in the distance being measured out accurately by another examiner before you being allowed to try a second time. Failing to read it on a second attempt will result in a serious fault being recorded and the test terminated before you even sit in the car, and your test fee lost. An eyesight check is the first thing that your ELITE instructor will do with you on your first lesson, so please make sure if you wear glasses or contact lenses that you bring them with you on your first and every driving lesson. For more information on the eyesight test click here.

Show Me / Tell Me Questions
Instead of being asked two safety questions at the start of the test, you will now be asked one simple 'tell me' vehicle safety question at the start of the test. These include how to check that the vehicle lights are working and how they are operated, how to open the bonnet and check the engine fluid levels, and how to operate and check various other items and controls on the vehicle. You will be asked another 'show me' question during some point of the drive, such as 'when safe to do so, show me how you clean your front windscreen using your screen washer'. This can happen at any point during the test.

You will receive a driver fault mark for each question answered incorrectly.

To view these questions in full with a full explanation of the answers click here.

Your instructor will go through the questions with you in more detail, and familiarise you with the controls of the particular type of vehicle that you are taking your lessons in, and therefore you will be taking your test in.

Reversing Manoeuvre
Throughout the drive you will be asked by the examiner to perform one of the following exercises:

Forward parking into a bay in a car park, and reversing out
Reverse parking in and driving out of a bay in a car park
Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic
Parallel park at the side of the road behind a parked vehicle
For these exercises you will be required to deliver smooth and accurate operation of the controls of the vehicle, whilst carrying out effective observations to ensure that you and everyone around you are safe through planning and risk assessment. Note that the DVSA still recognise the turn in the road and left reverse manoeuvres as valuable manoeuvres to learn to help develop these skills.

Emergency Stop
1 in 3 candidates may be asked to perform an emergency stop.

For this exercise the examiner will pull you over at the side of the road and explain that shortly he / she will be giving you a signal to stop the car (this signal varies, but each examiner will demonstrate the signal they will give). Once they have given you the instruction they will then ask you to drive on again as normal before shortly giving you the signal.

As soon as they have given you the signal to stop, you will need to demonstrate that you can stop the car as quickly and safely as possible (as if a child had run in front of the car) and under full control.

Independent Driving
For twenty minutes, around half of the test, you will be asked to drive independently. This has increased from ten minutes as from 4th December 2017. During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. The sat nav will be pre-programmed and set up by the examiner. Therefore you will not be expected to touch the device. If you are not sure of the instruction being given by the device you will be able to ask the examiner for confirmation. This is not a test of your navigation skills, and if you do not follow the exact route you will not receive a fault mark providing you are safe in the route you take. The device or examiner will help with directions to get you back on route.

One in 5 driving tests won't use a sat nav, and you will instead be asked to follow traffic signs towards a certain destination, the same as tests pre 4th December 2017.

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