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Driving theory test tips 2017: How to pass first time

Got your theory test coming up soon? You will probably want to pass first time to ensure the quickest path to four-wheeled freedom. Here are 10 tips to help make that happen.

It is easy to bury yourself under a ton of pressure when it comes to the theory test needed to progress to the dreaded practical, but that will be counter-productive. It may be one of the keys to your freedom, but it is also about your safety and it is actually useful.

Honestly, as dull as it is looking at road signs, it could help you make a decision that keeps you and your passengers in one piece. The fact is, there are so many bad drivers out there already you should do your best to avoid becoming another one.

Luckily the test itself is cheaper than the practical test, which means failing is less expensive (£23 versus £62 or £75). But you will obviously want to pass first time – here are 10 tips that will hopefully help make that happen.

1) Remember your provisional licence

This is a really important tip because failing to bring your provisional licence along to the theory test centre means no sitting the theory test, which in turn means you have just wasted £23 plus any travel costs.

To cancel a test without being charged, you must give at least three days of notice. Ignore the paper aspect of your provisional if you have one as that is no longer needed – the card is all you need.

2) Take a pill of chill

Taking any sort of pill before your theory test is a bad idea, unless it is a paracetamol perhaps, but turning up in a relaxed mood will help endlessly. It would be great to pass but you would be surprised at how many people fail first or second time – keep that in mind. Also sleep well the night before (no 3am revision session), turn up fed and watered and know your stuff.

3) Be prepared, be very prepared

Speaking of which, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Cheesy phrase aside, the sentiment is bang on because you may get questions that will be difficult to blag as the test is designed to test your knowledge, not your memory.

Work your way through the multiple-choice test once, answer the stuff you know and flag the tougher questions to come back to. Give the tough stuff more thought then use the last few minutes to double-check your answers to avoid making any obvious mistakes.

4) Consider buying the official app…

Chances are, most young drivers will be reserving their money for essentials such as beer and kebabs (wise investments). But it could be worth spending £5 on the official DVSA app, available on Android and iOS, as it contains the official Highway Code and up-to-date practice questions. It also has practice tests for the hazard perception part of the theory test, which is lacking from a lot of free alternatives.

5) …Or use a third-party alternative

No spare fiver (kebabs are that tasty, we get it)? Consider looking for an alternative such as Driving Theory Test Genius UK, although this suggestion lacks the hazard perception aspect. You could also use the Safe Driving for Life website, which can also provide tests for bus and coach tests. Or DriveiQ, which covers both sections. You could also buy a disc online.

6) Time yourself

Set yourself a time of 57 minutes for the multiple-choice section of the theory test – the time you get in the real theory test – and 15 minutes for the hazard perception so you can get used to the speed at which you need to complete each section. Then do it again. And again. If you start to lack motivation, imagine the freedom of driving without your mum, dad or whoever else usually gives you a lift next to you.

7) Aim high

You need to score 43 out of 50 for the multiple-choice section of the theory test and at least 44 out of 75 for hazard perception. That provides a sizable margin for error, but aiming to just scrape through may cause you to fail if you get one too many difficult questions. Bear in mind there are more than 1,000 the DVSA can chuck at you.

By all means use the margin of error to keep you calm, but learn as much as you can – if only for your own safety and that of those around you.

8) Arrive early

So you have mentally prepared, eaten well (but not too much) and have your provisional licence about your person. Now you need to ensure you leave in plenty of time to ensure you never miss your appointment or arrive with one minute to spare and are all flustered and sweaty. Because being flustered is hardly conducive to remembering what you need to. 30 minutes is probably a good figure to go for.

9) Use the practice to, erm, practice

The DVSA is kind enough to give you 15 minutes of time to practice your test before you take the proper one that will govern whether you are able to progress to the practical test. Use it to familiarise yourself with the process and ensure your keyboard and mouse work properly. If not, speak up.

10) Relax during the break

The three-minute break is very short, but use it to relax before you embark on the second and final part of the theory test. Stretch your legs, think of something positive – do something other than worry about how the first part went. You are close to the finish line so regroup and remember the hazard perception part is typically easier. At least, it probably should be.

Already passed your theory and practical driving test? You may want to check out our 10 tips for new, young or inexperienced drivers. Because, you know, crashes can be expensive.


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