Practical Driving Test

The Practical Driving Test Explained

Practical Driving Test


The day of your practical driving test will be one of the most important dates in your diary ever!  Passing your driving test will be a day for you to remember!   You can only book your practical test once you have passed your theory test.

practical driving test page logo

The driving test is conducted by a DSA Driving Examiner.  Your driving test will last for about 45 minutes, during the test you will need to demonstrate that you can drive safely, obey the rules of the road, can reverse and drive independently.  If you have already taken a driving test and failed or are suffering from last minute nerves you may wish to try the new daily intensive course to help you to prepare, if you are interested please speak to your instructor about this option.

You will also need to answer a ‘tell me’ question at the start of the test and a ‘show me’ question that is asked at a safe point during your test – whilst you are moving.

There is a detailed description of what will happen on the driving test below, but take a look at the show me / tell me questions first.

Show Me / Tell Me Questions

Below are two official videos from the DVSA explaining the 2018 show me / tell me questions that you will be asked when you take your practical driving test.  You will be shown how these questions apply to the driving schools car during your lessons so that you can identify all of the controls mentioned in the video clips.  

Do not worry too much about the show me tell me questions as you will only be asked one of each during your test.


Book your driving test here

At the beginning the driving test examiner will great you in the waiting room at the test centre.  They are very informal and friendly in this day and age, so don’t worry.  Before you get into the car they will check your driving licence and carry out a very simple eye site check by asking you to read a car number plate from across the car park.


Pre-briefing at start of test

Here is how the examiner will explain the test to you.

“The test will last about 38 to 40 minutes and will include about 20 minutes of independent driving and various roads and traffic conditions.  I will ask you to complete one manoeuvre and we may carry out an emergency stop. The sorts of things you have been practicing with your instructor or accompanying driver.”

Practical-driving-test learner pupil on test

The Driving Test Explained

Independent driving

The examiner will ask you to pull over before starting the independent driving part of the test.  At this point, the examiner will select and start the route, if it’s using a sat nav.

Here is the instruction that the examiner will give you.

“shortly I’d like you to drive for some distance independently. I’d like you to follow a series of directions from the sat nav please.  Continue to follow the sat nav until I tell you otherwise,  Drive on when you’re ready.”


1 in 5 driving test will be following traffic signs and not directions from a sat nav.  The instruction for this will be.

“Shortly, I’d like you to drive for some distance independently. I’d like you to follow the traffic signs for [location] please.  Continue to follow the signs until I tell you otherwise.  Driving on when you are ready.”

The examiner will tell you when the independent part of the drive is over and will commence giving you verbal instructions again.  Should the sat nav give you any directions that are difficult to understand then the examiner will give you conformation to help you understand.  Also during your driving test you will be asked to carry out one of the manoeuvres.  These include ‘pull up on right and reverse’, ‘parallel parking’ and ‘drive forwards into a parking bay”.  You could also be asked to reverse into a parking bay, but this will only ever be done at the driving test centre. 

The ‘tell me’ and show me question

 The tell me question will be asked at the test centre, before you start your test. Here is how the examiner will explain it to you.

“Now I’d like to ask you one question about your vehicle and other matters relating to vehicle safety.  (Question will then be asked)”
“The second question will be a ‘show me’ question on the move.”

They will then ask you one of the ‘tell me’ questions.  Take a look at the video about if you have not done so already for more information.  There is also a full set of show me tell me questions on the GOV.UK website.


At some point in the test while you are driving the examiner will ask you the ‘show me’ question.  It will be in a location which gives you enough chance to demonstrate the safety check safely.   Here is the instruction the examiner will give.

“When it’s safe, could you who me………”

Pull up on right and reverse

Here is the instruction the examiner will give you.  The instruction will be given to you whilst you are moving.

“Pull up on the right when it is safe to do so, please.”


“I’d like you to reverse for about 2 car lengths, keeping reasonably close to the kerb.”

The video will give you an example of the manouver being carried out.

Parking in a bay

The examiner may ask you to park in a bay.  They’ll ask either:

Reverse in and drive out (test centre car park)

Driving in and reverse out (in any safe car park)

“I’d like you to drive forward into a convenient parking bay finishing within the lines, either to the left or the right”

“Now I’d like you to reverse out to the left of the right”


Eye site check explained – DVSA website

Full set of show me tell me questions – GOV.UK website

Pull up and stop on the right – DVSA YouTube Channel

Parking in a bay – DVSA YouTube Channel

Book Driving test – DVSA website

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