Information On Tests And Lessons.
7 Golden Rules For A 1st Time Pass.
Follow the 7 Golden Rules below for driving test success!
7 Golden Rules For A 1st Time Pass.
Follow the 7 Golden Rules below for driving test success!
Everybody would naturally like to pass their driving test at the first attempt and it is possible to increase your chances dramatically by following some sensible guidelines.
Make sure you have at least one lesson each week and if you can manage a double lesson, or two single lessons a week, that is better still. But don’t worry if you can’t manage the extra lessons, as thousands of people have passed before, who have only ever had one driving lesson a week. (Me included!)
If you are lucky enough to be offered private practice, go for it, as the more time spent driving will only be a benefit, and your driving instructor will be able to help you with the best approach to each topic, reducing the time before you are ready for your driving test.
Remember, practise makes perfect.
Golden Rule No.2. Be Prepared For Your Lesson. When the time for your driving lesson comes around again, make sure you are ready for it. Keep a note on your phone to remind you, as “surprise” lessons never really go that well. Your instructor may not be at his best either, if he’s had to wait for you to get ready!
To get in the right frame of mind, think a little about your previous lesson and consider what topic you want to tackle on the next lesson, bearing in mind the previous lesson summary.
Try to avoid late nights and partying the night before your lesson, as this usually leads to a poor learning experience, one that you will regret paying for.
Look after yourself and you will get full value.
The driving instructors at John Lowe Driving will begin each lesson with a recap of what you covered last time, as part of the Client Centred Learning system that they will be using. The discussion will be interactive and you can discuss the topics to be covered in the session.
Do join in with this as it can really assist the instructor in his approach to the lesson. Tell him if you are a little unwell, if you are dreading any possible part of the drive, or anything else that could have a bearing on the success of the session.
Your instructor will be asking questions to establish your understanding of the last lesson and to test your knowledge of the agreed subject of the current lesson.
This brief two way conversation is very important to ensure that you receive a top quality lesson and full value for money.
Golden Rule No.4. Have An Objective. Each driving lesson must have an objective – “What are we going to achieve today?” This will be agreed with your instructor at the beginning of the session, having had a recap of the previous lesson, and a plan of the lesson will develop between the two of you for the topic to be covered and how it will move you towards your final goal.
This most important and will considerably reduce your learning time. Your progress will be evaluated on a regular basis during the lesson, with adjustments made where necessary and you will quickly see how this system will transform your driving.
Remember, it is a two way system, so keep asking questions and going over it as much as you need until you feel you have reached the objective.
Golden Rule No.5. Your Lesson Should Be Structured. Your driving lesson will follow a structure as it progresses, being easy to start with and then increasing in difficulty as things progress. Your instructor will be asking you questions throughout, to check your confidence and understanding. The aim of the instructor is to gradually transfer the responsibility of the task to you.
Your instructor will normally start each new topic with a talk through to ensure you are meeting the objectives correctly.
The next stage of the lesson will be prompted questions, where you will be asked about your actions before you do it, so that it can be corrected if necessary. At this stage, you have started to take responsibility for the control.
The final stage will be independent practice where you will drive unaided with the instructor keeping quiet. But don’t worry, your instructor will still be alert and ready to step in verbally or with dual controls if things don’t go to plan!
These building blocks can reduce a difficult task into something quite manageable very rapidly and you will feel that you have had a quality lesson, having been fully involved from the start.
Golden Rule No.6. Talk It Through At The End. You will have gained new skills, knowledge and understanding during your driving lesson and to help emphasise the vital points and to enable you to retain as much as possible from the lesson, your instructor will summarise your progress.
Do join in with this chat and you will see the progress that has been made. Your instructor will take you back to the objective and you can agree together how your driving has advanced.
If your objective has not been achieved in full, don’t worry, this sometimes happens, but after this chat you will know why and it can lay a basis for the next lesson, where you will have a chance to crack the problem, and you will!
Golden Rule No.7. Self Evaluate, Be Ready and Listen. Unfortunately, it’s no good turning up for your driving test with your fingers crossed, hoping for the best. This approach will only lead to an unhappy conclusion to a lot of effort.
Have you been honest with yourself?
Are you still making mistakes on your lessons? Are the mistakes clustered around the same subjects? Are there any serious errors occurring? If so, you are not ready for your test. It is far better for you to wait until these faults are a thing of the past (it will happen!), and you will be able to tackle your test with confidence. Take a look at our test passes to see the number of first time passes we achieve at John Lowe Driving. There is no reason at all for you to not be one of them.
Finally, listen to the advice of your instructor.
Driving Instructors are highly trained and experienced at assessing when you are ready for your driving test, you are paying for professional advice, so it would be wise to listen to it.
You will know if you are still making mistakes and so will your instructor who will be reluctant to take you to test on that basis. He/she will have been working with you and building a rapport over a period of time and the last thing your instructor or you want is a test fail. Your driving instructor will have a massive incentive to get you a 1st time pass as his/her reputation depends on a high pass rate and the drive home from a failed test is the worst feeling in the world.
We wish you every success and remember, there is no reason why you should not achieve a first time pass, if you follow the seven golden rules.
In order to earn your much wanted full driving licence, you will have to pass a series of tests.
These tests are in three separate parts: the theory test, hazard perception test and practical driving test.
All three parts must be passed before a full licence is granted.
For full details of these tests, go to, Learning To Drive – The Complete Journey.
Set out below are the “Show Me / Tell Me” questions used in the driving test.
The questions are in black, the answers, or actions are in red. You will be asked one “show me” and one “tell me” question at the beginning of the test.
1. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check the engine has enough oil.
Identify dip stick/oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum/maximum markers.
2. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check the engine has the correct level.
Identify high/low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.
3. Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.
Identify reservoir and explain how to check level.
4. Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
Identify reservoir, check level against high/low markings.
5. Tell me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car.
Operate brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows, garage doors etc or ask someone to help.
6. Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.
7. Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
No cuts or bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.
8. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
Manufacturers guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget your spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.
9. Show me/explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
If the steering becomes heavy the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey two simple checks can be made. Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.
10. Show me how you would check that the headlights and tail lights are working.
Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), walk round vehicle.
11. Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.
Apply the indicators or hazard warning switch and check functioning of all indicators.
12. Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only).
Check is carried out by using control (turn on ignition if necessary).
13. Show me how you would check the parking brake for excessive wear.
Demonstrate by applying parking brake that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.
14. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash
The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is as least as high as the eye or top of he ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. N.B. some restraints may not be adjustable.
15. Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washers and wipers.
Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen (turn ignition on if necessary)
16. Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively, this should include both front and rear screens.
Set all relevant controls including: fan, temperature, air direction/source and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows. Engine does not have to be started for this demonstration.
17. Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it/them. (no need to exit vehicle)
Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary.) check warning light is on. Explain use.
18. Tell me how you would know if there is a problem with your anti lock breaking system.
Warning light should illuminate if there is a problem with the anti lock breaking system.
19. Show me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on from inside the car.
Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.
There is no need to pay a test booking fee, if you book online, simply……
Use the official DVSA booking site,which can be found online and on this website, if you go to “useful links” and is a free service, one that you can rely on.
The importance of proper use of mirrors is often underestimated.
Using the mirrors properly and effectively has to be part of a basic Mirror- Signal- Manouevre routine. You must always know how your driving is likely to affect following traffic.
The MSM routine includes what you see in the mirrors and acting appropriately. Regular and sensible use of the mirrors is an essential element of safe driving.
The MSM routine should be an essential part of your driving. Nobody has yet passed a driving test who is not using MSM.
Let’s look at the reasons why you should check your mirrors.
Use of mirrors before signalling:
Before you apply as signal, it is vital that you know what is happening around you.
What if a motorbike is overtaking and you suddenly apply a signal, he could panic if he thinks you haven’t seen him resulting in a sudden change of direction. By noticing the motorbike in the mirrors, you would have the option to delay the signal and let him pass. Even better would be to notice the motorbike gaining on you with early mirror use and you could then apply the signal at an earlier stage to warn of your intentions.
Use of mirrors before changing direction:
Use of mirrors before changing direction is vital to check what is happening beside you.Think of the numerous times you have to change lanes, or pass a parked vehicle during an average drive. The routes chosen in the driving test will certainly include these requirements.
Use of mirrors before slowing down:
Imagine approaching a pedestrian crossing where people are stood waiting to cross, the lights could change at any time and a mirror check shows a vehicle very close behind. You could use the information gained to slow in anticipation of a light change, this will also encourage the following vehicle to slow also. Failure to gain this information could result in having to stop suddenly resulting in the following vehicle being unable to stop and possibly crashing in to the back of you.
Use of mirrors before speeding up:
Think of a situation where you have just emerged in to a new road (minor to major) and once straightened up and checked ahead, the next important issue is what is happening behind. Perhaps you may have misjudged the speed of following traffic and they are approaching faster than you thought. You have the option to accelerate up to the limit (if safe) to get a move on or in a scenario where they have already committed to an overtake, you could then choose to slow and enable them to pass safely. Without the information from the mirrors you would be unaware and as a result be involved in a possible crash.
Your driving instructor at John Lowe Driving will make safe and proper use of mirrors a priority from your very first lesson and so correct use will quickly become normal meaning that you will avoid the “mirror problems” that ruin so many driving tests.
Driving lessons can vary enormously in the quality and content that they offer, depending on the individual instructor that you have.
Many people make the understandable mistake in seeking the cheapest driving lessons, only to realise much later that it has ended up as a frustrating and expensive experience, sometimes being with an instructor who is not fully qualified, or has not kept up to date with the latest requirements.
Here at John Lowe Driving we are amazed at how many times the first question we are asked revolves around driving lesson prices instead of the learning experience that can be expected.
We fully appreciate that prices have to be sensible and always seek to be competitive, but beware the very cheap offers, as there will probably be an underlying reason for them and you can end up with poor service and a dismal learning experience.
Nationally, around 30% of learner drivers will change their driving instructor or driving school before taking their practical test for a variety of reasons and we receive several calls each week from unhappy students wanting to join us, who have been let down elsewhere.
How to evaluate whether you are getting the most benefit from a driving lesson:
Driving lessons should begin with an interactive discussion to establish your state of learning and explore any issues that may influence the driving session. Following this would be a discussion as to what topics you would like to cover and use of Q & A to establish your theory knowledge of the subject to be covered.
A risk plan would then be devised as to who is going to take responsibility for what actions: For example – is the instructor going to talk you through the entire topic or are you going to share the responsibility for your actions and have the instructor coach you with well guided questions. It extremely important to understand this aspect to avoid over or under instruction.
After a short period of practice, a brief stop to evaluate what has been learnt before deciding on the next phase of the lesson. It could be that you both agree that further practice would be beneficial or perhaps the plan would be to move to the next stage and attempt a spell of independent driving.
It is vital that you are always involved in the planning process to gain the maximum benefit from your driving lesson.
Not all driving instructors are adapting this type of client centred learning as many are yet to take the up-to-date training required and this is often reflected in the price they will charge for their Driving lessons.
Lisa, our office manager will be very keen to explore your circumstances and will discuss your availability to take regular driving lessons, as continuity is crucial to speed up your learning process. She will also discuss any previous experience that you may have or whether you are a complete beginner, in order to team you up with the most suitable instructor. You may prefer a female driving instructor for example. We find that many students that call have already been to our “Meet the Team” section in the “About Us” page to choose an instructor based on their individual customer reviews.
John Lowe Driving offers driving lessons in the following areas:
Gloucester; Churchdown; Brockworth; Abbeymead; Quedgeley and all locations between.
In summary, I suggest that you perform as much research as possible before making that all important choice of who you will trust with your tuition. More and more people are now turning to customer reviews to get an independent and unbiased view of the services and tuition on offer.
I wish you every success with your driving and a 1st time pass.
“My driving lessons went really well and I’m delighted to have recently passed first time, which is really great for me as I’m choosing universities at the moment and won’t have to rely on public transport to get around the country, especially in this winter weather. My instructor, Tom Lowe was great, getting me really well prepared, leaving nothing to chance, always a fun and interesting lesson. If anybody is thinking of learning to drive in the Gloucester area, I really recommend John Lowe Driving and you won’t find a better instructor than Tom.”