Taking your driving test: how to pass the first time around


Whether you’re a freshman or sophomore high school student, a parent of a student or — on a rare occasion — a driver seeking to having their privileges restored, a driving test can be stressful and exciting at the same time. Depending on the scenario, the overall situation will be different.

You may be a freshman or sophomore in high school who spend several months studying coursework in the classroom and are in the process of completing on-the-road training via a driver’s education instructor. In most cases, you may have to complete a set number of hours in supplemental driving training with a parent or guardian. You feel you may be ready to take the official driving test.

Depending on the driving laws in your state, you may only have to take a driving test inside a vehicle with an employee of your local department of motor vehicles. In others, a written test may be required prior to taking the driving test.

Taking the test marks a moment to prove whether you are truly road-ready. Whether you or your teenager is taking their test this year, here are some helpful tips to help you successfully pass:

Be early, but not too early

When taking your test, it is important to arrive on time. Not only will it present yourself a good impression on the testing administrator and put them in a good mood, it will make for a less stressful test.

It is preferred that you arrive no earlier than 15 minutes prior to the test, ready to go. Depending on the laws, you may be required to arrive upwards to an hour earlier to take a written exam. It is vital that you go to the bathroom and get some last-minute rules of the road learned before getting in the car for the test.

Take a quick lesson beforehand

If you’re worried about test taking and really want to avoid repeating all the steps in the testing process, it may be helpful and vital to get driving tips and other info from your instructor or parent — not the testing administrator at the DMV — by taking a quick drive prior to the test.

This should allow for you to loosen up in the car and make you more comfortable being behind the wheel during the test.

Use your testing administrator’s car

Although uncommon, there are some states (less than five) that do provide vehicles at the DMV for testing. In states like Illinois, state law dictates that driving tests will need to be completed in a legally licensed and insured vehicle owned by the test taker or the parent or legal guardian of the test taker.

Note that all cars are different and may be difficult if you’ve been practicing driving with a vehicle with an automatic transmission and the test vehicle has a manual transmission. (This is not a common scenario either.)

You’ll get to know the noises your car makes when it needs to change gears and you’ll know the biting point off by heart. (This is easily avoided with an automatic transmission.)

This is why using a car you know is crucial.

Take it slow

Don’t stress out. It might be a lot easier said than done, but the worst thing you can do for yourself when you are trying to drive safely is to freak out and get nervous.

It is understandable to be worried about your test, but you need to also bear in mind that you are on a real road and you need to stay calm to be safe to everyone around you. Take things slow and think actions through as you do them.

Trust in yourself

Trust is the ultimate weapon you have as a driver. You need to enter that test with a mindset that you know what you are doing and that you are a great driver. It might not be completely true, but by having confidence and trust you are much more likely to succeed.

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