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10 Tips To Beat Driving Test Nerves

10 Tips To Beat Driving Test Nerves

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In our third blog on the driving test we look at, possibly the biggest reason most people fail,…nerves.

10 Tips To Beat Driving Test Nerves

  • Have belief in yourself – your instructor believes you will pass, so should you.
  • The examiner is human too – their sole aim in life is not to ensure you fail.
  • Use the silence to help you focus – see the quietness as your ally not your enemy.
  • Keep it simple, do the basics –make sure you’re showing you have the basic skills.
  • Keep calm and carry on – a minor error won't result in a fail, but panicking might.
  • Don’t tell everyone – you can tell all your friends when you’ve passed.
  • Use positive affirmations– I am a good driver, I will pass my test..
  • Practise your manoeuvres – practise, practise, practise.
  • Remember to breathe – don’t hold your breath, breathe deeply and slowly.
  • Have perspective – put your driving test into perspective and it won’t seem so scary.

It’s natural to be nervous when it comes to taking your driving test. You or your parents, grandparent or partner have spent around £1,000 in lessons and test fees to get you to this point; you know you’re a good driver, but the idea of being observed closely, by an examiner, essentially a stranger in your passenger seat, is filling you with dread and giving you butterflies.

Here’s 10 tips, to help you on the day and remember you're not alone, thousands of people every year, feel exactly the way you’re feeling.

Have belief in yourself – your instructor believes you'll pass; so should you.

Remember, to a greater or lesser degree, everyone feels the way you’re feeling now; your instructor wouldn’t have put you in for your test if he or she didn’t believe you were ready; they believe in your ability, so now you need to have belief in yourself.

Don’t let doubts creep in, they’re your enemy and remember if you want your instructor in the car with you when you take your test, that’s OK. Some people like a familiar presence being in the car, whilst for others they feel that with their instructor in the car they’re being judged by two people.

That choice is yours, but remember there’s no advantage in your instructor putting you in for your test before you’re ready, so he or she genuinely believes you can pass. Believe it.

Believe in yourself in cloud writing against a starry sky


The examiner is human too – their sole aim in life is not to ensure you fail.

The examiner is not the enemy. They’re doing their job and they’re honestly not trying to catch you out. Their aim is to ensure that you’re a safe driver and they will be aware that you’re nervous, particularly at the beginning of your test.

Making a good first impression will do no harm and you’ll feel better too; there’s no need to dress up, but equally don’t turn up in your scruffs.

Give a smile, a handshake and a polite hello when you meet your examiner and remember, you’re in a car for around 40 minutes with this person, you’re nervous and that can cause you to sweat; make sure you use plenty of anti-perspirant, keeping you smelling nice and fresh in the confined cabin of the car.


Use the silence to help you focus – see the quietness as your ally not your enemy.

Many of us find silence uncomfortable, so having a passenger who says little other than to give you instructions, can be rather daunting. Remember this is not personal; avoid feeling that the examiner doesn’t like you because they’re not engaging in small talk.

Use the quietness to allow you to fully focus on the road ahead or on the Sat Nav if you’re in that part of the test. Quietness is not a bad thing, it’s your ally not your enemy, use it as such and your driving should benefit.


Keep it simple, do the basics –make sure you’re showing you have the basic skills.

Keep in your head the simple things that will help make your driving safe; mirror, signal manoeuvre and use your mirrors all the time. Often it’s other driver’s actions and your reaction to them that can cause you to fail; keep a look out at all times.

There’s a reason why Hazard Perception forms such a big part of the Theory Test, it’s what keeps you and other road users safe. You need to be looking for potential hazards ahead, from side road junctions and from behind. To do that you need to check your mirrors; they’ll alert you if someone is overtaking you, driving very close behind you or coming up on your outside on a roundabout.

Without them you’re partially road blind, with them you’re a better and safer driver; use them.


Keep calm and carry on – a minor error won't result in a fail, but panicking might.

Perfection is lovely, but in your driving test it’s not obligatory; you’re allowed to make minor mistakes, so if you make an error, just carry on, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed.

All too often you hear a candidate who’s failed say, ‘I knew I’d failed 5 minutes in because I touched the kerb in my parallel parking’ or ‘Because I stalled at a junction’. Neither of these would give you a fail on their own, they’re minor faults and you can have 15 of those.

Don’t write yourself off for one error, put it behind you, keep calm and carry on with the test, you don’t need a totally clean sheet.

Yellow post -it note with Keep Calm and Carry On written on it in black


Don’t tell everyone – you can tell all your friends when you’ve passed.

Don’t put extra pressure on yourself by telling everyone that you’re taking your taking your driving test. You don’t need extra stress and when you pass it will be a brilliant surprise for your friends.

Tell only those people who really need to know; your parents or partner for example; don’t tell your whole friendship group, announce it on Facebook or put it in your Snapchat story, you're just adding the pressure of all those people to your test and there’s no need.

When you’ve passed, you can shout it from the rooftops!


Use positive affirmations – I am a good driver, I will pass my test.

As in most things in life, if you believe things are going to badly and that you’ll fail, then sadly you probably will.

Be mentally positive, you know you’re a good driver, you know your instructor thinks you’re a good driver; so, now you need to tell yourself you’re a good driver. Having belief in yourself is a start, but if you really want to banish those nerves then you need to use positive affirmations.

‘I am a good driver, I will pass my test’; positive affirmations may sound cringe-y, but the technique has been around for 100s of years and it works for many people.

Say these affirmations in your head or out loud (if you’re alone of course), say them daily as soon as you’ve booked your test and don’t let the negative word ‘fail’ enter your head.


Practise your manoeuvres – practise, practise, practise.

Don’t go into your test thinking, ‘I hope parallel parking doesn’t come up’ or ‘I hope they don’t ask me to reverse into a parking bay’; it’ll stop you concentrating on the rest of your test and if one of the manoeuvres comes up, you’ll feel defeated.

Practise, practise, practise, until all the manoeuvres are second nature.

If you find parallel parking a challenge, then keep doing it, over and over again, until it’s second nature; if you hate roundabouts, keep driving round them until you could negotiate one in your sleep.

Make sure there's no aspect of your driving that’s troubling you, then you'll feel ready and if you feel ready, your nerves will subside.


Remember to breathe – don’t hold your breath; breathe deeply and slowly.

Nervousness can make us hold our breath or breathe too quickly and shallowly; do this and you’ll feel dizzy, which is definitely not something you want to be feeling on your driving test.

Shallow, quick breathing or holding your breath, will only increase your anxiety, so, focus on taking deep breaths, right down into your stomach, expanding it and then using your tummy muscles to push all the air out of your lungs.

Do this for a couple of minutes and though it’s such a simple breathing technique, it will really help.

Carved stone heart with the word Breathe engraved on it


Have perspective – put your driving test into perspective and it won’t seem so scary.

Right now your driving test seems like the most important thing in your world, so, try and put it into a wider context, it’s just a test; other much more important things will have happened in your life and will happen in the future, this is just a test and one that you’re well prepared for.

It’s not the be all and end all of your life, keep it in perspective and you’ll feel much calmer.

CHECK OUT OUR TIPS FOR PASSING YOUR TEST CHECK OUT THE PASS RATE IN YOUR AREA


Follow these simple tips and you’ll be in control, not your nerves giving you the best possible chance to waving the Driving Test Pass Certificate in the air!

Good luck!