5 Common Concerns When Getting Ready for Your Theory and Driving Test During COVID
Over the past 9 months the ability to book and sit your driving theory test or practical test has changed so many times and impacted on the plans and hopes of so many of our learners in ways never before seen before in our 25 years of delivering learner driver training. Yes, it has never been a smooth process but some of the challenges are, to coin a well-worn phrase, unprecedented.
Listening over the last few months to our pupils and instructors’ stories we have been hearing similar concerns raised and decided to write this blog to hopefully shed some light on what you can do in preparation for sitting your driving theory and practical test.
Concern # 1“There are no theory tests available in my area”
You need to pass your theory test before you can sit your practical test. Recently theory tests available in our area (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) are very limited due to restrictions on numbers in test centres and it prevents learners from progressing further, i.e. looking for suitable date for their practical driving test.
There are several factors impacting on the theory test booking system at present and that it may take a few months to smooth out. We believe that a significant number of theory tests are booked by learners trying to make sure they have a date in their diary but not necessarily being ready to sit the theory test. We think those theory tests that are booked ‘just in case’ will result in some of those tests being cancelled and ready for grabs for other people who are ready to sit a theory test. So, we strongly encourage you to keep a regular look out for cancellations.
Current theory test pass rate sits at 47.1%. So over half of the people who sit the test end up failing! To have a serious attempt at passing the test, put all your effort in practicing the multiple-choice questions and hazard perceptions videos to the point where you score 90% and over in your mock theory tests. It will save you paying twice too!
We have linked online available resources for studies at the end of this post.
Concern # 2“There are no practical driving tests available in my area”
Whether you are just starting your driving lessons, close to or completely test ready this concern is shared by both our instructors and pupils as it greatly impacts the ability to progress through to the final step.
Based on instructors’ information, it looks like practical test dates locally are backed up until February 2021.
We often come across the situation when pupils book their driving tests first before even taking driving lessons or having a driving instructor to help them prepare for their test. “Can I get an instructor to take me for my test next week?”, “Can I get a lesson before my test and a vehicle for my test next week?” It would not be a problem under usual circumstances, however, at the moment immediate availability of driving lessons is extremely limited and often with a heavy heart we have to tell potential pupils that we have no one immediately available. As a result of this, some pupils decide to cancel their practical test.
Currently, DVSA are reopening test availability on a rolling 6 week window, therefore if you do not see tests available now, please keep a close eye on cancellations and release of new test dates.
Concern # 3“Is it possible to do an intensive course?”
In short, yes, but it will require some additional arrangements to get you through the training and testing. First of all, if you wish to go this route, you must have passed a theory test before committing to driving lessons. This will allow you to look for the practical test date or suitable cancellation and book it without delay. What we recommend is booking your training hours and use 2/3 of your booked hours for training and get almost test ready and then use the 1/3 of remaining hours closer to your test date which will give you a chance to polish up your driving and recap on test routes. This approach has worked in the past when there were delays in test availability due to high volume of applications.
Concern # 4“My instructor won’t take me to the test (or is unavailable)”
This is a two layered situation. Firstly, is a pupil really ready for their test? Secondly, what are the reasons for instructor to refuse to take them for their test?
It is often that pupils come to us having had driving lessons previously or even having a practical test date booked before onboarding. After a first screening lesson our instructors are able to assess a pupil’s test readiness and areas requiring more work to be able to demonstrate the required standard during the test. Sometimes, it is not possible to get pupils ready for their booked test date and our trainers will be open and transparent about that. We want you to pass!
“What do you do if someone has already booked a test but you know they are not ready for it and yet they want to do it anyway? Where do you stand?” - these are the questions our trainers ask themselves frequently.
Instructors have to protect their own license and reputation as an Approved Driving Instructor and they are hold accountable for the quality of standard the pupil is being presented for the test by external government bodies. All test results are recorded against an instructor’s licence. Therefore, they must feel confident that pupils are not only able to pass their driving test but also are able to drive in a safe manner thereafter. If an instructor thinks that their pupil is not test ready, they will share their concerns openly and if that pupil decides to go for their test regardless, our instructors may suggest that they use another vehicle to do so.
Our advice is that you work in tandem with your instructor and make sure that you are going for you are test ready and able to drive safely after you receive your driving licence.
Concern # 5“Am I safe during the lessons?”
With the outbreak of the virus we had to rethink how we plan and deliver services and complete risk assessments that are regularly reviewed. To ensure that we do everything possible to keep our learners and instructors safe we have a few rules in place:
- instructors and pupils must wear adequate personal protective equipment to protect each other from virus transmission. Learners must bring their own PPE. If they don’t comply with PPE, they won’t be given a lesson;
- each pupil is asked to inform their instructor if they have experienced any Covid symptoms prior to taking their lesson;
- after each lesson the training vehicle is cleaned down;
- regular hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available,
- instructor and client should avoid touching their faces
- vehicle to be kept safely well ventilated during a training session
All instructors have PPE – wipes, sanitiser, masks and are following protocol in terms of cleaning between pupils and keeping windows down to allow air flow. We hope this gives further assurance of our readiness to meet you on your lessons!
To summarise actions you can take in order to progress towards independent driving:
- Study for theory test as early as possible and look for cancellations and release of new test dates.
- Keep an eye on practical test availability and look for cancellations and release of new test dates.
- Spread driving lessons over a period of time leaving some hours to polish your driving closer to your test date
- Make sure you are test ready before booking practical driving tests and that you have driving instructor to take you for it.
- Work in tandem with your instructor.
- Wear a mask and wash your hands! #staysafe
We hope that you found the above overview and advice helpful. If you have any questions or concerns that are not covered above, please give us a shout on 08000 151642, WhatsApp or firstname.lastname@example.org
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