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Cardrome Learner Centre


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Theory Test

Being a good driver is about more than handling a car. You also need to know what road-signs mean, what makes for good road etiquette and how to anticipate dangers before they happen. This is why the Theory Test is designed to help you 'read the road'.

It's a sad but true fact that one in five new drivers have an accident in their first year. But research shows just three hours of 'hazard perception training' can really reduce the accident rate of new drivers.

The test is made up of two parts - a multiple-choice section and a hazard perception section. You'll need to pass both bits before you can book a driving test.

What to expect on the day:

Don't get caught out on the day – take a few minutes to read this and be better prepared.

Registering for your test - When you arrive at the test centre, you'll need to register so don't forget your provisional driving licence and proof of ID. Your booking letter will also tell you what to take. You'll then be shown to a booth with a computer that's ready for your test.

Multiple choice questions - In the booth, you'll find instructions on how to use the computer. You can even do a 15-minute practice test to get used to it. For the actual test, you'll have a maximum of 57 minutes unless you have a special requirement.

To pass, you'll need to get 43 out of 50 answers correct. All the questions are multiple choice and you touch the screen to choose the answers you want.

Hazard perception test - The hazard perception section of the test will begin automatically after the multiple choice. A tutorial video will show what you need to do. The test itself is made up of 14 minute-long video clips featuring various hazards. You respond by clicking the mouse to avoid the developing hazards – the faster you respond, the higher your score.

You'll see 15 developing hazards in total (meaning one clip has two developing hazards), each with a maximum of five marks. For car drivers you'll need to get 44 questions right out of a possible 75.

Getting your results - After the test, you go back to the waiting room and we'll bring your results through. You'll need to pass both bits of the test in the same session to pass your Theory test. If you pass the Theory, you'll need to pass the Practical test within two years to get a driving licence.

Practical Test

What's the test like? - If you're well prepared, the test should be very straightforward. It'll last around 40 minutes and is conducted by a DSA examiner. The test will include both 'Show me, Tell me' questions and driving on public roads.

Show me, Tell me - The DSA show me, tell me questions test your knowledge on basic car maintenance and safety. At the start of the practical driving test the Show me, Tell me questions will be asked. The driving test examiner will ask you two questions, one show me and one tell me question. Answer any of these two questions incorrectly and you will gain one driving test fault. There are 19 different questions, which can be asked in 18 different combinations.

What you're tested on - First off, the examiner will test your eyesight by asking you to read a number plate from a distance. Before setting off, they'll also ask you a couple of questions about the car (Show me, Tell me) so you can prove you know it's safe to drive. But mostly the test will be about showing you can drive competently and safely – and complete a series of manoeuvres.

About your test car - A test car has to be reliable and meet a series of legal requirements. When you take your test with Cardrome, all this is taken care of. But if you decide to use your own car, you'll have to make sure it's roadworthy, with a full MOT certificate if it's over three years old – and it must be fully insured.

Independent driving - For about 10 minutes of the test you'll be asked to drive on your own without any help from the examiner while the car is moving. The examiner will ask you to park the car and then will give you up to 3 directions to follow such as "Take the next left, 2nd right then 3rd right". They may alternatively just ask you to drive to the nearest train station or an area of the city which will be sign posted. You do not need to know the area, read maps or use a sat nav. Any locations you're asked to drive to will be signed. This has been designed with dyslexia and other conditions in mind do don't worry if you have to ask for more help.

Another way it will be done is a mixture of directions and instructions such as "Take the 3rd left, 2nd right and then follow road signs to Upminster". For some of these directions you'll be given a very basic diagram to help recognize the layout of the roads you'll come across. The examiner can write down the place name so you know how it's spelt on signs, if you want them to do this then just ask. After each set of directions you'll be asked to pull over and given another set.

You are not marked on going the wrong way - It doesn't matter how many wrong turns you make or if you end up in completely the wrong place. The worst thing you can do on this part of the test is to suddenly change your mind. Let's say you're approaching a left turn and at the last minute you see the sign saying that's the way you want to go. Carrying on will just mean you take a different route, suddenly braking and swerving can cause chaos. You are only marked as normal so hitting a kerb, swerving etc is still bad but your destination is irrelevant.

If you start to go the wrong way, just carry on and then the examiner will help you get back on track. If you're coming up to a roundabout and you miss the sign, just say you haven't seen the sign and go left or continue in whichever lane you're in. You will not fail, you will not be marked down. The whole idea of this part of the test is to simulate being on your own and there will be plenty of times when you miss signs or go the wrong way, it doesn't matter!

So to sum up, the only real difference is that instead of being given step-by-step directions you'll just have to remember up to 3 per time for a short section of the test. This has been done by most instructors for years anyway, it's not unusual to give pupils a few directions to remember.

Manoeuvre changes - You will only do one manoeuvre on a test instead of two. Current test routes are based on having to stick around quiet housing estates so there are enough opportunities to do manoeuvres. This will give you the chance to travel much further away from the centre so you may well drive in areas you have never seen before which will prove you are not just memorizing test roads and routes.

Tests will now include more things like high streets, right turns and crossroads as there is more time to cover them. As with the independent driving though, this makes no difference if you have learned to drive properly as you should already be able to handle these things.

Government Fees

Theory Test Fee £25 I Practical Test Fee £63

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Upper Rainham Road Hornchurch Essex RM12 4EU

Office Hours 9am to 5pm (answering machine out of hours) Self Tuition 9am to 9pm every day

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