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Dealing With Driving Test Nerves

In my 8 years experience as a driving instructor I know all learners experience nervousness to some degree especially just before their driving test. You get over the initial fear of doing something new, learn all the road rules and controls of the car, book the test and then it hits you “oh oh, I've got my test in a week!”

For some people mental preparation for the test is just as important as the actual drive. If you let nerves get out of control it can adversely affect your driving. Here are some tips to help minimise the effects:

  • have everything ready the night before the test. Provisional License, test and lesson time and look over the ‘Show me, tell me questions.’

  • approach the test like it is just another lesson only with a different instructor.

  • accept you have no control over where the examiner will take you. The only thing you know for sure is that after answering two driver questions you will move off, so focus on that. Imagine being outside the test centre preparing the car and think about what observations you will need. Once you start moving you will automatically do what you have learned during all those driving lessons.

  • breathing exercises; having a relaxed, focused mind and body state is key to driving. At first I was sceptical but I know first hand the positive effect breathing exercises can have on our bodies and mind. These are a must for those experiencing extreme pretest nerves. They can be done while waiting in the test centre and when in the car. See this link for the NHS website.

  • for the test, remember your examiner doesn't want you to fail.

  • try to picture yourself in the car driving, being in the moment, totally focused on the road in front and the space around your vehicle and easily dealing with any situation that arises.

  • remember you have already done the hard work during your driving lessons. You know how to drive and your instructor has told you you are ready, all you have to do now is just go out and drive.

  • bare in mind failing your driving test isn't like school or uni exams. If things don't go the way you hope you can sit it again. You only have to wait 10 working days. Sure it's annoying to have to pay again, but at least you will have gain the experience and know what to expect next time.

If you have found any of these tips helpful please share. Thanks!

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