A Driving Instructor's Blog

Test routes are no longer published for Nottingham, or anywhere else – they stopped publishing them in 2010.

If you’re an instructor, it isn’t difficult to work out where the examiners go. To begin with, anywhere near the test centre is bound to be on most of the routes. And if you know the examiners, you’ll see them from time to time as you conduct your lessons, so you can add whatever the location to your memory bank. You can also ask your pupils where they went after their tests. If you’re really desperate to know the exact routes you can sit in on tests and learn that way (and if you know what you’re doing you can even log the route for reference).A logged driving route example

Just doing lessons on test routes is rather stupid. Apart from the fact that you’re cheating your pupils by not teaching them to drive properly, examiners can change routes any time they want. Pupils who try to memorise test routes are far more likely to fail under those circumstances, because they can’t handle any variation to routes they’ve learned by rote.

However, it is important to have some knowledge of general test routes so that special features can be covered. After all, it doesn’t matter how good someone is at dealing with roundabouts, take them on to the Nottingham Knight or Nuthall roundabouts (for example) without prior practice and there’s a high probability they’ll get it wrong, so you don’t want their first practical experience of either of these to be on the driving test.

I remember when I first became an ADI, and downloading all the published routes at that time. I think I may have tried once to follow a route on my own, but I gave up and thought “sod it”. Since then, I have never bothered. My pupils get to drive all over, and some of the routes we take crisscross with actual test routes, whereas some don’t. I pick up route information from pupils, and if they mention somewhere which could be a problem for others then I make sure I cover it on lessons.

Apart from a handful of “special features” for each test centre, if someone can drive then they will be able to pass wherever they take their test. One of the responsibilities of a good instructor is not to try and persuade them otherwise. Unfortunately, just hanging around on test routes is often good for fuel consumption, and some ADIs prioritise accordingly.

Where can I download test routes?

You can’t. Not unless some ADI has recorded them and is publishing them independently.

Do I need to know the test routes for my test?

No, not in great detail. The examiner will give you directions as necessary. However, if there are one or two awkward features – big roundabouts, steep hills, or so on – then your instructor should know about them and will make sure you know how to handle them.

How many test routes are there?

It varies from test centre to test centre, but there could be 10, 20, or more. You couldn’t possibly memorise all of them – even if you drove down your own street on your test the chances are that might not even notice! You will be nervous, and you will be concentrating. The last thing you want is to have to try and remember a detailed list of directions.

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