A Driving Instructor's Blog

Studying For Your Theory Test

You do not really need anything other than Focus Multimedia’s “Driving Test Success” in order to study for your theory test. The app bundle costs around £5 and contains all the questions and hazard perception clips you need. It is available for Android and iPhone. The app has the ADI questions as well as the normal learner ones – you choose which question bank you want each time you run it.

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If you are serious about understanding what you are studying – and you definitely will be if you’re training to become an ADI, and really ought to be if you’re just learning to drive – then you also need a copy of the Highway Code (HC) and Driving: The Essential Skills (TES).

The HC is available free on the GOV.UK website, but a hard copy is useful to have around. TES is available in hard copy and also as a Kindle ebook.


Booking Your Theory Test

Book your Theory Test using this link. Do not use any booking service on Google or other search engines unless it is the GOV.UK site. They charge you extra and you risk losing your money.

If you want to change your Theory Test booking, use this link. And if you want to check it, use this link.

Remember that during extraordinary situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, there are certain rules you may need to follow, conditions you must meet, and questions to answer, so read the screen carefully.


Booking Your Practical Test

Book and manage your practical driving test using this link. As with the Theory Test, do not use services that appear in Google or other search engines unless it is the GOV.UK website.

Remember that during extraordinary situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, there are certain rules you may need to follow, conditions you must meet, and questions to answer, so read the screen carefully.

You can alter the date and the location of your test up to 8 times, after which you will have to cancel it and book again. You usually have to give three days notice if you can’t make it without losing your fee. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic you can cancel at shorter notice – make sure you read the information clearly, as it may change.


Pass Plus

Pass Plus is still available to those wishing to take a little extra post-test training. It is primarily aimed at new drivers, but any one can do it, and it gets you out on to roads and condition you may not have experienced while you were learning. You may get an insurance discount if you have a Pass Plus certificate.

ADIs who deliver Pass Plus training need to be registered. It doesn’t cost anything, but you do need to buy the Pass Plus refill packs.

If you’re a new driver who wants to do Pass Plus, you just need to arrange it with a suitable ADI. Note that the Pass Plus refill packs contain ten courses-worth of documents. Each course set should consist of a booklet detailing the module, an information sheet, a progress card, and the form that must be completed and sent back by your ADI. You will then be sent a certificate by DVSA.

Do not take Pass Plus lessons from anyone if you are not supplied with these items.


How Much Does It Cost?

As of October 2020, the prices for learner drivers are:

  • Theory Test – £23.00
  • Practical Test (car) – £62.00 weekdays; £75.00 weekends
  • Practical Test (car – extended) – £124.00 weekdays; £150 weekends
  • Practical Test (car + trailer) – £115.00 weekdays; £141.00 weekends

The up-to-date information is always found through this link.

For ADIs and PDIs, as of October 2020, prices are:

  • Part 1 (theory) – £81.00
  • Part 2 (driving) – £111.00
  • Part 3 (instruction) – £111.00
  • Registration/re-registration – £300.00
  • Trainee Licence – £140.00

The latest prices can always be found here.


How To Find Test Cancellations

There are websites which will do this for you, but it will cost you extra if you use them, and as with the ones which charge you extra for booking your test to start with, there is always the possibility they are scam sites. There is no magic involved – the more often you look, the more likely you are to find newly-released tests or tests which others have recently cancelled.

So book a test and check often until you find a better time.


Test Centres And Test Routes

When you book your test you will be given a list of your nearest test centres. Choose the one that your lessons have covered – it’s not a good idea to book a test in an area you’re not familiar with.

Test routes are no longer published. A good driving instructor will know the area and possible routes, and will be able to advise you accordingly.


Having An Interpreter On Your Test

You cannot have an interpreter on your test other than a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. The Theory Test will be conducted in English, Welsh, or British Sign Language.


Special Needs

Special needs candidates take the same theory test as everyone else, though additional facilities are available. Tests can only be conducted in English or Welsh (or British Sign Language). If you are dyslexic or have any other special needs you can have extra time for your Theory Test. You must make the situation clear when you book your test.

Special needs candidates take the same practical test as everyone else, though more time can be allowed. You must let the DVSA know when you book your test. You can only use a BSL interpreter if needed on your practical test – foreign language interpreters are not allowed.


Renewing Your ADI Badge

The procedure for this changes every time I have to do it, so a detailed process is difficult to describe.

Basically, six months before your badge expires, you will be sent an email by DVSA with a link and necessary details for applying for a DBS certificate. It costs around £6.00 and goes through a Post Office which handles these things. That then triggers the final application and you are sent a DBS certificate a week or two later, and DVSA is sent a copy..

Early in the month your badge expires you apply for your renewal online. You need to quote your DBS certificate number.


Booking Tests For Your Pupils

You need to register to book tests for your pupils. This can be useful to avoid having overlapping tests, but it gives you control over your diary if you book tests rather than the pupil. There are pros and cons whoever books them, so the choice is yours.


Checking a Pupil’s Licence

This facility allows a pupil to share their driving licence information. To be honest, it is a pain in the backside getting pupils to use it, and provide you with the necessary codes to check it, but it’s there if you want it.

In theory, it means you can check to see if your suspicion that they’re wanted by the FBI or Interpol is correct. In reality, most of them aren’t.


Changing the address on your licence

Use this link to change the address on your licence. It doesn’t cost anything.


Change/update the photo on your licence

You have to do this every ten years anyway. However, pupils often look completely different to how they did when they applied for their provisional licence and may want to change it for that reason. Use this link to change your licence photo. It costs £14.


DL25 Test Marking Sheet

These days, driving tests are marked using iPads and the results sent by email. However, the old DL25 marking sheet can be downloaded here, and is useful for PDIs and ADIs when giving lessons.


Part 1, 2 and Part 3 ADI Tests

These three items are the bare minimum of study material required for passing the ADI tests. Driving Test Success is an app bundle for either Android or iPhone. The Essential Skills book is also available as a Kindle eBook.


ADI Part 3 Marking Sheets

You can get the new Part 3 marking sheet here. If anyone is interested, the old PST-based sheets are available here.


Find Your Theory Test Certificate Number

If you’ve lost your certificate you can recover the number using the DVSA’s online tool. Click here to get started.


Test Centre Pass Rates

You can download various statistical datasets here. They’re typically in Open Document format, or Excel format.


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