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Common mistakes to avoid in your theory test

21st January 2018 Print
Learner driver

Passing your driving test is one of those coming-of-age moments where you suddenly feel a new wealth of freedom, but let’s not forget the work a learner driver needs to put in before achieving this state of footloose wonder. 

With recent additions to the practical test since 4 December 2017, learner drivers have been required to follow a satnav among presenting other skills – it’s never been harder to acquire a driver’s license. It is therefore best to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for all parts of the learning and testing procedure.

The process of learning to drive can give a rough beating to your bank balance, so make sure you’re shopping around for the best deals (some instructors will give price reductions for block bookings). Plus, if you’re planning on driving outside of your lessons, whether this is with a parent, friend, or in your own car, there are specially designed learner driver insurance plans available which can work out better for your bank. 

Don’t be afraid to take as long as you need with lessons and driving to ensure the best chance at passing first time; the whole process becomes much more costly when you’re paying to retake tests. Practical tests are a mix of skill, knowledge and pure luck on the day – so don’t kick yourself if you don’t make it first time - but the theory test is 100% your knowledge, so hit the books and study hard to ensure you’re fully prepared for any question. 

While there’s the general perception that the theory test is the ‘easy’ part of learning to drive, this is a stage of the process where learners may slip up, failing to fully prepare themselves, and making often easily-avoided errors. 

This article will help you avoid common pitfalls and pass with flying colours!

Here are five commonly made theory test mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Thinking all road signs are self-explanatory 

You need to learn your road signs by the book. Sure, a lot of them are pretty obvious to understand – such as the ‘30’ speed limit sign – but others do require revision, and can look pretty similar to others. For example, ‘no waiting’ and ‘no stopping’ signs, can often appear very similar if they are not understood properly.

2. Being unprepared for ‘In The Event Of…’ questions

These questions often trip up learner drivers as they require you to put yourself in hypothetical situations, which, chances are, you haven’t come across out on the road yet. In these cases, you can’t always go by the book – as you can with road signs – so it’s often best to revise these types of questions using mock tests. Once you’ve got a few under your belt, you’re likely to begin to understand their logic. If in doubt, speak to your driving instructor pre-theory test.

3. Ignoring questions you don’t feel are relevant

Not all your theory test questions will be directly related to signs, roads or other vehicles. For example, they may be about pedestrians: ‘You see a pedestrian with a red and white stick, what does this tell you about the pedestrian?’ This question on its own has no relation to driving, but the answer will determine your next steps as a driver. In this case, the pedestrian is both blind and deaf, thus you should take notice and consider when he or she might tackle crossings.

4. Being too click-happy! 

The second part of the driving theory test is the hazard perception test, a video of interactive scenarios where you must spot potential and developing hazards. Practice the difference between these and rein in on your clicks in anticipation of hazards! The test is to record how well you deal with developing hazards, not everything in sight. Too many clicks and you risk being disqualified, so try to avoid guesswork, use practice apps and adapt it to the real world by verbally pointing out hazards when you’re driving.

5. Listening to family or friends who have been ‘driving longer than you’

Having been driving longer than you doesn’t automatically make them a better driver, and it most certainly doesn’t mean they know their theory! Not only was it perhaps years or decades since they took their test – they are likely to have forgotten some vital information or have become complacent. Even so, the theory test has adapted significantly over the years. In fact, before 1996 there wasn’t a separate theory test, simply a few questions about The Highway Code during the practical driving. They may have some good points to make, but trust your instructor foremost and refer to trustworthy apps and the ever-faithful Highway Code book. 

By taking note of these common mistakes, you’ll increase your chance of passing your theory test first time, saving you money and time.

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Learner driver