It’s not unusual to be nervous before your test and most of us will have experienced feeling nervous and have our own ways of dealing with it but here are some ideas to help you.
Before you take your driving test
Chat to your instructor about how you feel, if there is something you are struggling with ask him to focus on that in the run up to the test.
Practice any manoeuvres which you think need a little more work and focus. Don’t shy away from the parts of driving you find difficult and hope they won’t show up during the test – you’ll need a full skill set to pass.
Visit the driving test centre that you’re going to take the test at, getting familiar with your surroundings will help you feel calmer on the day.
Practice with family and friends as much as you can – they’ll also help to boost your confidence.
Often the fear of telling people you have failed makes you more nervous than the actual test, think about keeping the date and time of your test private to minimise stress. That way, if you pass it’s a great surprise – and if you fail, you don’t have to worry about telling people.
The day before your test
Get some exercise. It’ll help you relax that evening and give you an endorphin boost – great for keeping a positive attitude.
Don’t hit the town the night before – even if you’re feeling anxious, you’ll feel twice as bad the following day – and you might not legally be able to drive. This applies to the night before a driving lesson too!
Get plenty of sleep and book your test for the morning if you’d rather not worry about it all day.
On the day of your test
The trick is to treat it like it’s just another normal day – try and stick to your routine as much as possible, whether that’s going for a job, walking the dog, or just relaxing and watching some TV.
Lots of people book an extra lesson with their instructor before their test so that they have time to be comfortable in the car and feel confident.
Drink plenty of water but steer clear of too much caffeine – you want to feel alert, not totally wired.
Chew Gum – Chewing gum during stressful times has been found to help alertness, reduce anxiety, and reduce stress and salivary cortisol levels. If you are feeling stressed, a piece of gum can help soothe your nerves and give your mouth something to do.
Switch your phone off or turn it to ‘Airplane Mode’ an hour before the test to help clear your mind.
Eat a decent breakfast and dress comfortably – you want to be able to move freely and focus on your driving.
Check the time of your test, the test centre address, and that you can get there in plenty of time to sit down and relax beforehand. Also check you have your driving licence and that the address on it matches the one you used when you booked the test. You won’t be able to take you test if you don’t have it or the details don’t match!
During your test
You might feel you’ll struggle to overcome your driving test nerves – but it can be done. Here are some simple ways to give your driving anxiety the heave-ho – and focus on making the most of your driving test:
The first 12 seconds of the test are crucial – so focus on starting the engine, preparing your car and looking around you as you prepare to move off.
Listen to their instructions – and ask the examiner to repeat them if you don’t understand.
The examiner doesn’t want to see any fancy moves – they’re not expecting showmanship.
If you make a decision which you’re not happy with, you’re allowed to give the examiner an explanation of why you behaved in that way.
If you come across a new situation, don’t panic – take a deep breath and think about your approach before you continue.
If you make a mistake, relax – it doesn’t mean you’ve failed! You’re entitled to 15 minor faults during your test, so there’s room for error.