What exactly do I mean when I say "you've passed before you start"?
When the examiner comes out to meet you at the test centre and takes you out on your test, she or he will have with them the commonly feared test marking sheet.
As you drive the examiner will watch you and assess everything you do, that's what they have to do to decide whether or not to give you a full driving licence.
You'll be assessed on various aspects of your driving, particularly your use of the Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre routine and the exercises you'll be asked to complete.
So, how does the marking sheet work? Do you have to come up to some pre-determined standard?
A Clean Sheet
When your test begins the marking sheet the examiner has with them will be what's commonly referred to as "a clean sheet". The sheet has tick box areas and spaces for comments for the examiner to use, but none of these have any marks in them.
Here's how it works.
- When you do something well, the examiner does not mark the sheet. Not at all. You don't have to top up good marks in certain areas
- If you make a driving fault the examiner marks the sheet to show what particular fault they observed.
So, only faults are noted down, nothing else.
Be aware that the examiner will watch you closely. This shouldn't upset you or put you off, and your instructor should ensure that you get plenty of experience.
What Does This Mean?
Think about it. What this really means is that when you first start your test, the examiner assumes that you've already passed. I know that may sound strange, but it is the best way to think about it.
You start our with a clean sheet. Only faults are marked. Your aim as the driver is to stay safe, concentrate on what you're doing and to try to keep a clean sheet.
It means that you're already assumed to be a good driver before the test even starts. You do not have to be fantastic and try to get good marks, there aren't any good marks, you just have to stay away from driving faults.
You don't have to prove anything to anyone, you just have to maintain the standard that's expected of a good safe driver.
What Can The Examiner Do To Fail Me?
The examiner can do nothing at all to fail you. Only you can fail you. You are in complete and total control of the result of your test.
The examiner will never try to trick you, confuse you or make things difficult for you. They ask you to do certain things and to drive in certain areas because their job is to assess your driving to give you a full driving licence. How can they do that if they don't make sure that you can actually drive?
When the examiner asks you to do certain things it's not because they are being awkward and wanting you to fail. It's because they are helping you to pass. They need to see you do certain things so you get the pass you want.
Rather than thinking negatively about your driving test, try to think positively. Keep in mind that you have a clean sheet when you start. Your job is just to keep the sheet as clean as you can.
If you drive well and steer clear of serious or dangerous driving errors, there's no reason what so ever for you not to pass your driving test.