Taking either your theory or practical test can be nerve-racking for anyone, I was so nervous for my theory that I didn’t pass it until my third time. Luckily my practical skills were much better and I passed first time, so I thought I would share my tips on how to calm the nerves.
Apps – Some apps are free and some you have to pay for, but they are worth the price. I did not download apps until I was revising for my third test and it saved my life, I would not have passed without them. A helpful feature to some of the apps is that they have tests, similar to the actual theory test, which you can take as many times as you want. These are very beneficial because it takes the stress away from being sat in the examination room as you now know what the test is like. There is also the fact that with it being an app, you can revise whenever and where ever you are so you can fit in a lot of revision time.
Books – I know there are some people who rather use an app and never want to pick up a book but they are equally as helpful. If you plan on keeping the books then you can annotate and highlight the notes in them so it is easier to remember and the important facts that you want to remember stand out. I bought a road signs book and that was useful as I gave the book to someone in my household and told them to cover the writing underneath, turn the book to me so I could guess the road sign. This helped when questions about road signs came up on the theory.
Mind maps for diagrams – This may take you back to your GCSE days but are a great way to help with your memory. They are the best way to draw diagrams, such as crossroads or T junctions, as they aid the visual aspects of remembering. I focused one side on one topic and then stuck them to my walls, this way whenever I stood getting ready or putting make-up on, I could quickly get some revision in. As childish as you may think this is, I did at first, but trust me they really do work.
Family or friends – Whoever you live with can aid you with revision in two ways. The first way is that they can assist is by testing you. I mentioned in an earlier tip that I asked people to help me with road signs, I also made revision cards with scenarios of driving on the road and would get people to read them to me and check that I got the answer right. The second way they can help is by letting you teach them. I am sure you have heard your tutor tell you countless times that teaching someone is the best way to learn, well they were right. I think my mum got sick of me sitting her down and letting me teach her but there were moments when I was sat in the theory test and only remembered the answer because I remembered how I taught it.
Ask questions – Whenever you are in a car with someone, ask them why they did certain things. You may understand a rule or manoeuvre more if you hear someone you know tell you about it. For example, I only discovered what under-taking was after asking my mum why she wouldn’t go past this car on the motorway. Way back during Secondary School, my German teacher told me that to fully understand and remember something, you have to hear it in three different contexts. So ask your tutor to explain, ask someone close to you to explain and then ask yourself.
Take a test drive – I was lucky enough to have my mum buy me my car as my 17th birthday present. If you are insured on a car, have a provisional drivers license and are able to get someone who has been driving for more than three years to sit in the passenger seat, then you can go out for test drives. One of the most effective ways on how to learn how to drive, it also makes you less nervous when taking your test and you will have experience of driving.
YouTube videos – I never even thought to watch them until my driving instructor set me some homework to watch a couple before sessions. There are a lot of videos online for many, many different aspects of driving and they take you through it step by step. Like taking a practise drive, this helps lower your nerves because you are watching someone, so you can visualise what it looks like and, therefore, it will not be new to you. There is also the fact that you can view it as many times as you want, so it is not like a one time thing you do with your instructor. I found it most helpful if you search for the same or similar car that you are learning in.
Get as much out of your driving lessons – As silly as this ones seems, do try and use your lessons as much as you can. The instructor you have booked in with is dedicating the hour/two hours solely to you, this is your time with them not their time with you. If you want to go over something you did not understand or are not comfortable with, ask! I hated doing right turns at junctions and always got so nervous whenever my instructor made me do them. However, I knew that if I did not practise them that I would never get over my anxiety so for three weeks in a row I asked my instructor if we could practise right turns.