You’ve been taking driving lessons for months, saving and practicing, investing around £1000 on average between your lessons and the test fees and now, as the date of the test rolls around, suddenly you face a new hurdle, nerves!
Statistics show that a large percentage of fails come from bad technique and preparation (possibly taking lessons from a family member rather than a qualified teacher) but not far behind that, nerves are at the root of the problem. Whether you find you’re just doubting yourself, shaking or sweaty, struggling to focus, or having a memory blank, here are some tips as to how to conquer your nerves so that you can change those plates from an L to an R in no time.
Dealing with driving test nerves
Fail to prepare: prepare to fail
Prepare yourself by taking some time to visit the test centre, drive the roads around it, and ask your driving instructor to take you to the most used routes to practice before your test. You will feel more comfortable during the test if you have had at least one experience with it. In those final lessons, focus on the manoeuvres that you are least confident about. Practicing them over and over again will give you more confidence to pull them off perfectly on the day.
Don’t go looking for horror stories
Try not to give friends and family the chance to share their test horror stories. As helpful as they are trying to be, their tales of awkward moments and failures will not help you on the day, so try to remain focused on what you can do without the distraction of other people’s fails.
Keep it a secret
This one can prove tricky but try and keep your test details under your hat. The less people that know your date and time the better. While they will think they’re being supportive, it can put more pressure on you and if you do happen to fail, better just to take that in your stride without having to discuss it too much.
Eat, sleep, relax
Consider this your rule for anything stressful, get a good night’s sleep, and make sure you eat and drink well before your test. It’s easy to rush out of the house on an empty stomach or rely too much on coffee but that won’t help your nerves. Instead, giving yourself time for a light breakfast, ideally incorporating a banana (whose slow release energy will keep you feeling calmer for longer) and staying hydrated will be of much more help. Also make sure you go to the loo before you leave the house – that’s another distraction you can do without during your test.
Give yourself time
Taking your test is already stress-inducing so don’t add to this by running late. Plan ahead and leave yourself a good amount of time to reach the test centre ahead of your slot, taking into consideration rush hour, school-run times etc.
Make yourself comfortable
It’s your test so think about what you can do to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Perhaps open the window for a little air, ensure your seat is in the right position for you and all mirrors are correctly in place for you.
Mind over matter
Mental trickery can come in handy here. Try and pretend that you’re just taking a normal lesson. If you’ve put in the practice, you’ve got this. It doesn’t need to be any different than the lessons you’ve taken in preparation, so keep telling yourself that.
Mantras under pressure
The little mantras your instructor has drilled into you during your lessons will come in handy now. If you’ve got used to thinking: Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre, keep this in mind and it will guide you through each step every time.
Ask, ask, ask
The instructor is not the enemy. If you have questions, ask them. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation. Find a way to normalise your interactions with the instructor so that you feel more comfortable and realise that they are as hopeful as you are for a pass!
Don’t be too hard on yourself
It’s a test, an important test, but a test nonetheless, and if you happen to fail this time, that’s okay. (Remember our tip above: this is a lot easier to take if your mates didn’t know when your test was!) If you thought you were ready before your first attempt, don’t doubt yourself: you’re even more ready now, with a test under your belt, so book yourself another slot straight away, think about how you can learn from your test experience and try to be kind to yourself. You will get there and you can be all the more proud of yourself then.
Abbey Insurance Brokers
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