Learner drivers were heavily affected during lockdown, with thousands of driving tests postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic. Consequently, the dates available for driving tests are few and far between, meaning there is even more pressure to pass the first time. If you’re experiencing extreme driving test nerves, we have put together eight top tips to help you combat them and increase the likelihood of passing first time.
You should be your own biggest supporter; you wouldn’t be taking your driving test if you weren’t likely to pass, nor would your driving instructor encourage you to take it if they didn’t think you were ready.
Believing in yourself and knowing others believe in you can diminish those driving test nerves. Try practising positive self-talk exercises to keep calm and focused during your test.
Keep it a Secret
The fear of failure and perceived judgement from others can be more of a worry than actually taking the driving test itself. It can be a huge distraction and increase driving test nerves, which can negatively impact your performance on the day. To reduce the pressure, we recommend telling only a small number of people about your driving test.
Timings are Everything
Everyone is unique; we all function better at certain times of the day. It’s therefore important to establish when you are most energised and focused and try to book your test at a similar time. Also, try and avoid months in the year when you may be stressed, for example: during exam periods or when you are moving house. These added stressors will only enhance your driving test nerves.
Fuel your Body & Mind
No matter what time of day you decide to take your test, ensure you’ve had a nourishing snack or meal beforehand. Something as simple as a banana can really help you concentrate as they’re rich in potassium and magnesium, providing the brain with much-needed energy.
It’s equally as important to avoid unhealthy foods before your test. For example, eating sugary, artificial snacks such as sweets could give you an energy rush and then a sugar low, impacting your ability to concentrate. Similarly, you should stay away from caffeine as it will likely enhance your driving test nerves. Instead, try naturally-calming drinks such as camomile tea.
Arrive at the test centre approximately 10 minutes before your test. This way, you have plenty of time to walk into the test centre, register and have a breather before you take your driving test. Equally, you won’t be waiting too long and overthinking.
You’ve spent the last few months preparing for your driving test, so there is no need to over practice on test day. It may be helpful to drive to the test centre, but don’t try and pull off a parallel park, hill start and emergency stop if you don’t need to. Cramming in practice beforehand will only enhance your driving test nerves.
Pretend it’s a Mock
You’re likely to perform at your best if you don’t panic. Therefore, think of your driving test as one of the many mocks you have done previously with your driving instructor. Remember, you’ll never be asked to do anything you haven’t practised already.
There’s No Rush
The driving test is designed to assess how competent you can drive on the roads, not how fast you can do a three-point turn. Take your time when completing manoeuvres, remembering each step of the procedure and to check your mirrors. The examiner will be looking out for whether you complete the manoeuvre safely, so it’s essential to focus and take your time.