I never thought I’d be giving advice on passing the driving theory test for cars, let alone any type of test! To start with, I’m rubbish at exams. I’ve never been academic and I’ve never really been good at exams/tests. Secondly, I’m dyspraxic so I previously worried that I’d never be able to drive, especially not a manual car which I’m learning on. When I started driving I dreaded the theory. To start with I found some parts quite hard to remember, and I struggled with motivation to put in the work as I found it so boring, so here are my tips with motivation/revision and how to pass! I’m proud to say I passed second time, it’s a great achievement for me.
(Obviously everyone is different, so the ways people revise are also different. What works for an individual may not work for another, so it’s not the easiest thing to advise people on what’s best as there’s no right or wrong) but I can share some ideas.
1. Highlight and break it down!
With a big chunk of information that you need to learn (stopping distances for me) it can feel a bit daunting. I wrote them down and highlighted them so they were more noticeable and caught my eye every time I was in my room. The brighter colour the better! Then, I broke the distances down and concentrated on one at a time so it wasn’t so overwhelming to learn. This made it much more manageable and easier to remember. I made sure I learnt that one off by heart before I moved onto the next one. The time it takes to learn one may take some time, but that’s ok; there’s no rush!
2. Online revision
It helped me to revise online for a bit every day, and not do too much at once; one test each time is fine. There are a lot of great mock tests that are just like the real thing online, in particular I highly recommend toptests.co.uk. They have lots of tests and some of the questions on there actually appear on the real test. When you get an answer wrong, it fully explains why it was the other answer and it tests you on the ones you got wrong again in the ‘Challenge Bank.’ You can also get it as an app for your phone, perfect for when you’re on the go. Strangely, this website actually made me more motivated to revise as it’s really quick and easy to do each test, and every time I wanted to get 100% which made it a fun challenge! I seriously don’t think I could have passed without it, it was my saviour!
Hazard perception clips are also online, and I kept going over these. To start with, I kept failing these. I failed my first theory test on the hazard perception by 3 marks as I hadn’t practiced these enough; I’d just concentrated on the theory. Each time I did the hazard perception online, my score improved and I understood what to look out for more.
3. Concentrate on both parts of the test
As I’ve mentioned above, I didn’t concentrate on the hazard perception as much the first time. This is probably because I assumed it would be easy, but it’s actually quite hard to spot potential hazards to the developing hazards, which is what you’re scored on. So make sure you go over these clips as well as revising for the theory!
4. Write notes down and go over them
Every question I got wrong online, I wrote down and highlighted the points I needed to remember. Then I went over them every day and the next time that question came up on the mock test, I got it right. Don’t just learn the answer though; you need to understand why it’s the particular answer to get a better understanding and to theoretically pass.
5. Don’t take the test before you’re ready
It seems obvious, but don’t take it if you don’t think you’re ready. You have plenty of time, there’s no rush, so take it slowly. It’s better to take your time to learn it all so you’re confident you’ll pass than to rush in before you’re ready and fail. It’s a lot of money, you don’t want to waste it if you can avoid it. Before you take the test, you should be passing at least most of the mock tests you take, if not all. If you don’t rush in and you’re genuinely ready and you still fail, which was the case for me, it’s just bad luck, which leads onto the next point.
6. Remind yourself why you’re doing this
To help with motivation, remind yourself of why you’re taking the theory test and learning to drive in the first place. Remind yourself of your future plans, getting a car etc. To be able to drive you need to pass your theory test before you go onto the practical test; they’re all little steps to your goal. Without doing this boring theory bit, you won’t be able to drive. Reminding yourself of why you’re doing it, what you want to achieve in the future and even giving yourself little rewards for remaining focused on your revision every so often, can all help.
7. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail and stay positive!
Most people actually fail first time. You could be passing every test online but still fail the actual test, there’s no guarantee you’ll pass just because you’ve passed every other time. It’s luck of the questions on the day; usually there’s at least one you’ve never seen before and have no idea what the answer is. (If this happens, don’t panic, they’re not all like that!) If you fail, don’t automatically think you’re stupid and go down on yourself. It’s normal to fail anything, especially first time-even the brightest people do, we’re only human. Hopefully, if you keep the revision up, you’ll pass next time and if not, no matter how many times you have to retake it, you’ll do it eventually. You will get there. Good for you for not giving up! Keep trying, you can do it! Stay positive and imagine how happy you’ll be when you do pass. Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can. Without failure, the taste of success wouldn’t be so sweet!