Dealing with Driving Test Nerves
It’s vital that you stay calm on test day and not let test anxiety kick in. You don’t want to spoil all your hard work and effort by stressing out and panicking. We realise that nobody is nervous on purpose, but on big occasions nearly everyone feels some level of anxiety. Think of it on a scale of 1 to 10. Ideally you want to be as near to 1 as possible.
The best way to achieve this is to prepare yourself for the big day. Try and think ahead and practice being in the situation when you’re sat next to your instructor. Think of a few reassuring phrases that you can gently repeat to yourself. Perhaps you like chewing gum or something that can help take your mind off the situation.
When you’re driving, it’s not as if you can squeeze a stress ball. You are quite limited to the things you can do in other situations like an interview when you are seated in an office.
Techniques for Staying Calm and Relaxed
It’s often said that the best form of relaxation on test day is preparation. Make sure that you’ve done your research for your theory and put the appropriate hours in for your practical. You’re better off having a few too many hours than not enough. There is no such thing as being over prepared.
Ensure that you have familiarised yourself with the route or at least the area that you will be tested in.
Don’t drink too much caffeine or swill down a gallon of energy drinks. Nature is kinder than artificial manufacturing. Drink plenty of water, but not so much that you will be needing the toilet halfway round the test route. Go to the toilet before your test starts and arrive early. Twenty to thirty minutes in advance of your start time is ideal.
Work on Your Weaknesses
It sounds corny, but work on your weaknesses until they become your strengths. Perhaps you don’t like reverse parallel parking or maybe it’s a three-point turn that rocks your confidence. If anything is niggling at your mind you need to talk to your driving instructor about it and between you work it out. Iron out your faults and flaws until you are flawless behind the wheel. That is where real confidence will come from, knowing that you are 100% ready and prepared to take your test.
Your driving instructor doesn’t want a bad pass rate, so shouldn’t even consider putting you in for your test until you are absolutely ready and able to pass.
Unfortunately having the required skills and driving ability is no guarantee that you will pass. When it comes to driving tests – or any test for that matter – sometimes being calm is more important than being good.
It’s Good to Talk!
Don’t bottle up your worries. Talk to your friends and instructor about any issues you may have. You never know what pearls of wisdom someone might pass on to you. On the contrary, if you don’t like what you are hearing you don’t have to listen, but it is better to have an opinion to consider than no opinion at all.
Sleep Between 8 and 10 Hours
Make sure that you get enough sleep the night before your driving test. It’s not only dangerous to drive while you are tired, but it’s definitely not good for the sharpness of your mind and memory. Sleep is one of the most fundamental aspects of being healthy and feeling good.
Don’t let yourself down by missing out on an awesome nights sleep. The best part of it is it doesn’t even cost a penny! All you have to do is be consistent and strong willed and ensure you get to bed plenty early – don’t get distracted by your favourite television show. Your driving test is far more important.
Break it Down into Several Steps
Think of the major steps involved in passing your test. You’ve got the days before your test. Then the day of your test, which can be further broken down into the morning time then your actual test. Don’t do anything outside of your usual routine. For example, don’t have something to eat that might upset your stomach. Stick with a sensible and healthy breakfast like porridge and a banana.
You don’t want to drive on an empty stomach in case you are dizzy. On the other hand, you shouldn’t stuff yourself so you’re busting out of your trousers.
Don’t Panic if You Make a Mistake
It’s important to get off to a good start with your driving test and the instructor. Be polite and courteous, but don’t try and suck up to them. They will see it a mile off and it will most likely work against you. They’re only a person at the end of the day so just treat them respectfully and you will be fine. The test doesn’t last long – it will soon pass.
Stay calm and reassure yourself. Concentrate and be fully focused. Positive thinking is a good way of dealing with any situation, not just your driving test so use it in all aspects of your driving career. Usually it’s when people lose confidence that they have an accident. That isn’t to say be overconfident, but use your confidence as a tool to help you rather than work against you.
Should you make a mistake, don’t flop and think it’s all over. Accept it and move on. If the instructor can see you are a good driver and it was a genuine mistake then it might not be the problem you think it is. The fact you didn’t panic will definitely work in your favour so stay strong mentally and get on with the next task.
When you are using your mirrors, don’t go overboard, but at the same time make sure that your instructor has noticed you are doing your appropriate checks. Your driving instructor should have gone over all of these things beforehand, but in case he has missed anything you shouldn’t feel silly asking to go over them again. That’s what you are paying your instructor for – to train and educate you on the nuances of driving correctly.
Asking questions is the best way to learn, because they will stick in your mind more if you ask rather than just be told everything. It’s a two way street when you are learning something new – you can’t rely on your teacher/instructor to explain everything. You need to put the effort in also.
Remember These Few Tips…
- You’re allowed 15 minor faults during your driving test examination. Nobody expects you to be perfect.
- Listen to the instructor and if you don’t hear them, politely ask them to raise their voice or speak again. They’re not a robot, you’re allowed to talk to them, just don’t over do it.
- If you mess up, you’re allowed to explain to the instructor exactly why you made that mistake. This is better than not discussing something because it shows you’re aware and that it was a mistake rather than a correct choice.
- The first few seconds of getting into the car are crucial so stay calm, focused and relaxed. Tell yourself that you’re going to pass and above all try and enjoy the test.
- Remember that it’s only a driving test, it’s not a matter of life or death. You can always resit it if it doesn’t go your way.