Before sitting or even booking your practical driving assessment (PDA), it’s important to be adequately prepared. This will involve not only learning Perth’s road rules but also how to control your vehicle on Australia’s roads.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re prepared for your driver’s test is to sit a mock test.
Common reasons learner drivers fail their practical driving test
- “I was nervous of the assessor sitting next to me”
- “The assessor did not talk to me or provide advice”
- “I didn’t understand the assessor’s instructions”
Nerves are often an overused excuse for failing a practical driving test, that driving instructors hear time and time again. While there are some common ways to calm your nerves before your driving test, the best way is to practice with a mock test carried out by a qualified driving instructor. If you have had adequate professional driving lessons and sat a proper mock test, then you would have gained confidence and independence with your driving to remove any nerves.
All driving lessons whether automatic or manual should include stages where the learner drivers are given opportunities to develop their own decision making without the assistance of instructors. The goal for our new generation of drivers should not be to pass a test but to create a safe confident driver, even when no one is with them to prompt or assist. When taking a mock test with your driving instructor, it should be more difficult than the one delivered by assessors.
Professional mock test
Most importantly, good driving instructors will actually use a test sheet which is the same as the assessors to mark the mock test. You should have been given one of these during your first driving lesson to help you and your other supervisors understand exactly what you’ll be marked on during your test.
The instructor and student have built a rapport and trust together, so when the instructor does not talk or help them during a mock test, it is alien to the student. This is where independent driving and decision making will begin to develop.
At no stage during teaching should anyone use “that’s good for a learner”. We are not training good learners – we are creating safe and independent drivers on our ever-increasing and busier roads.
The instructor needs to show a level of professionalism to not help the student if they stumble on a mock test. It’s very difficult to allow your student to make mistakes as you feel a sense of responsibility and care for them, but we are helping develop a life skill. This is why assessors by law only have to give clear instructions during a practical driving assessment.
Common mock test terminology
Driving instructors should use the exact wording that assessors will use during the PDA. It’s not rocket science: “At the next street on the right, I would like you to turn right”.
Please Note: Assessors will identify the location before giving the direction.
If you learn with professionals who understand driving is a life skill and not a quick fix to pass a test – you will have a much better chance of becoming a safe confident driver.
Food for thought
When people are learning to drive, it is the safest they will be on our roads. When they get their red P plates, they are at their most vulnerable. That’s why it’s so important to teach them skills that they will remember and use for life.
So before booking a lesson with a driving school, ask them:
- Do you conduct a mock test?
- Will you give me a copy of a test sheet assessor’s use?
- Do you understand the marking system correctly?