Below is the transcrpit and links from The 5 Minute Theory Podcast - Season 5, episode 3:
Welcome To The Five Minute Theory Podcast.
This is a show where we give you bite-sized chunks of theory goodness to help you learn, understand, and pass your theory test. And today we are tackling the Highway Code and answering the question, do you need to read it to pass your theory test?
The short answer is no, you do not need to read the Highway Code to pass your theory test, because there are people who pass the theory test having never read it and done minimal practice around anything to do with a theory, and they still go and fluke that theory test.
But here's the question I want to ask you. Let's fast forward a little bit. Let's imagine that you've passed your theory. You pass your driving test, you're out driving safely and confidently. Do you want to share the road with people who don't know the rules of the road? Do you want to share the road with someone who doesn't know what a yellow box means? Or how a mini roundabout works? Or that they can't park in front of your driveway? Or the difference between a triangle and a circle sign? Or a blue 30 sign or a dual carriageway? Do you want to share the road with those people who don't understand those things? Didn't think so. I don't either. Unfortunately, we do, because there are a lot of people out there that don't understand those things, but we obviously want to reduce that. And because of that, if we flip that around, I'm sure that you want to know those things. I'm sure that you want to understand the rules of the road. And one of the best ways to do that is to understand what's in the Highway Code. And there are various ways to do this.
Now, I am going to start off with the reading example, so let me dive into that. So first of all, I would suggest not sitting down with the Highway Code and reading it from cover to cover because there are other options. So, you can get the book version, you can get the online version. A lot of the theory test apps that people use have the Highway Code in them and reading them from cover to cover is incredibly boring. And you're not really likely to take in a lot. Instead, try taking a few minutes each day or most days to go through the Highway Code. And you can circle or highlight or whatever you want, colour in any bits that you either don't understand or you don't know. And by the time you're finished. What you've got is a comprehensive list of everything you don't understand, which you can then learn. You could google it. You can ask your friends and family, you can ask your driving instructor, whatever. You've got a list of things that you don't understand or don't know that you can then learn and develop. If you're using the app or you're doing it online or whatever, you could screenshot those things and create a little folder of those and do the same thing. So what you're looking for specifically is the things that you don't know. So you can then learn and understand those.
But maybe you're someone that doesn't work well with reading, that doesn't learn well just from reading a book or from reading something online. So, what could you do? There's a variety of options. If you're having lessons with an instructor, perhaps you could say five or ten minutes at the start of every lesson you're going to go through some of the Highway Code. Maybe they'll read it to you and explain certain bits. Maybe you've got questions, maybe they provide some insights, and information. So, you could utilize your driving instructor, maybe even book in some specific theory lessons and incorporate the Highway Code into that. They might even do it in the car, they might do it online, which maybe they'd even charge you a bit less because they're not using fuel in the car, I don't know.
Alternatively, you could book some online sessions with someone such as myself or Theory Test Explained, who are the sponsors of this show, and get some further training, get some proper one-to-one training around this stuff to help build your knowledge. Another way you could do it would be the Highway Code app. So the DVSA has a Theory Test app, and I'm sure you've got one of the Theory Test apps that are out there. But the DVSA also has a Highway Code app, which is very similar to the Theory Test app, but specifically for the Highway Code. So, you wouldn't just be reading it, you'd be answering the questions on it. And again, you can use that as a resource to find out the things that you don't know. But you're not just reading, you're being interactive. So you may find that more helpful.
But you can see there that it is important to understand the rules of the road and therefore what's in the Highway Code. But you do not need to sit down and read the Highway Code. There are other options available.
So, I hope that you found today useful. I hope that this is going to help you going forward. And if you have found it useful, make sure that you are leaving us a nice little five-star review. You can do that on places like Apple and Spotify or on Google for the TCDrive website. Speaking of the website, you can also head over to there where you'll find additional resources, including my other podcasts, the Driving Test Tales and the Driving Test podcast. And just to give a quick shout to the sponsor of the show, Theory Test. Explained - the place to go for one-to-one theory test training and you can find their links in the show notes as well. So, all that's left for me to say is stay safe and drive safer.
The second episode of The Driving Instructor Podcast is now available to download and listen. Click here to find your ideal platform or search wherever you listen to podcasts.
This episode I'm joined by driving instructor Phil Cowley, who runs Cowley's school of motoring and we're taking a deep dive into the driving test, looking at what happens when you first get into the car, what may occur during the test and even what to do when you've heard the (hopefully positive!) news.
Check out the Cowley's school of motoring website here and the YouTube channel here.
For a more brief overview of the test, check out episode one.
One of the areas we discuss on the episode are the 'show me, tell me' questions. You will be asked one of each by the driving test examiner and the best way to learn these is through practice. Don't wait until the day if your driving test to look under the bonnet for the first time. Make sure you're familiarising yourself with all the controls of the car well in advance of your test.
Don't just practice the ones you might get asked!
For example: the windscreen wipers are not included in the show me, tell questions, but you may well need to use them on your test, and beyond, so learn how to turn them on and off. Do they have speed control settings? Can you turn them onto automatic mode?
For the official DVSA's guide to the show me, tell me questions, click here.
We also discuss:
We also review Phil's local test centre and actually disagree for the first time in the show!
Check out Phil's top tips here.
If you listen to this episode on Spotify you can answer questions and respond to polls on each episode. Check out the Spotify episodes here.
If you have any questions about the driving test that you would like to be answered on the show, submit them below:
So welcome to this first episode of the Driving Test podcast.
In this series, we are going to be helping you pass your driving test by explaining what it entails and giving you all the information and tips you could ever need.
My name is Terry Cook and you may have heard me from other podcasts such as the Five Minute Theory Podcast and Driving Test Tales, and I am going to be your host on every episode of this show going forward. But I'm also going to be joined by a different driving instructor every episode going forward, and we're going to be breaking down the driving test. We're going to be looking at specific aspects of it. We're going to be giving some top tips. We're going to be talking about some of those myths that your friends might have told you, like are you less likely to pass on Friday and all that kind of stuff. And we're even going to be giving some reviews of driving test centres.
But today just a little bit different. Today is the introductory episode and in a minute, I'm going to be telling you what is going to happen on your driving test, or at least what might happen on your driving test, a brief run through of that. I'm also going to share one of my top tips at the end of the episode. But just before we dive into it, I am going to ask you all a big favour. I would like you to click subscribe. So, wherever you listen to this, whether that's on Google or Spotify or Apple or wherever, I would love it if you go and click subscribe. That way whenever this podcast drops, they'll go straight into your feed ready for you to listen. And the podcast is going to be on the 1st and the 15th of every month going forward. So make sure you click subscribe. You may be listening to this on the five minute theory or driving test tales feed. If you are, make sure you still go and click subscribe because in future they will all be on the same feed, so you won't necessarily get them. I really appreciate that if you could go and click subscribe for me.
But I did tell you that I was going to run through briefly about what may happen on your driving test. So, the first thing I want to say is that every driving test is different. Some tests you will get loads of roundabouts, some tests you might get one or two, or maybe even not any. Some tests you'll get loads of right turns, some you won’t. Some tests might take half an hour, others might take 50 minutes. No two tests are the same, even if you go the same route, because you will encounter different things. If you go do one roundabout at 08:10 and go back at 09:10, there's likely to be very different traffic on there. So, we can never say exactly what's going to happen on your test. We can tell you roughly what it entails.
So first of all, the test is about 40 minutes. There may be a bit longer, a bit short, but generally, barring the odd exception, it'll be about 40 minutes long. You will have an examiner; you will be asked to drive and you have to take your own car. I'm emphasizing that because you'll be surprised, potentially, by the number of people that don't know they have to take their own car. Now you can use yours or you can use your instructors, or you can hire one. But essentially the examiners and the test centre do not provide you with a car.
You need your license, you need your glasses because you'll be asked to do an eyesight check, at the start of the test, you'll be asked to tell me question. This is where you need to explain something. So, you're not showing them anything, you're not demonstrating anything, you're just explaining it. You will also, during the test be asked to show me question where you have to show something, for example, opening and closing your window. You need to physically demonstrate that. Also during the test you'll be asked to do at least one manoeuvre. So, there's four. You have a reverse bay park, forward bay park, a parallel park and a pull up on the right. They’re your key manoeuvres and you'll be asked to do at least one of those.
You may be asked to do an emergency stop. The examiner will likely refer to these as a controlled stop and generally one in every three tests will be asked to do an emergency stop. So, you may not. And then at the end of the test you'll be told whether you've passed or whether you haven't passed. Now, the other thing I just want to mention here is that your instructor can sit on the test with you. They're allowed to sit in the back and if not, they can be there for the feedback at the end. So, when your examiner gives you a result, the instructor can be there to listen and hopefully provide you with a bit more detail on what the examiner has said.
And then in terms of your pass or you failed, potentially there are three different types of faults you can get. You've got your driver fault, your serious fault and your dangerous fault. Your driver fault is what you've probably heard referred to as a minor fault and you can get 15 of them. 16 is a failure. One serious or one dangerous or more is a failure.
Now, just before we go any further, I do want to mention a couple of quick things. Firstly, we're going to go into this a lot more detail on each episode as we go along. So, in future episodes, we might pick a certain part of this to go through in more detail and make sure you check out the show notes for each episode and go over to the blog on TCDrive.co.uk Over on that blog I will include some links. For example, I'll include the links for videos for the Show Me tell me questions, and I will include other resources in the links over there. So, you can either find the show notes with a podcast or go to TCDrive and find the blog on there and get all the links from there.
But that is essentially what your test entails. So as long as you go around and drive safely, you'll be absolutely fine. Now, I did promise you a tip going forward, and the tip I'm going to give you is never give up. Never give up, never assume you've failed. One of the common problems I see as an instructor is where a student makes a mistake on the test, thinks they failed and then stops trying. That's never a good thing. You never know if you failed until the end of the test. So just carry on. And there's been many a time over the years when I've had a student who's assumed they failed and they've gone on to pass. And then there's been one or two times where I had a student that's assumed they failed, given up, and failed for something afterwards when they would have actually passed if they'd carry on. On the flip side of that, you're still driving, you still need to drive safely. Even if you think you failed, you still need to drive safely. You don't want to crash the car. That's never a good thing.
So that's this first episode. I hope you found some of the stuff there useful. As I said, we all go through a lot of this stuff in more detail for all I just wanted to get this first episode out to you. So, get an idea of what the driving test actually entails and you now know what's coming up on all the future episodes and you've got a cracking little tip to crack on with as well. And one last reminder, head over at TCDrive.co.uk, check out the blog, and over there you can find links to everything as well. And as I mentioned, subscribe.
But for now, remember, stay safe, drive safer, you.
You can find links for the DVSA's official Show me/Tell me questions here.
Welcome to the Five Minute Theory Podcast. This is a show where I give you bite sized chunks of theory goodness to help you learn, understand and pass your theory test. As always, I am your host, Terry Cook of TCDrive and I'm delighted to be giving you some knowledge. And I've got a cracking show for you today.
We are looking at theory test questions. Specifically, in fact, we're looking at two that are quite similar around fuel consumption. So, we're looking at that and at the end of the show I will give you my resource of the week as always.
Before we go any further, I want to let you know something at the minute. There are awards taking place for driving instructors. So, if you're listening to the show and you have a driving instructor, you could consider voting for your driving instructor. And the best way to do that is to go to the website. It's intelligentinstructor.co.uk. I will put a link in the Show Notes. I will also put a link on my website, TCDrive.co.uk. So, you can head over to either of those websites or you can go to the show notes and click the link there. So, if you have an instructor that is helping you and you think that that instructor is worthy of a vote, then by all means, go find that link, answer a few questions and explain why you are voting for your instructor. If you don't have an instructor and you would like someone to vote for, consider me consider this podcast. If this podcast has helped you with your theory at any point, perhaps you would consider voting for that in the awards and then go to the same place again. You'll find the link in the show notes or can head over to intelligentinstructor.co.uk. But as I said, if you've got an instructor that you think deserves that award, make sure you're voting for them.
Anyway, on to today's question. Now, they’re two very similar questions, but they're phrased differently, which is why I've kind of put them together. So, the first question is, what's most likely to increase fuel consumption? So, I'll give you that question again. What is most likely to increase fuel consumption? What does that actually mean? Basically, the amount of car the fuel uses. If you're increasing fuel consumption, you are increasing the amount of fuel the car uses. So, you use fuel quicker, which is bad for the environment, and costs you more money. So, what's more likely to do with that? Well, the four options given here are:
I suppose technically, they all could contribute in one way or another to fuel consumption, but the big one is harsh braking and accelerating. We need to be planning better when we're driving, when you use your gas, your gas pedal, when you use it aggressively, that's what burns the most fuel and it's the same when you're braking. It's these types of things that are going to use the most fuel, whereas poor steering control as far as it could lead to a little bit more in fuel consumption, accelerate around bends, again, you are accelerating and you shouldn't really be accelerating around bends, but it's not going to have a massive impact on that level of fuel that you're using. And staying in the high gears generally actually reduces your fuel consumption. So, harsh braking and accelerating, we want to make the drive as smooth as possible, not just so we're using less fuel, but also so it's a more pleasant drive.
But I did mention two questions. So, we've got another question that's similar but kind of the opposite way around. So, this time it's what can you expect if you drive using rapid acceleration and heavy braking? The options are:
Well, again, if you were unsure of this, you could rule out some of these answers straight away. So, if you're using rapid acceleration, harsh braking we've just discussed, you shouldn't be doing that. We should be making the drive smooth. So, because of that, it's not going to increase road safety, so we can rule out that option. It's not going to reduce exhaust emissions because we're increasing them by using more gas. It's the same reason it's not going to reduce pollution. So therefore, it will increase fuel consumption by using rapid acceleration. And I would swap the word rapid for aggressive and using heavy braking, it's always going to increase the fuel consumption. And if you want to use less fuel and therefore help the environment and therefore spend less money, then be more gentle with your braking and your acceleration. And the big way we can do that is just to plan better. So, if we're going down the road and we can see a lot of parked cars and it looks like it's a bit more tight than usual, start reducing your speed a little bit earlier. And again, by that I don't necessarily mean reducing from 30 to 10. I mean you start easing off your gas pedal a little bit early, you see, come into a nice smooth stop if necessary, rather than a jerky one, making the whole journey a little bit smoother. So, we're planning ahead and planning early what we're going to do to reduce that harshness around the brake and acceleration. So, I hope that explains those for you and I hope you found those useful and I hope that you can take that forward through to your theory test and through to your driving as well, because that will actually help you on your driving test if you can make the drive more smooth.
As always, I do have a resource of the week for you and this time it's kind of a group of resources because the theory Test is based around three books. It's based around the Highway Code, which I've recommended previously. It's based around Driving the Essential Skills and it's based around know your traffic signs. They're the three basic books that the Theory Test is based around. So, I would advise getting stuck into all of those. And again, just to clarify, the Theory Test isn't just a gateway so that you can book your driving test. Your Theory test is there to help you learn to drive, it's there to help you become a better driver and keep safe on the road. So, by having these books, by dipping into them, even when you pass your theory, by dipping into them, then, now and again, then you're going to become a better and safer driver and run less risk of having a collision and less risk of getting points on your license. So, the three books are the Highway Code, Driving the Essential Skills and Know your Traffic signs. They're the recommended resource of the week. But as always, you can check out more of my stuff over my website tcdrive.co.uk and can check out all the previous podcasts there as well. So go and check out. But for now, I'm going to just say to you stay safe and drive safer.
The Five Minute Theory Podcast bite sized chunks of theory goodness help you pass your theory test first time.
Welcome to the Five Minute Theory Podcast. As always, I am your splendid host Terry Cook of TCDrive, and I'm delighted that you have chosen to listen and I'm delighted to be here to give you some wisdom by giving you bite sized chunks of theory goodness to help you pass your theory test. Hopefully first time. And today we're going to be diving into specific theory test questions around country roads and what can be coming towards you.
But before we dive into that, just a quick reminder that at the end of the episode I will be giving you my recommended resource of the week and you can find all these resources over at www.tcdrive.co.uk. Go into the blog section and you can find the blogs for these episodes with links to the resources over there, or you can find them in the show notes themselves for this episode.
But on the to today's Theory test question, it's a specific one that comes up on the practice apps. So, you're on a country road, what should you expect to see coming towards you on your side of the road? That's the question. You're on a country road, what should you expect to see coming towards you on your side of the road?
A - Motorcycles
B - Bicycles,
C - Pedestrians
D - Horse riders
I don't like this question. I think it's a little bit daft in the sense of all of them could be coming towards you. I think the word there is expect isn't necessarily the best word. You wouldn't expect to see any of them, but you might anticipate all of them. However, the questions driving at something specific and to get to that specific point, we need to look at them.
So, when you think of motorcycles, motorcycles generally are going to be going the same direction as you, so they shouldn't be coming towards you on your side of the road. Now admittedly they could be driving on the wrong side for some reason, like there's a parked vehicle they have to go around or something like that, but they shouldn't be, so we shouldn't expect them to be, even though potentially we should anticipate. Same with bicycles. Now, bicycles, again, they should be going in the same direction on your side of the road. Then we're going to skip down to horse riders. Same again, they should be going on your side of the road, same direction as you. And the question specifically asks what should you expect to see coming towards you on your side of the road? Well, pedestrians, the Highway Code states that pedestrians should walk towards oncoming traffic.
So, if we're on that country road and there's no pavement and they're walking in the road, they should be on your side of the road walking towards you. Now, they do this so that pedestrians have a better view of what's coming up. We can see them, they can see us. That's the big kind of goal around it. Ideally, when they see you coming, what they'll do is, if they can, they'll step to the side, and by step into the side, that gives you time to come round. But what you'll probably have to do is slow down a bit, hold back and give them opportunity to move across or wait until there's a safe space to go around. You may even have to stop. If you have to stop, you have to stop. You're not allowed to run people over and you're not allowed to crash into other vehicles, so you may have to stop until the situation clears.
However, going back to this theory test question: you're on a country road, what should you expect to see coming towards you on your side of the road? Motorcycles shouldn't be there, so we shouldn't expect it. Bicycles shouldn't be there, so we shouldn't expect it. Horse riders shouldn't be there, so we shouldn't expect it. But pedestrians are encouraged to walk towards oncoming traffic for the reasons we've just discussed. So hopefully that covers that question for you. It's one that gets asked a lot by my learners, ones that they're not sure about, so hopefully that covers that for you.
And let's take a quick look now at this week's Resource of the Week. One that's recommended for me and it's one that you may guess I'm going to recommend, it’s my very own Five Minute Theory training course. So, there's a training course called the Five Minute Theory Training Course and it's full of videos that cover all of the theory test side of it. So, there's over 40 training videos in there. They are usually less than five minutes that take you through all the rules of the road, pretty much everything you need to know to pass that theory test. All the stuff in there, so go check it out. The best place to find that is at www.tcdrive.co.uk. Or if you go to the Show Notes, you can find a link to take you straight there. So it's a Five Minute Theory training course, over 40 training videos, and it's a brilliant accompaniment to these podcasts as well.
So, I hope that you are enjoying season Four of The Five Minute Theory Podcast. I hope that you find in the episodes useful, I hope that you find in these resources useful and checking them out. Make sure that if you got any questions yourself, you take a moment and you can go and send them in. You can contact me on social media or via email. But for now, it's stay safe and drive safer.
Check out the theory test training below.
The Five Minute Theory Podcast bite sized chunks of theory goodness to help you pass your theory test first time - A transcript.
Welcome to season four of the Five Minute Theory Podcast. As always, I'm your host, Terry Cook of TC Drive, and I'm delighted to be here today. I'm going to tell you about the one thing that no one likes to admit about the theory test. But before we do, allow me to tell you about what's coming up on season four.
We've got all the usual awesome content, including answering specific theory test questions, which you can send in, by heading over to TCDrive.co.uk to find all the social media and email links over there and sending in those questions that you need to answer. But we're also going to be covering some more general topics and will be joined by some driving instructors who will be giving you some top tips on passing that theory test.
We've also got some very special extended episodes planned, going into certain topics in more detail and we've got a few very exciting announcements coming up over the next few weeks. But you're going to have to hang fire for that, because for now, we're going to dive into the main topic of the show. The one thing that no one likes to admit, that's that the theory test is boring.
It's true, a lot of the theory test isn't very interesting at all, but that doesn't mean that it's not worth doing. A lot of people only learn the theory because they have to learn the theory to be able to book a driving test. But it helps so much more than that.
Learning and understanding the theory will help you learn to drive. It will help you pass your theory test. It will help you pass your driving test. It will help keep you driving safe and legally on the roads once you've actually passed that driving test. As an example of this, I once asked an experienced driver what a blue 30 sign meant. Imagine a blue circle sign with the numbers of 30 inside it. I asked them what it meant, and they assumed it meant a maximum speed of 30. It doesn't. It means that the minimum speed is 30 miles an hour. So, I asked them what they would do if they saw that blue 30 sign and there was a police car behind them and they said they probably do about 27 miles an hour. That would obviously run the risk of getting pulled by the police. And that came about because they didn't know what that sign meant. They were not up to date with the theory. They hadn't taken time to learn it.
"So, learning and understanding the theory is obviously really helpful to people to learn and drive and staying safe. So, if you're only interested in passing and don't care about learning, this probably isn't a podcast for you."
I really recommend to everyone that you take time to learn that theory. There's a whole host of resources out there that you can use. You're listening to one now. You're in the right place. There's a whole back catalogue we've got that you can go and check out and there's a lot more episodes to come, to help you even more.
One of the things I'm going to be doing every episode this season is giving you an additional resource. I'm going to be suggesting to you an additional resource and today is Theory Test Explained. Now theory test explained is one to one theory training provided by the theory test specialist Chris Bensted. So, if you've been struggling or you really want to develop, go check out the show notes and you'll find a link there that you can click on to go straight through to Theory Test Explained or go on to Facebook and just type it in the search bar. Theory Test Explained. It will come up. Now, Chris Benstead has been kind enough to offer an exclusive discount for listeners of the show. You'll get a £10 discount if when you speak to him, you quote the phrase, ‘It’s Terry Time!’. So, when you speak to him, mention that it's Terry Time and you'll get a £10 discount on Theory Test Explain one to one training and you will also get a free review mock test. So go and check it out using the show notes or search for online.
But as I was saying before, the Theory Test really helps you learn to drive. If you know the difference between a solid white line and a broken white line, if you know what a stop sign means or what the stop sign looks like, if you know the difference between stop and give way, if you know the sequence of traffic lights, what a flashing amber light means. Not only are you more likely to pass that theory test first time and save a whole heap of money, you're also more likely to pass your driving test first time and drive a hell of a lot safer. So, as always going forward, I'm going to be giving you loads of hints and tips to help you learn, understand, and pass the Theory Test.
I'm going to ask you all one little favour as I wrap up. If you find these podcasts useful, make sure you share them. Share them on social media and share them with your friends. I want to help people and I can help people if they hear it, so go and share it. And if you're feeling extra generous, you can go on to Spotify, you can go on to Facebook, or you can go on to Apple and leave me a little five-star review as well.
So, for more information, head over to TDCrive.co.uk. Over there you can find all my resources, all of the links for my social media stuff, and you can find the links for my Theory Test training course as well. But for now, remember: Stay safe and drive safer.
Quote 'It's Terry Time' to get a £10 discount and FREE mock test review at Theory Test Explained.
As a driving instructor, it's something that I hear quite often "It's only a driving lesson!"
That's the value that some people put on learning to drive safely, so you don't contribute to the 5 people that die every day on UK roads.
But even if we step back from road accidents and fatalities for a moment. The most recent time that was said to me was in the comments of a TikTok video a created, offering advice on finding the right driving instructor.
You can find the video here.
Basically the video was suggesting that you don't have to settle for the first driving instructor you come across. If you don't get on with your first driving instructor, then move on to a different one. Yes, I fully understand that you want to pass you driving test as soon as possible, but working with someone who isn't right for you could actually take you longer.
Not just that though, I don't think I'd want to spend time and money doing something that I didn't enjoy because of the person that was teaching me!
You could even arrange two or three different instructors and see which one suited you the most. But the biggest tip I would say, is to do some actual research on the instructor. Look at reviews. Do that just say 'Good driving instructor' or do the go deeper and actually discuss what the driving lessons looked like?
Are you particularly anxious? If so, you may want to look for a driving school that has experience is dealing with nervous students. Perhaps you require some additional help with the theory test. If you do, search for a driving instructor who offers support in that area.
When I hear people talk about it being just a driving lesson, I cringe.
It's different for everyone. Some people embrace learning to drive and really want to get stuck in. Others pick up the skill naturally and have no nerves at all. Both are fine, there's no right or wrong. But when learning to drive you're learning how to keep people safe on the roads. That's the core premise of it. Especially now the Highway Code has been changed to incorporate a hierarchy of road users.
Driving lessons are as important as you make them.
You may as well make them important, the consequences can be disastrous.
I’m based in Baildon, which is pretty much on the border between Leeds and Bradford.
And I love both cities.
They each have their own unique personalities which make them great areas to deliver driving lessons. I have pupils in Leeds who like to drive into Bradford, and learners in Bradford who love driving into Leeds.
Practicing driving lessons in both areas is an excellent way to develop, rather than just focussing on learning a specific route or town.
But the question I get asked a lot is, which is the best test centre? Leeds has Harehills and Horsforth while Bradford has Thornbury and Heaton. Plus there’s Skipton and Steeton just up the road. Well, the truth is, there is no correct answer to that question. In all honesty, if you’re driving to a ‘test standard’ it shouldn’t really matter where you take the test, you should be able to drive regardless.
But that doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to have a preference! For example, Horsforth has a lot of big open roundabouts, whereas Thornbury tends to have more light controlled junctions. Horsforth has more rural roads and Thornbury has more town driving.
Every driver and learner driver is going to have a preference. Not necessarily something they find easier, just something they find less stressful. Perhaps you would know the Leeds area a bit better and that gives you a bit more confidence. Or do you go the other way? Are you concerned about people you know spotting you at the driving test centre or while your out on your driving test? If so, would it benefit you to head to a different area?
Whatever the reason for choosing a certain test centre, it should not be based around your ability to drive! Each test centre is different ad has it’s own unique personality. Take bay parking for example. Horsforth doesn’t have it’s own private carpark, so, at the time of writing, so wouldn’t be asked to do a reverse bay park at Horsforth. Whereas Thornbury has it’s own carpark, so a reverse bay park is quiet common.
Here’s the latest pass rates for each test centre:
You can see that apart from Harehills, they are all quite similar in pass rates, so would it really matter which you used? But why is Harehills quite dramatically different? There’s a lot of talk about Harehills, but I’ll happily offer my theory:
Harehills has a certain reputation. A lot of students tell me they don’t want to take their test there because there’s lots of bad driving. But there’s bad driving wherever you go! So what makes Harehills so special?
Because people try to avoid that driving test centre, it tend to be the one you can book earliest at. It’s also the one where you can get a cancellation crop up quicker. In my experience, this leads to people booking their driving test who aren’t quite ready to book it because they’ve seen a space whereas at Horsforth, they may have to wait an extra 2 months.
So if more people are taking their test at Harehills who aren’t actually ready, would that lead to a lower pass rate? Probably. And I believe that’s one of the reasons. Admittedly not the only one.
Wherever you’re thinking of booking your test, a word of caution: try not to listen to too many stories about the test centres. People who fail their driving test often complain about that particular test centre or examiner. And the people that pass, guess what they do? Yep, they say how easy they found the test routes!
Now, not everyone does this, but a lot of people do. In most cases the examiner and test centre have absolutely nothing to do with whether someone passes or fails their driving test. It generally comes down to whether that person can drive or not.
So when you’re tryin to decide whether to take your test in Leeds on Bradford, try not to worry about it too much. Talk to your driving instructor and ask for their opinion. They may be able to advise you based on your preferences.
Wherever you want to book, here’s a link to book your driving test: https:www.gov.uk/book-driving-test
And if you want to know a but more about the whole process, click here.
Season two of The 5 minute Theory podcast has just launched, and in episode one we give you the top 5 resources for passing the theory test first time. You can listen here!
But what are the top 5 resource?
1. The 5 minute theory training course. With over 4o short videos that walk you though every step of the theory test and a set of practice questions after each category, you can't go wrong. By using the 5 minute theory training course, you will learn and understand the theory, rather than just memorise a bunch of questions and answers.
By doing this you'll be in a much better position to pass at your first/next attempt. Plus, because you will be actually learning the theory, it will actually help you pass your driving test too and keep you from doing something daft and loosing your driving licence once you've passed!
2. The Highway Code is both essential and boring! It's the most complete book for learning what you need to know to pass the theory test, but it's a book full of information, not fun. I'd suggest reading it in conjunction with your lessons, so when you practice traffic lights, read up on traffic lights. Of refer back to it whenever you come across something you don't know or understand.
You can find some of the latest updates on the Highway Code on the BBC website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/58028952
3. Theory test apps. Do not rely on these. The the theory test apps will only help you memorise a set of questions. Instead use the apps to practice the test once you've actually learned the information. They are great resources for practice tests, but please don't use them alone. Plus they only actually cover about 1/3 of all the potential theory test questions.
At TCDrive we offer all our student free access to Theory Test Pro.
4. Your driving instructor. Your driving instructor is your biggest resource. They should have a wealth of knowledge and you'd be daft not to use it. Why not spend the first 10 minutes of every lesson picking your driving instructors brain about the theory?
Here at TCDrive we also offer our students a free Facebook group where they can ask questions and there's also regular posts and videos about the theory test. You can sign up to the Facebook group here.
If you don't have an instructor and you're relying on private practice? Quiz your parents, family and friends.
5. The 5 Minute Theory Podcast. Yes I'm biased because it's mine, but it's a marvellous resources that provides short, bite sized chunks of theory goodness every week. But that's not all. For season 2 we now have a second weekly episode where an actual driving instructor will be offering you tips on how to pass your theory or driving test.
We also have regular bonus episodes where we offer tips around the driving test. Last season we covered the top 10 reasons people fail a driving test, as reported by the DVSA. You can find the report here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/top-10-reasons-for-failing-the-driving-test/top-10-reasons-for-failing-the-driving-test-in-great-britain
And you can find the top 10 fails podcast here: https://player.captivate.fm/collection/d5028152-f630-4742-8e3c-445dcdd08e6a
What resources do you find most usefu?
We've all heard that phrase, "A dog is for life, not just for Christmas."
Well, a dog isn't the only thing that should apply to. The theory test isn't just a gateway to booking the driving test, it helps provide safe driving for life.
Too many people view the theory test as an obstacle that you need to overcome and then discard it, much like the aforementioned puppies once the novelty has worn off. But is that the best approach? I'd suggest not.
The theory is a massive resource in not only learning to drive but also passing the driving test. Take a blue circle sign with 30 written inside it as an example. I'm gong to assume you know that means the minimum speed limit it 30mph. But what if you didn't know that?
What if you took your driving test without than knowledge? Perhaps you'd assume that it was a maximum speed limit and go below 30mph. You'd fail your driving test.
Imagine it's after your test and you see the same sign with a police car behind you. Perhaps you'd reduce your speed? You'd potentially be pulled over. Points on your licence, a fine and potential increase in car insurance doesn't sound fun.
Use the theory test to your advantage. Don't just do a load of questions on an app. There's so many resources that can help you pass first time AND understand the theory while you're at it.
Plan to do 10-20 minutes of theory practice every week. Not just up to your theory test, but up to your driving test. Then aim to do 10-20 every month. This will arm you with the knowledge needed to pass both tests first time and have a better understanding of the rules of the road. All leading towards safer driving, less incidents and lower insurance costs.
Here's some resources:
And there's lots more, but it's up to you to use them. You can take the short cuts now and pay more in the long run, or you can invest a little time and money into yourself, become a safer, better driver and save money in the future.
And remember, a dog's for life, not just for Christmas.