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.
10 essential podcasts that all driving instructors should be listening to:
(In no particular order!)
Project EDWARD - Every Day Without A Road Death. Surely that’s the goal for every driving instructor? It’s a great show by James Luckhurst that’s highlights some real issues on our roads.
Back Bedroom to Big Business - a great show by Dino Tartaglia and Simon Hartley that delves into some of the fundamentals of running/growing a business and talks about some of the common mistakes business owners make.
Dipod Adi - the granddaddy of all instructor podcasts, a source of news and some excellent guests, including me.
Fitter Food - thoughtful and insightful conversations around a huge variety of health and fitness topics. I’ve been listening for years and always pick up great advice.
Selling Without Sleaze Podcast - as instructors, we’re often anxious about things such as price increases and up selling, Sarah Jolley-Jarvis offers invaluable help around these and more.
The DID Podcast - Mick Knowles brings a wealth of knowledge and a great variety of guests to his show.
Richard Nicholls - the psychotherapist with the most calming voice in the world address some key mental health issues. As instructors we can become quite isolated and this show has certainly helped me in the past.
The DITC - short news features in bite sized audio form. Chris Bensted keeps us updated with relevant news.
Boss It - Carl Reader brings us his thoughts on good business practice and a whole host of topics, and has some excellent interviews. While not aimed at the industry, there’s plenty we can take away.
The Instructor Podcast - of course. Fantastic guests and a mediocre host, holding a mirror up to the industry.
Be sure to check out any shows you haven’t listened to, and share any you think we should be listening to in the comments.
You can listen to Chris's episode on Apple, Spotify, Google and more.
Chris Bensted is NOT just a driving instructor.
Despite what he says.
Chris is the co-founder of The Driving Instructor and Trainers collective, the signposting point for the industry. He also started the first ever Facebook group for driving instructors – I’m an ADI/PDI and I’m on Facebook.
Chris can often be found on various local and national news channels discussing the industry and the latest goings on for driving instructors.
As well as running a driving school with multiple franchisees, Chris also now does 1:1 theory training via zoom, working particularly with those who have dyslexia, autism, and memory issues.
In this episode Chris describes himself as a conversational instructor and I loved this phrase. I’ve used it to describe myself ever since. This description seems apt as Chris recalls tales of asking examiner not to call him Christopher as it makes him think he is in trouble and the time he played the Imperial march when the examiners entered the waiting room.
Chris is also a big believer that instructors should work with students, helping them, rather than telling them. So much so that he took a course in NLP – neuro linguistic programming, to assist him in his nurturing of students.
This lead to him taking a different approach to the driving test, compared to many instructors, including trying to desensitise the test centre and using phases like “we’re going pass the test centre” to put his students at ease.
He also explains how he learned not to assume that learners and instructors are not already experts. At the test centres, you can meet instructors from a whole world of different back grounds, whether that is a doctor, lawyer, or builder.
When talking about driving instructors, Chris talks a lot about minimum standards and how he considers what he does, not as going above and beyond, but actually what we all should be doing. Not just for our students, but for the industry.
He talks about being handed a green badge and being told that we teach learner drivers, but how the world is much bigger than that and opportunities are so much bigger than that. He discusses how he just keen for instructors to me a positive influence.
We also discuss how ADI are, by default, self-employed. We may not set out to be, but that’s just how the industry is. So, as well as teaching people to drive we also need to look at accounts, marketing, advertising, social media, counselling…
Chris also makes some interesting points discussing whether driving instructors are actually necessary, explaining how there’s no evidence to show that driving instructors actually help the process.
The DITC is a platform for driving instructors to come together and was forged during the 2020 lockdown after the DVSA drew a line in the sand, essentially not offering driving instructors the support and guidance they required.
From there it continues to grow, not least by providing regular news features for The Instructor Podcast, but also by taking the initiative and linking up with The Queer box to provide LGTBQ+ training for the driving instructor industry.
The DITC has also been creating badges to try to encourage instructors to be more active, these include a member’s badge, founder member badge, CPD badge and a start up badge aimed at those who have an idea but perhaps are not sure how to go about it. They can be linked with people who have that knowledge and skillset, whether that be graphic design or helping to create video intros and outros.
There are some great rewards for being a member of the DITC, including getting a student card for instructors, which give you all the perks you’d expect from a student card, which should save you more than the £6 monthly membership fee.
Chris’s final pieces of advice:
Read the contract before you sign it, and be open to change!
You can find out more about the DITC here: https://linktr.ee/TheDITC inculding how to sign up, social media and their podcast.
You can listen to Keir's episode on Apple, Spotify, Google and more.
Keir Wotherspoon started as a personal trainer in 2012.
However, prior to that he was working in a factory, but keen to change his life, so he quit his job, sold his home, and headed off to university.
After getting his degree he opened his own gym which he ran for 5 years before deciding that he still was not living the life he wanted. So, he entered the world of high-performance coaching.
And that is what he joined me on this episode of The Instructor podcast to discuss – personal and professional development, how to take the opportunity and how to overcome imposter syndrome. Throughout the discussion Keir gives many examples of what driving instructors can do to develop themselves and their business.
Keir talks frankly about how he used to hide behind his qualifications and used them as an excuse not to follow his dreams.
One of the big influences on Keir’s choices was when he started helping a driving instructor with his fitness. As their relationship developed, they found the coaching steering more towards personal development rather than fitness.
Over time the instructor’s mindset completely changed.
He was loosing interest due to working to many hours and doing too many lessons, this only increased his stress level. Keir helped him change and reduce his hours, increase his happiness and now he is happier.
Keir talks about the importance of marketing yourself correctly and charging the correct prices. He uses the example of driving instructors going after a specific niche, such as people who need to pass inside a month, or people who suffer with anxiety and panic attacks.
You get what you pay for. So, if you need to pay a bit more than the average lesson price to achieve that fast pass or have someone take their time helping you overcome your nerves, then it’s worth it.
We discuss the way people treat learner drivers on the road and how we can handle those situations better, including sharing a study that was done comparing how people reacted when cars remained stationary at red lights.
The Rolls Royce was left in peace, the Ford Fiesta received a lot of beeps!
Very much the same way learner drivers and current drivers are treated differently on the road. Learners are often viewed with disdain, while experienced drivers are given the benefit of the doubt.
We also take the opportunity to discuss my imposter syndrome and how 12 months ago I would not have had the courage to do this podcast. How I was afraid to do anything or take a chance. So many instructors are in this position, and we need more to offer up the quality they have.
Keir’s biggest tip is to adopt a role model mentality.
He shares how he can’t really remember the specifics of what he was taught by his instructor, but he remembers his influence, his calmness and how he made him feel.
Who do you want to be when you get in the car? Do you want to be the person who cares about the student and prioritises their safety and learning?
By being a role model, making people feel a certain way and influencing people it enables you to increase your prices because people want to work with you.
Keir offers some wonderful thoughts on working with the people that make you happy. He suggests working with a wide variety of people initially, until you find out who you actually enjoy working with, then marketing towards them.
By targeting a specific niche, it does not rule anyone out, but it does make it more likely for you to attract and work with people you enjoy.
By working with everybody and anybody you will become resentful towards your job as it’s taking a large part of the enjoyment away.
To target the person, we want to work with, we need to address their pain points. So, if someone wants to pass their test quickly, we need to be able to offer that. Someone panicking about the first lesson? We could meet them beforehand or at least have a call.
Keir’s final piece of advice – You are the biggest asset withing your business and if you’re not working on yourself, then everything else will go to shit. When you work on yourself, life gets better.
Wise words, I’m sure you’ll agree.
You can find Keir Witherspoon:
You can find the audio version on Apple, Spotify, Anchor , Google and more.
Amanda Leek creates online content marketing for social media, blogs press and PR for quirky and unusual companies. She finds unusual stories and brings them to life with words.
Amanda runs an online membership called ‘Pounce’ providing marketing tips, advice and prompts for smaller business that would struggle to afford agency prices. taking inspiration from her background in journalism.
As a journalist Amanda worked for local newspapers covering finances, technology, and business as well as arts and culture.
We discuss Amanda’s time as a journalist and how her coverage of road traffic collisions played a role in her departure leaving journalism. We share our thoughts on why RTC’s are not covered on a large scale in the news despite 5 people dying every day, on average throughout the UK.
Is it just as simple that it is not as exciting as crime with intent? Or is it that it is now that common that it’s not news, because it happens all the time?
Amanda explains how much personal relationships play a part in both marketing and sales, using me as the example. Because she had seen my videos and posts she classed me as personable and trustworthy, which would lead her to coming to me for lessons, rather than googling for strangers.
The persona I put across online is that I’m not threatening, and you can only create that persona by being visible online.
Reviews also play a big part in this.
Amanda points out that if you have a lot of positive reviews from women, that will make other women feel like you can be trusted, thus creating a niche market.
Being a stranger, doesn’t make you threatening, but it does make you an unknown quantity. Whereas if you have your picture in your profile, you’re visible online and you have plenty of good reviews, it puts you in a much more positive light.
Referrals are important and are often a first port of call for any customers, whether that’s online reviews or friends passing on details. But these should not be relied upon as the only source of customers. The average 30-year-old may not know anyone who’s taken lessons, so will need to look for instructors themselves.
By marketing yourself in the right way, you can not only get more customers, but you can also get more of your type of customers.
Even just by having a website with your contact details is a step in the right direction. It’s a place where people can find you and a place where you can put those reviews.
The best reviews talk not just about how good a driving instructor you are, but how you are as a person. How you teach. How you approach lessons. How you put the customer at ease. Reviews that include some personal traits show the person, not just the instructor.
Amanda goes on to discuss the need for using both a Facebook business page and a personal page. That a business page is excellent for sharing content, but without paid adverts it will not reach as many people as a personal page, so we need to use both.
Facebook book is about sharing. Sharing pictures of birthdays, holidays, celebrations and driving test passes. Plus, people love to look back on them when they spring up in their memories.
It’s also great when a student tags you in their posts. Not only do you get put into other people’s feeds, but it’s a ringing endorsement. Getting those posts in your local Facebook groups are a massive boost too as this puts you into feeds you wouldn’t usually be in.
If you only post on your own page, you’ll remain in your own circle.
Stories are also key.
Students focussed on price are not thinking long term, but by telling stories about how some of your students have succeeded in trying circumstances, it get’s the readers to think more about this. To put themselves in that position. To imagine themselves passing a test and having that freedom.
And that’s what we want.
Customers coming to us looking to learn safe driving for life.
You can find Amanda Leek at:
Publishing pounces Facebook page
Paws to Pounce Facebook group
When I decided to create The Instructor Podcast, I had a selection of topics in mind that I wanted to cover, one of which was coaching. The fabulous Bob Morton was my first and only consideration.
Bob first became an ADI in 1989, but fully qualified in 1990. Initially starting alone, but then joining the LDC in 1991, working his way up through the company until becoming director of training. Bob now plans to retire at the end of 2021.
In this first episode of show, Bob recalls how coaching was first introduced into the driving instructor industry and how he initially thought it was just another fad and tells a story about how he witnessed an ADI put a student into a dangerous situation and explains why he thinks that was what made the DVSA stick the course this time.
He explains how we shouldn’t be just letting the learner do whatever they want to do, but we should be encouraging them to take an active role in their learning.
There’s stories and examples of instructors on standard checks who failed for not putting the needs of the student first.
When asking a student what they want to practice on that lesson and the student replies with “You’re the instructor, you tell me!” you’ll find tips on how to handle that situation while remaining client centred and using coaching.
How to avoid using judgemental language such as “What can we do to make that better?” and instead talk about outcomes or asking what could be done different.
You might be a good instructor, but that doesn’t mean you’re good at coaching.
Bob also goes in depth into how the word why generates a defensive response and what we can use in its place.
Other topics we cover include:
Coaching is essentially about getting the learning out, rather than getting the learning in. Most learners will already have a knowledge of how to drive. They spend time in taxi’s, with parents and on public transport.
Yes, some of their ideas may need a bit of a nudge, but let them learn.
It was great talking to Bob on this first episode of The Instructor podcast. Many thanks to him for joining me.
You can follow Bob on Facebook and YouTube or check out his subscription course: Client Centred Learning – Driving Instructor Training
You can also join Bob's Facebook group for driving instructors: The Driving Instructors Surgery.
We'd love to hear your comments on this episode. Did Bob Sway you more towards the coaching side, or are you more against it than ever?