Before driving on public roads (this includes the supermarket car park) or to take your theory test, you must have a valid Provisional Driving Licence.

Although you may already be taking lessons or even be ready to take your practical test, you cannot apply for your practical test until you have passed the theory test.

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The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) application form (Form D1) can be obtained from your local Post Office but you can also apply online from the ‘Direct Gov’ website.  You can apply for your licence up to 3 months before your 17th birthday but it is not valid until you are 17 so you will not be able to take lessons on a public road, nor can you take your theory test until then.

If you receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, you can drive at 16.

You can apply for your first British provisional driving licence online if you:

• Are a resident of Great Britain

• Meet the minimum age requirement

• Can meet the minimum eyesight requirement, you must be able to read a number plate at 20.5 metres or 20 metres for newer style plates

• You are not currently prevented from driving for any reason at all

• Can pay by MasterCard, Visa, Maestro, Electron, Delta or Solo debit or credit card

• Have a valid UK passport or another form of identity

• Can provide addresses of where you have lived over the last three years

As a photo is required for your licence, the DVLA can use your passport photo if you have one. If you don’t have one, or you want to use a different one, this will need to be sent to the DVLA separately.

costs for licences here

Some foreign licences can be exchanged, others cannot and you will have to take a test. The link below will give you more information.

 Can I exchange my  foreign licence?

The Theory Test

Is in two sections; 50 multiple-choice questions and a hazard perception video test. You will need to pass both parts to get your certificate…

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However, you can do the theory before even getting in a car. I have had quite a few pupils do the theory first. Generally, they will take fewer lessons because they have some familiarity with a situation and I do not have to explain as much! I can offer help and advice on passing the theory test.

Only once you have passed this can you apply to take your practical driving test.

As of January2012, the actual multiple choice theory test questions are no longer published. This means that those found in revision materials of any kind will give you an idea of the type of questions and answers to expect but will NOT be exactly the same as those you will face during the test itself.

This change was introduced to ensure you gain a better understanding of driving theory rather than simply memorising questions and answers.

You do actually need to read the books etc and understand what is there. You need to look in the textbooks. Back in the ‘stone age’ when I passed we had to understand ALL the Highway code, we were asked a series of questions and had to answer correctly, it was not hard if we had revised. Dyslexic candidates will receive additional help on the test.

Hazard perception

Before you start the hazard perception part of the test, you’ll be shown a short video clip about how it works before being shown a series of video clips on a computer screen. The clips feature everyday road scenes and contain at least one developing hazard – but one of the clips will feature two developing hazards. There are 14 clips containing 15 hazards.

A developing hazard is something that may result in you having to take some action, such as changing speed or direction and what you need to do is identify these as early as possible to get as high a score as possible (max 5 per clip).The Theory test is valid for two years, after that, you will have to take it again if you have not yet passed your practical.

The Practical Test

When your driving has reached a sufficiently high standard and you have passed your theory test, you can arrange your practical test.

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How far in advance you’ll need to book varies depending on the number of other learners applying at the same time.

You should not just book a test before discussing it with your instructor, he or she may not be available that day! The test will last for 37 to 40 minutes, and takes in various roads and conditions, there will be one manoeuvre, either a turn in the road (three point turn) a reverse into a parking bay, a parallel park around another vehicle, or a reverse around a corner, you maybe asked to do an emergency stop. An ‘independent driving’ section is now included as part of the practical test during which time – about ten minutes – you will be required to follow signs, e.g. for the station, or for Buckingham etc., or a simple map, as simple as one you would sketch for a friend to find their way across three or four junctions or turns. This is done to see how well you drive without directions from your examiner. If you go the wrong way that is not a problem. It is a driving test, not a test of following directions.

Jenny said ‘not a test, it is an assessment, test is too harsh a word’

The examiner has to assess your driving and be sure you are fit and safe to be out on your own, and your judgement is up to whatever situation you encounter. Tomorrow you will be on your own.

Go to the official site for general practical test information or book your practical test online.

See the Official DSA Video on Independent Driving by following this link

Click here to go to the home page of driving lessons Milton Keynes.