Driving Test Syllabus

You will need to learn to drive and maneuver the car in the DSA approved manner.

Passing the driving test is straight forward as long as you receive the correct training, and learn the correct methods. Learning to drive is an important part of your life, opening new doors . . .  The driving test is getting harder, so learning to drive correctly is very important.

Methods of driving have changed and have been updated over the years.

So what was correct for your parents may no longer be correct today. Such as stopping safely, as an example, you are no longer required to change down through the gears and instead you can now block gear change, which will form part of your training.

Key Skills

The term 'Key Skills' means you must have knowledge, show a good attitude and experience to achieve the DSA's safe driving for life award of a full UK Driving Licence.


Vehicle checks

The cockpit drill

The ancillary controls

The major controls

Moving off & normal stops

Junctions and Roundabouts

Pedestrian crossings

Response to signs/signals


Clearance to vehicles



  • Turn in the road 
  • Reverse Left (into a side road)
  • Reverse park at roadside (Parallel Park)
  • Reverse into parking bay

Controlled stop Speed & Progress

Independent driving and riding section of the practical test




Independent driving explained

Your practical driving test will include approximately 10 minutes of independent driving.

During your test you’ll have to drive independently by either following:

  • traffic signs
  • a series of directions
  • a combination of both

To help you understand where you are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will show you a diagram.

It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way - that can happen to the most experienced drivers.

Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. Driving independently means making your own decisions - this includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you’re going.

Watch a video about independent driving


The independent driving route

If you ask for a reminder of the directions, the examiner will confirm them to you.

If you go off the independent driving route it won’t affect the result of your test unless you commit a driving fault.

If you go off the route or take a wrong turning, the examiner will help you to get back on the route and continue with the independent driving.

If there are poor or obscured traffic signs, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign - you won’t need to have a detailed knowledge of the area.

You can’t use a sat nav for independent driving as it gives you turn-by-turn prompts. Independent driving tests how you make your own decisions.


Find out the cost of theory and practical driving tests when you book on Directgov

THEORY & HAZARD PERCEPTION TEST:  http://www.direct.gov.uk/booktheorytest

PRACTICAL DRIVING TEST ONLINE:  http://www.direct.gov.uk/bookpracticaltest  

Or call: DSA Contact centre: 0300 200 1122