The test is booked
Joe is 20 years-old and lives in Poole, Dorset. He's decided to let us in on his experience of learning to drive, and promises to tell us exactly what happens when he takes his test; minors, majors and everything.
After eight months, Joe has passed his theory test and the practical test is just around the corner. He's determined not to let nerves get the better of him, so even his girlfriend won't know when the big day is. Good luck Joe!
It's an anxious time, but after eight months of practising I can finally see the end. Don't think I'm going to tell you the date though - I haven't even told my girlfriend. My feeling is that there's no need to pile the pressure on myself, it will only make me even more nervous on the day.
The theory test
Before I booked my driving test I needed to pass the theory test. This was a weird experience; I was ushered into a room where at least 10 people of all ages sat at separate booths focusing on their touch-screens, all at various stages of their test. It looked intimidating and reminded me of one of those rooms in prisons where inmates talk to visitors through the glass. I then sat for an agonizing 20 minutes or so, nervously answering questions varying from safe road usage to when you may receive a cover note (before you get your insurance certificate, if you were wondering).
I had to answer 50 multiple choice questions followed by 14 short hazard perception video clips. You need to get at least 43 out 50 questions right for the multiple choice questions and 44 out of 75 for the hazard perception questions. Without boring you with the details, I passed! I'm so relieved because it costs £30 a pop and they're so easy to mess up, no matter how good you may have been in practice.
"My instructor said I could pass the test if I took it tomorrow, but it's about staying relaxed and not being overcome by the situation on the day."
You may have noticed a recurrent theme dominating these diary entries - nerves. This doesn't put the whole learning to drive experience in a favourable light, because it has actually been really fun and I still enjoy it. I don't even consider myself a particularly nervous person, it's just that I think too much. At the same time, I'm comfortable on the road and I'm increasing my hours of practise as much as I can. My instructor said I could pass the test if I took it tomorrow, but it's about staying relaxed and not being overcome by the situation on the day. Oh, and those pesky manoeuvres need to be mastered. Much time will be spent perfecting those skills, which I know when I've passed will become a lot less disciplined than they are now.
I will pass!
When I'm a passenger with my friends and family I'm always watching how they drive and a clear pattern is occurring - nobody drives like they're taught. They don't do half the necessary mirror checks and I can't say I'm surprised. The process of looking behind my left shoulder, looking at the left wing mirror, looking at the rear view mirror, the right wing mirror and then finally over my right shoulder is doing my head in. Literally! My neck aches after my lessons these days. If I fail on that I'll be quite miffed.
I'm fully determined to pass my driving test first time. I could really do with passing before I finish university, which is in a matter of months. I must change my daily routine to accommodate my training schedule. I will drive all the hours of the day, I will do 100 press ups and sit ups and I will go over each manoeuvre mentally every few minutes. "Gotta get sharp, gotta get ready," I keep thinking. In the Orwellian sense, "I will work harder!"