How to deal with driving test nerves
Our tips for tackling driving test nerves will make sure you keep your cool on the day.
First published: 4th May 2016
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Prepare as much as you can
Your instructor will often recommend a mock test before the real thing. Make sure you’ve attempted at least one of these – preferably several – and that you can pass them before you even apply for the real thing.
The night before your test, make sure you have all the documents you need for your test ready. These include your driving licence, theory test certificate and confirmation email/letter of the appointment.
Familiarise yourself with the test centre
It’s a good idea to visit the driving test centre before the test itself, especially if you haven’t already been there during your lessons. This will help you get used to the location and understand what goes on inside the centre. It’s best to get there early on the day, as rushing will just add to your nerves.
Eat and drink well
Have a banana for breakfast. Bananas are well known among instructors as the driving test superfood, as they’re full of B vitamins and contain tryptophan – a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ – which will help calm your nerves keep your mood upbeat.
Nerves can reduce your appetite but it’s important to at least eat something so you have enough energy for the day and can concentrate. Don’t drink energy drinks or too much coffee before a test, as caffeine can heighten your nerves.
The waiting game
Sitting in the waiting room before your test is often the time when people feel the most anxious so it’s a good idea to bring a distraction such as a book or a game on your phone.
Breathing exercises are an effective calming technique so focus as you inhale and exhale – this will have a soothing effect and stop your heart from racing. Laughing is also a great remedy for nerves and helps to boost your mood, so why not watch or read something that really makes you giggle? Remember that this is the worst bit – most people find their nerves ease once they’re on the road.
In the car
The examiner is human and they’re not there to fail you – they want you to pass – so don’t be afraid to talk to them as it may put you at ease. There’s nothing wrong with asking the examiner a question or to repeat an instruction if you didn’t hear it, either.
Open the window to let in some fresh air if you’re feeling hot and flustered – this can also help to keep you alert. Watch your speed too – when people sometimes speed up when they’re nervous, so just imagine you’re on a normal lesson, breathe and focus.
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