Learning to drive

How to get over failing your driving test

We are all only human. You can't be on top of your game 100% of the time - no one is - and driving is really hard. So it stands to reason that, prepared as you may be, you might fail a test or 2 (or 5, in the case of more than 1 person I know) before you pass. I failed my first test. It happens.

Of course, making sure you're super prepared can help you avoid another fail, but here are some tips that focus more on the FEELS.

  1. Remember that you are essentially a monkey wearing clothes

    You weren't designed to drive a car - nobody was. If you'd told me 6 months ago that I would be able to reverse a Renault Clio through a 6 metre gap between a skip and a wall, I'd have smiled politely at your misplaced belief in my abilities.

    We take too many skills for granted. So give yourself a break and a pat on the back: you're getting good at something that is so far beyond what nature intended it's practically a super power.

  2. Get back on the horse

    So now you're a monkey on a horse? My point is this: a driving test fail can make you never want to get in a car again. But the sooner you do, the sooner you can work on the silly little mistakes and get that pass.

    Failing your driving test is just like stalling a car: it seems awful because you feel stupid and like you're holding everything up. But really, it's just mechanics - it happens all the time, and the best way to get over it is to keep calm and go on with the process.

  3. Think of the first test(s) as practice

    I know a girl who says she passed first time - she just took 2 tests first as practice. I think that's a great way to look at it because it's really hard to ace something you've never done before.

    Taking multiple tests isn't ideal, but think how much more prepared you'll be next time. You know exactly what to expect and half the battle (fearing the unexpected) is done with.

    Remember: under 50% of drivers pass their practical test first time!
  4. Book your next go

    Set your sights on when you'd next like to try - your driving instructor will be able to help you with that. Just don't lose the vibe you've built up: remember that you should have done all your learning by now and you need to stay in test prep mode.

    What you failed on will tell you where you need most practice, but don't obsess at the cost of the basics. The thing that tripped you up last time might not even come up.

  5. If you're gearing up for another go, take a look at our advice on how to pass your driving test.


Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .

  • Molly Jane Carroll

    Reading this has calmed me down a lot. I haven’t failed a test, mine is in 2 weeks time but I had an AWFUL driving lesson today and I started to panic even more about failing because I can’t stand the thought however, I am now thinking ok, learn from your mistakes, take these 2 weeks as time to improve and it won’t go perfectly so don’t be affected by a little flaw like changing gear a little bit late; I just need to carry on as I would.

    • Hi Molly, glad it’s helped you. You just have to remember it’s exactly the same as a driving lesson – they’re just another human! I’ve found the very best way to calm yourself down at the beginning is to smile a lot. Try to chat back to the examiner as they’re asking you what you’d like to be called etc. – it’ll fool your brain into thinking the whole thing is just a normal day.

      You also have a LOT of leeway (you’re allowed 15 mistakes as long as they’re not serious) on little things like changing gear. The most important thing is your observation and safety, so work on your hazard perception.

      Good luck, let us know how it goes.


      • Toni

        Hi I failed today thought it went ok failed on not properly head to check as moving off n for changing lanes at last minute due to roadworks really stupid what u get failed on

        • Hi Toni.

          Sorry to hear that – sucks doesn’t it? Unfortunately observation is the biggest deal, especially if you miss it at a point where it could be dangerous. Not checking your mirror when you should is usually a minor but your examiner obviously thought it was dangerous in that situation. Trouble is, those situations are when you’re most stressed and likely to make mistakes!

          I’ve failed twice for stopping at a GREEN LIGHT because my poor scared brain stumbled over the green arrow/solid green – at the same set of lights both times. So stupid, but the driving test is a lot of pressure so it’s understandable. Just.

          Do a couple of driving lessons to keep your focus up and work on your mirrors, then go for it. Make sure you book your test ASAP so you’re not waiting too long. Good luck, hope you sail through next time!


  • Roshan

    I failed the test Today and lost confidence that I can pass, Thanks for the post, will book test again

    • As someone who failed 4 times, I can promise that you CAN pass. 🙂

      The nerves are your greatest barrier so get your confidence up with lots of private practice if you can.

      Good luck!


      • Syeda Sana Bokhari

        failed my test today..feeling aweful ;(

        • Hi Syeda,

          Really sorry to hear that – it sucks! It will be over soon though, just got to keep slogging through. Once you pass you’ll forget how rubbish this bit was. Good luck!


  • floydthatcrazylass

    Yeah failed today and a lot was riding on me passing, the pressure made me crack. Did so many stupid things I’ve never done whilst driving before. Nothing beats feeling like you’ve not just let yourself down but everyone you love too. I’ve re-booked and my next test is in just under two months time. That seems like aeons away to me right now. This post made me feel a bit better though, thanks.

    • Hi there – so sorry to hear you didn’t pass. I know it feels like the end of the world and two months seems like eternity, but you probably won’t have to wait that long in reality. Make sure you read this post about getting a cancellation slot: I failed my test 4 times and each time I managed to get a 2 month wait down to a month or less. Good luck – I know exactly how you feel!


  • MZ

    No need to feel sorry for yourself. That’s a defeatist attitude!!
    Few tips: 1) When booking your practical pick a time slot where the roads are fairly busy. This way, you have to do less driving 2) Always drive 3-5 miles below speed limit to kill time 3) When taking lessons, ask your driving instructor to get you to drive along the examiner’s route. This way you can familiarise yourself with the route 4) When doing the manoeuvres, do them as slowly as possible (ensure the car keeps moving but slowly) 5) Relax. Don’t think you have to drive perfectly. As long as you are road worthy – you pass.

    • Hey MZ. Some good advice in here, particularly number 5. It’s not about being the best, most elegant driver ever – the most important thing is showing you’re safe.

      I wouldn’t advise purposely keeping 5 mph under the speed limit for the whole test – it could be pretty obvious and is essentially distracting you from the job at hand. You do need to be tested! Passing when you shouldn’t is a pretty dangerous state of affairs.

      Taking things SLOOWWWWWW is very good advice, especially for manouevres.

      Thanks MZ!


  • MZ

    Driving a few miles below speed limit is perfectly acceptable. Speed limits are not targets you need to reach. They are guidelines. Sure, you don’t want to drive @10mph on a 30mph road. But, doing 25-27 is perfectly fine.

    • Yup, remembering they’re not a target is very important. But I would say that during your test, your examiner wants to be sure you know what the speed limit is and you’re doing the APPROPRIATE speed. That includes not holding people up unnecessarily and making good progress on roads you join, as someone coming up fast behind you will expect you to be doing a certain speed.

      I just think trying to tactically waste time is going to distract you and potentially rub an examiner up the wrong way. The test is the length it is because that’s how long it takes to assess a new driver and make sure they’ll be safe on their own. Couple of mph under the limit, sure.

      Thanks for the debate 😉


  • MissP

    Failed my first test on a silly fault today. Feeling heart broken. Booked next test and it’s 3 months away.

  • Aimee

    I failed my test and it’s my first lesson after the test. Mines not until September and I feel annoyed at myself because you see all these people saying I’ve passed.

    • Hi Aimee,

      You do see a lot of people saying they passed but that’s because people don’t tend to shout about it when they fail. Trust me – I failed 4 times and certainly didn’t want anyone knowing! Keep checking for test cancellations to see if you can get a closer date. If you check several times a day, you’re guaranteed to see one.

      You’ll get there, don’t lose heart.


  • Emily Horsfield

    Absolutely gutted had my first today and failed 3minors 1majour (van looked like he was going round round about and as I went he signalled to come off ! Really disheartened me got myself so upset and worked up about failing

    • Hey Emily. Sorry to hear you didn’t pass. Rest assured that no matter how it feels, most people fail first time. Think of this one as a practice run and keep looking at the test times to see if you can get a cancellation slot soon.

      I hope the next one goes better but remember you did REALLY well this time so it won’t be long now.


  • Kaushalya Samaranayake

    Did my test today and failed with 3 minors and two serious faults. It was for taking a while to turn right at a junction and not getting in to the left hand lane in a dual carriage way soon enough. Next test booked for mid October. Feels everything is on hold due to this.

    • Hi Kaushalya,

      So sorry to hear you didn’t pass. I know October is really far away but if you keep checking the test booking system, you’re bound to find a cancellation slot before then. Did you see this post: ?

      At the bottom of that page, there’s my tips for getting a cancellation slot. I hope you get one – sounds like you’re not far off with that few minors!

      Good luck,

  • Marissa Matthews

    This whole experience is so upsetting. I’m 17 and recently found out I’m pregnant. I failed my drivers test and the next available slot is in September. It sucks so bad when you have anxiety before and even before the test begins you get the most rude instructor who makes you doubt yourself and you make a small mistake- the test is over. I can’t get a job now unless I illegally drive myself there. Everything is ruined unless I can get a cancellation slot- which in Texas, good luck. :/
    I hate driver instructors. They are so upsetting and intimidating.

    • Hi Marissa,

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a tough time – I really felt for you reading that. I’m afraid I can only advise on UK driving stuff but keep trying to get a cancellation. I failed 4 tests and I would have been waiting at least 2 months each time if I hadn’t got cancellations. Whether it’s online or over the phone, STALK them until you get one.

      I was suffering really bad with anxiety when I was taking my tests so I know exactly how it feels. Don’t let an examiner bother you. They’re just people and people have bad days – they might even believe it’s their job to make it hard to pass, who knows. You’re the priority – kill them with kindness and be extra smiley so they have to be nice to you!

      If you need any advice while you’re waiting for another slot, feel free to ask anything. Good luck,


  • Shamsad Kamal

    I just failed my test for the 3rd time. On reverse round a corner which went very wrong. That was it. Feeling really upset and frustrated with myself. Feel like a failure. Next one booked in Dec. Going to buy a car and get my husband to take me out everyday.

    • Hi Shamsad,

      Really sorry to hear that, it’s a horrible feeling. However, you’re already on top of what you need to do – private practice is the absolute best thing. You’ll get so much more confident practising outside of lessons, where you obviously feel watched. I failed 4 times and passed after I bought a car and started practising with my mum. It really makes the difference.

      I hope next time is the one for you. Good luck!


      • Shamsad Kamal

        Thank you for your kind and we’ll advised words. I just have to try and over the upset as it is still v raw. May be next time. In the meantime I will buy a car and go driving with my husband every day.

        • You’re very welcome. One of the weirdest parts of passing your driving test is realising you’ll probably never have to go through anything like it again. I hope you feel better about it once you start getting more practice – I think you’ll definitely feel more in control and confident in your abilities.

          Come back and let me know how you get on. I’ll be cheering you on!


  • Rebecca Viney

    I failed my first test on Tuesday…hadn’t even left the test centre before I failed! Somehow decided it would be a good idea to drive on the right hand side of the road not the left…I am in England haha! What an idiot nerves just took over but how stupid and then had to do the whole thing anyway knowing I had already failed. Just gotta laugh it off and concentrate better on my next try in three weeks time 🙂

    • You’re certainly not the first person I’ve heard that from Rebecca… The pressure just makes you crazy. You’ve got a good attitude to it though, and you’re pretty lucky to only be waiting 3 weeks! It’s around 2 months at my nearest test centre.

      Good luck for next time,


      • Rebecca Viney

        Thanks I got really lucky booked my retest for November, half hour later decided to check for a cancellation and one just popped up as I was looking!

  • Sarah Scohy

    Totally bombed my test today :/ Feel like a failure!! My friends, boyfriend and I even were joking that I would fail–though we were all positive I would pass. The instructor said that I was stopping wayyyy after the stop sign, into the intersection! I stopped before the sign, then inched foreword if I wasn’t able to see oncoming cars. Word of advise! DON’T DO THAT! It also didn’t help that the instructor was pretty rude as well. So discouraging and embarrasing. 🙁

    • Oh no! Don’t be put off by this first try, Sarah. From ‘intersection’ and ‘stop sign’ I’m guessing you weren’t taking your test in the UK?

      Work on your gentle, confident stops and I hope next time goes better for you!


  • Nuahs87

    I only had 3 minors overall, but took a very tight bend on a hill in second gear, stalled and failed (quite justifiably) because I held up the car behind me in a dangerous area. I would gladly get back on the horse straight away, but tests are booked up until Christmas, which makes it a very expensive and drawn out process just to have the possibility of passing.

    • I feel you dude. Keep looking for cancellations because they do come up all the time – you just have to be on it. With just 3 minors, you’re clearly ready. Good luck!


  • So took my test today and got 4 minors and 1 silly major… Exit roundabout at the 3rd exit and I go round the left hand lane all the way…

    Feeling pretty crappy, not because I know I can’t do it, I can, it’s just that the waiting time is approaching 4-5months in my area in the north west…

    It’s a bit off putting now I’m hanging around just to give my instructor more money for very little instruction…

    NB I have no family on the mainland, and all my friends drive motorbikes so haven’t got any other vehicles to use 😩

    • I did very similar things on 4 tests before I passed – low on minors and then one silly major. You can definitely pass, so make sure you check for test slot cancellations every day. I don’t know why but 7pm seemed to be a good time for me!

      Good luck,


  • Chanine Harkcom

    Failed my driving test today. Had 4 minors but failed on rolling back once moving off. Silly little mistake
    I could kill myself

    • Oh Chanine! Don’t say that. I know it feels really bad (trust me, I cried every one of the FOUR times I failed…) but in the next few months it will all be over. You only got 4 minors – you’re so nearly there!

      Get as much private practice as you can (especially with hill starts and clutch control) and maybe go over moving off where you struggled with your instructor too.

      Good luck – you’ll probably ace it next time.

      Honor x

      • Chanine Harkcom

        Thankyou. I never thought I would even get to the test day. I sat the test thinkin I can do it and then I failed. It’s taken me 8 months to get to this stage and now I have to book again. It’s so frustrating. Really wanna do this for my kids. I cried my eyes out last night my driving instructor said we will work on wat went wrong so hopefully will be ok.
        Thanks for replying. Xx

        • Keep checking the booking system for cancellations so you can get an earlier slot if possible. You’ve got this, it’s just a case of keeping cool and carrying on whatever happens. Even something like rolling back – if you control it quickly and safely, making mistakes is fine.

          Good luck Chanine, really rooting for you!


  • Leanne

    I failed my 1st driving test today. I only had 3 minor and 1 major due to hitting a kerb. Does that sound normal? My instructor found it odd as I failed for hitting a kerb. He expected something more than that. I hate it, i feel like i just wanna give up 🙁

    • So sorry you didn’t pass Leanne. 🙁

      It all depends on how you handled the mistake. Technically it would be a minor I would think but if you didn’t regain control quickly enough…who knows. Was your instructor in the car with you? You might want to consider that for next time if not.

      Don’t give up. You were so close and this was just a little blip. You’re in a great position to pass next time as long as you don’t lose confidence. You’ve got this!

      Good luck,


  • Emily Burnell

    i failed my test today with no minors one 1 major . i came around a corner in first and there were parked cars on the left but i got too close to go around them so i had to reverse a bit. everything else was perfect. I’m just so annoyed at myself

    • That is sooooo unlucky! Don’t be annoyed at yourself – getting through that 45 minutes with nothing out of the ordinary happening is down to luck, to be honest. If you’d had 4 minors and a major I wouldn’t say that (because we usually don’t pass because we weren’t ready) but at least you know you ARE ready.

      Keep your chin up. You did really well and next time you’ll probably get 10 minors and pass! Always the way…

      Good luck,


  • Antonio Dadalto

    Just came back from my first try and failed it…it’s quite frustrating…oh well, I will just keep on practicing. What really bothered me was that I got a serious mark for a very silly mistake. I got in a roundabout and had to go straight, but I used the right lane, and when I took the exit I kept on the right for some time….quite annoying, but I hope it goes better next time

    • Hey Antonio. Sorry to hear about your roundabout fail. It’s a classic situation: something you’d usually get right suddenly throws you for no reason. Well, apart from nerves!

      You know the drill now so hopefully next time your brain will behave itself.

      Good luck,


      • Antonio Dadalto

        Thank you for the support Honor! I found your posts very instructive and comforting, it is quite a shock when you see you messed up. Hope I’ll do better on my next try 🙂

        • N’awww, you’re welcome. Glad they’ve helped. My problem was that I knew all the stuff but was SO nervous that I kept screwing up the simplest things! Quite often, the people who don’t deserve to pass sail through and the people who have really tried stumble. But I bet you’ll be a better driver for it.

          I’ll be cheering you on from here.

      • Jakob Aarum

        Whoops wrong post.

  • Jakob Aarum

    Failed my test for the first time today. I had 2 majors and 2 minors. I was about to drive onto the highway, when two trucks completely block my way and i slipped in between them. It was completely safe though. I also hit the brakes too late when a person crossed the street because i had to look behind me, so i didn’t see her in time. I have been so sad this whole day… i just know that i can drive better.

    • Sorry Jakob 🙁 Sounds like nerves to me but maybe try to get in some more practice around the area at the times you might do a test. Only 2 minors – pretty good. If you know you can drive better, it’s all about keeping that confidence for the test. YOU CAN DO IT!

      Good luck with the next one,


      • Jakob Aarum

        Thank you for the response 🙂 I am confident that i will make it next time. Thanks again for kind words.

  • Hi Alexander – sorry you didn’t pass. Sounds like it was a pretty frustrating experience but you know what you have to do now: more practice in the area so you feel confident for next time.

    Good luck!


  • El-Dieu Merrygold

    Failed my first test today, through parally parking which ive been doing really well with. my nerves got the best of me it was a narrow road with a bin lorry already on the road and moving closer and the bin men where walking around the car. i was told i failed because i did not look at the back mirror enough, mate seeing the messages has made me more determined!! going to book my test again. 1 minor nothing else

    • YASSSS – great attitude! Sorry you didn’t pass but really glad you’re on it for next time.

      Any random thing can go wrong during your test but it can after you pass too, so it’s better you conquer it now.

      Good luck!


  • Georgia Elliott

    I failed my driving test this morning before I had even left the carpark. I had to turn left onto a narrow road, there was a car approaching from the left but I thought I would have enough space to nudge by him. I began to nudge out but before I had even touched the edge of the road the examiner put the brakes on. I failed within 10 seconds of my test!

    I then spent the next 40 mins internally crying, I got 5 minors so I would’ve passed if my nerves of appearing hesitant got the better of me. I’M SO ANNOYED AT MYSELF!!!!!!!!! I know I can drive!

    This article really helped me though, thank you.

    • Sorry Georgia, that sucks :'( Examiners obviously have to be EXTRA safe so they have to assume you’re not going to stop in time and make that judgement call (one of my fails was because of a trigger-happy examiner but hey, I should have stopped sooner!). But you know, it could have gone another way – you never know until the end that you’ve passed or failed.

      The important point is that you HAVE to keep going. It’s good practice and you just never know. I passed on what felt like my worst drive ever, after having failed 4 times with very few minors.

      You know you can drive. Keep practising, keep checking in on your Highway Code. You can do this.

      Good luck,


  • Vivian Meza

    I failed my first test this morning. I could tell she was going to be a pain the moment she sat in my car. She read the instructions to me and sounded SO uninterested. She then told me to park straight inside the cones and that I had 2 tries. Keep in mind my car is HUGE and I tried to the best of my ability (the space between the cones were very narrow). I was parking perfectly and the front of the car BARELY touched the cone. She failed me and told me I was disqualified. When I asked for my second chance she said no very rudely and told me to go back. I am SO upset with myself and even more NERVOUS for the next test. Sigh*

    • Oh, I’m so sorry! That does sound like an examiner having a bad day. Are you in the US? The cones sound like outside the UK!

      Juat remember: you did a pretty good job and you got a bit unlucky. You can get more parking practice in tight spots, then ace it next time.

      Good luck!


      • Vivian Meza

        Yes, I’m from Florida! The good thing is that you are allowed to practice with those cones after hours, so I will make sure to ace it next time!

        Also, thanks for the reply and the article as well!

        • Aw, no problem. Yup, you get weaving in and out when everyone’s gone home. You’ll be so glad of it later, when you’ve passed your test and you actually have to PARK places!

  • Pat A

    I failed today and cried so bad afterwards. I do fine when I practice. But my nerves got the best of me today. I’m so dissapointed in myself cuz I know I had it in me to pass. My examiner was so intimidating. I kept making mistakes I don’t normally make the second i started the car. It was like a domino effect. The fact that it was raining didn’t help either. I felt all the negative emotions that comes after you fail and started googling “failed my road test”. This article helped. Thanks. At least now I know what to expect. And hearing other people’s experience made me feel less of a failure. It just sucks. Good luck to everyone retaking it.

    • Oh Pat 😭

      I’m so sorry you’re upset. I know just how it feels as I failed 5 times… Not passing first time is so normal. The majority of people do not pass first time. It sucks to go through it but you’re by no means alone.

      Work on what went wrong, tell yourself you can do it. Hit it out the park next time.

      Good luck,


      • Pat A

        Thank you. It means so much to me right now cuz I’m in self loathing mode. But I know I’ll get over it eventually. It’s just so fresh. You want something so bad and you end up not getting it. That’s the thing. You can practice perfectly, gain confidence, and when the time comes, everything goes out the window. It sucks. One little mistake can affect your train of thought. I already had a bad feeling about today when I woke up especially with the results of the election. On top of that, a piece of my glasses broke right before the examiner came. Murphys law. My advice to other test takers reading this is to try to stay calm. If you make a mistake, don’t panick. Signal. Look for your blind spots and be on the lookout for on coming cars. Take your time. Once I regain confidence, I will try again cuz being behind the wheel is just so exhilarating. Failing will just make you want to do better next time.

        • Well said! Great advice for anyone taking their test.

          Commiserations on the election. That was a bad day to take your test!

          Good luck Pat, come back any time if you need help.


    • Nessa

      I’m crying as I’m typing this lol i hate failing. I just failed my first test because i didn’t stop at a red light before making the right turn. It seems stupid when i say it but i could already see there were no cars coming from any direction so i just turned. The examiner already had a scary annoyed attitude so that didn’t make things better. He said “where is the stop at the red light?” & made a disappointed sigh. Or like “are you serious” reaction. I was sooo nervous so i didn’t even pay attention to that detail. I’ve been driving long enough to be able to tell when it’s safe to turn that i haven’t realized that i don’t really acknowledge things like that. Guess it’s time to make another appointment.

  • Sarah Lamar

    Hi I failed today – first time taking the test was in tears!! I do well on my lessons!! My nerves got the better of me today and I failed on silly things!! My examiner was not very nice and was in a bad mood! as soon as she spoke to me I though that’s it game over!! It started off bad and just got worse!!!I It has put me off a bit but I need to get back on the horse!! I won’t let it get to me – well I will try just see it as a practice test is the best way I think and try not to over think too much, I just hope I don’t get the same examiner next time!!!!!

    • Booo 😢

      I know it feels rubbish but the first time is definitely the worst time. Think how much less you’ll be turning over in your head next time: you’ll know what to do and what’s going to happen next.

      Don’t let a grumpy examiner get to you. 40 minutes with them and then you never have to look at their face again! It’s such a short amount of time and you just have to get through it. If you think from the beginning that you’re doomed, you’ll mess with your own head. POSITIVITY!

      Good luck with the next one – onwards and upwards.


  • This article really helped. I failed my fourth test a few hours ago and haven’t stopped crying since – I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and the only thing worse than feeling stupid (17 year olds can drive, why can’t I?!) is being so embarrassed about coping so badly. This is the only article I found since that actually makes sense. Thanks Honor <3

    • Yup, I’ve been there! My fourth fail was such a kick in the stomach because I made the exact same mistake I’d made on my first test: stopping at a green light. I couldn’t believe how stupid I was. I gave myself such a hard time for the same reasons you are.

      Now I’ve been driving a year, I know I’m just a very nervous person in a situation like that. There’s nothing else like it! You WILL get this, Bethany. Other people are more naturally OK with this particular environment but that doesn’t mean they’re better drivers.

      I really hope next time is the one for you but if it’s not, don’t give up. The real learning comes after, and that’s when you’ll gain your confidence.

      Good luck, let me know how it goes.


      • Megan Bronwen Jones

        I’m in the same boat as you I’m 27 and I’ve put off driving cz I’ve never been great at any type of test! I failed my 3rd test yesterday and I’m now loosing all confidence. Yesterday I only got one minor and a serious for stalling at a roundabout because I was waiting in 2nd gear and then when I saw a gap to go I stalled right in the middle of the roundabout causing traffic to stop until I got my act together! Thing is with me I have never struggled with any maneuver which most people worry about the most mine is gears!!! I just have so many dumb blonde moments! I’ve booked another test in 2 weeks and I just want it out of the way. I dread to think how much money I’ve spent ughhhh.

        • Arghhh Megan, I feel this so much.

          I think when your problem is TESTS not driving in general, the only thing to do is keep repeating until it sticks. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to do – but now I love driving and everything’s cool.

          You’re making so few mistakes (mistakes that people make all the time in the real world) that you’re clearly ready. You’re just struggling because you hate tests!

          Every time you come to a stop at a roundabout, say in your head FIRST GEAR so you’re ready to go immediately when it’s clear. Roundabout stop = FIRST GEAR. Maybe me yelling that at you will stick in your mind?!

          I hope so. Come back and let me know how it went.


  • Sorry Oliver, that sucks. I hear from quite a few people in the US and it does seem like your examiners are much less bothered than ours here in the UK.

    You can’t change how someone else behaves. You CAN change how it affects you. Keep your mind on your business and believe you can do it. Your examiner is doing his or her job and if you drive well enough, their job is to pass you.

    Chin up, it’s only a matter of time. Good luck!


  • debbie goodman

    I failed my 1st test yesterday. Even though for last few weeks have been doing mocks and passing everyone yesterday just threw me……..had no nerves whatsoever until the examiner got into car and was the most ignorant person I have ever met (like he just did not want to be there)!!! So done my show me tell me but still got a minor, leaving test centre I stalled for 1st time ever and that was it nerves went out the window!!! What gets me though when it came to my independent drive I was always told you can ask them if you forget your directions my examiner told me that I had to memorise mine and not ask (I have no sense of direction) so there is me shaking like a leaf heart pumping that bad it was in my throat and no idea where I’m meant to be going all the while the examiner is huffing and puffing in my ear. So now I’m going back out with my instructor in a week but to be honest my confidence has been really knocked🙁

    • Hi Debbie,

      That sounds like a really upsetting test and (I don’t often say this) your examiner sounded like he was in the wrong. For your next test, take your instructor out with you. They can’t say anything but it will mean the examiner will behave themselves!

      You can ask if you forget your directions and, actually, if you go wrong you shouldn’t be penalised as long as you’re safe.

      Don’t be put off by this. Keep practising, get your confidence back up and try to put this one grumpy guy out of your mind. Not all examiners are like that AT ALL so keep your chin up.

      Good luck for next time,


      • debbie goodman

        Yesterday I finally got the courage up and emailed the customer service of the dvsa and put a complaint in against him!! After speaking to a few people I realised I’m not the 1st person he has done this on. So we will see what happens now just hope I don’t get him on my next test!!!!

        • Good for you Debbie. Most of the time when I hear an examiner was ‘unfair’ it’s just someone’s natural reaction to the test being harder than they thought, but this did sound like maybe something was wrong.

          However fair or unfair the examiner is, they shouldn’t make you feel horrible so I hope you get an apology if one’s in order.

          Good luck with it x

  • Don’t worry Heather! Just get back on the road and try again.

    I believe in you.


  • Hi Julian,

    Wow, bad weather and a grumpy examiner – that’s not what you need on test day.

    Don’t be put off by this though. Just think of it as practice and hopefully next time you’ll get a more cheerful examiner. If you get the same guy on your next test then you can always ask him politely if he can speak slower and be clearer with his instructions. It’s important that you feel confident during the test.

    Good luck!


  • Hi Carrington,

    Oh no! This makes me very sad. The instructor should never have made you feel like that – very unprofessional. People fail their driving test ALL THE TIME, especially when their asked to carry out a manoeuvre.

    It just sounds like the nerves got to you that day – which is completely normal. You can parallel park perfectly when you’re not under test conditions so you just need to try and keep calm during the test and remind yourself that you know exactly what you’re doing.

    We have a page on parallel parking which you might find useful too:

    Don’t be frightened to retake your test – and don’t let that big meany win.

    Best of luck.


  • Sarah Archer

    I failed my first test today and I am still in a funk 12 hours later! I had one minor (indicating too early) and one major. What really gets me is that the major was such a stupid thing! He said “take the next right” I saw a turn on the right, slowed down to turn into it then realised it had ‘no entry’ signs, I said outloud “oops that’s no entry” and carried on. He said this was a major for not recognising Road signs, to be honest I feel like I handled the situation safely and didn’t actually make a turn so it should just have been a minor! Ohwell the next test is already booked, I am praying that I don’t make another stupid mistake like that again. At the end he even told me I was a very good driver, a kick in the teeth!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Ahh man, that really sucks – especially if you don’t know the area very well. It sounds like he was testing you at that point, as the examiner would have known the immediate ‘next right’ was technically a ‘no entry’ road.

      Don’t worry about it too much Sarah. It sounds like you did the best you could in that situation as physically driving down a no entry road would have been much worse – on the driving test and in real life.

      It’s great to hear you’ve got the next test booked in already – getting straight back in the driving seat is the best thing to do. Being told you’re a very good driver by the examiner himself is a great confidence boost too 🙂

      Fingers crossed for next time!


  • Thanks for sharing your experience Catrin – I know how much it SUCKS!

    You’ve got a great attitude to it, though, and you’re really putting in the work. I thought I’d never pass towards the end but it just takes one good day, then you’re out doing the real learning.

    I’m prepared to bet you’ll be a better driver after all this, so that’s something!

    Good luck, come back and tell us how it went.


  • Laura Melling

    Failed my first test today 🙁 examiner was lovely about it and really helped by going through the faults afterwards but still gutted. Managed to stall 4 times- once on a roundabout which was pretty scary – nerves definitely got the better of me which isn’t that normal for me to be honest. Sounds strange but I am pleased with myself for a bit of it, overtook some cyclists which I’ve never done before, no-one died and I didn’t crash 🙂 bit sad but I’ll get back on the horse as soon as possible 🙆 fingers crossed for next time!

    • Hi Laura,

      I know it’s upsetting to fail any test but this is SO normal. Most people don’t pass first time but you do learn so much from it. Overtaking cyclists for the first time ON YOUR TEST is amazing and if you can do that, you can definitely find some more confidence for next time.

      Keep practising, challenge yourself – and good luck with your next test. Let me know how it goes!


  • Ronnie

    Hi Honor, I just wanted someone new to share how I feel at this moment with 🙁 😥I failed my practical test today. I wanted to present my result as a gift to my hubby, I so much looked forward to presenting it 🙁 😓😥😢
    Ok, examiner said I drove well, 5 minors, but just at the end of the test, he popped up the nerve cracking bay parking at the center!! I drove pretty well into the bay park, I moved forward a bit to reverse and do a good final parking, an arhhhrrr… 🙄 I moved with hand ✋ brake on 😟 and he said I didn’t look at the back of the car enough but at the mirrors when parking at the bay 😔
    Next test has been booked for Feb 21, wish me luck Honor😞

    • Oh no, Ronnie! Sorry to hear about your test. You build yourself up so much, don’t you? “I blatantly won’t pass but actually I could totally pass my test today.”

      Sounds like you’re sooooo close though. A month is a really great space to have – enough time to go over everything lots but not so long it feels like it’ll never happen.

      Good luck! Come back and tell me when you’ve passed. Next time, I bet.


  • Charlotte Leigh

    Failed my test yesterday because of my bay park. I was ready to reverse into the space when another learner driver came in behind me and parked in the one I was going to go in! I ended up parking in the one next to it but, I was making sure to keep an eye out for them as they were getting out of their car. Because of that I only glanced out of the window to my right once! That got me a major which is really annoying because that wouldn’t of happened if they hadn’t been there! Only 6 minors on the rest of my test and now I’ve got to wait another 3 months for another one! What’s even worse is that I need a licence for my year in industry placement in the summer 🙁

    • I bet you’ll make it by summer, Charlotte! Don’t let it get you down – it can be stupid bad luck and you’ll be perfect next time.

      Let us know how it goes next time and good luck.


    • Yaa Eshun

      Hi, just failed my third driving test today. The first one was just due to nerves. The second was overspeeding and 5 minor and today I got a fail for going too slow and 5 minors. I feel very sick and been crying all day.Dont know what might happen next

      • That’s really sad to hear, Yaa. You over-compensated because of the speeding last time which is totally understandable.

        Book your next test for a month from now and drive as much as you can. Go over the test routes to get yourself an instinctive feel for the area so your nerves don’t get in the way.

        I know it’s horrible now but it won’t be long, and it’s very worth it in the end.

        Good luck and keep going.


  • Tom


    I failed my first test for a couple of things, and even though they weren’t massively dangerous, and most drivers will do them all the time without accidents occurring, the instructor basically spoke to me like I was a child who had been acting up at a family party (despite me being 25 at the time) when he gave me my feedback.

    Much like you I was filled with emotion (rage for me rather than tears), and I would say 30% of my anger was at having failed, and 70% at the way the examiner spoke to me. However, from what I’ve heard, a lot of them are quite cocky and rude, even to people who have passed.

    I took a bit of a break from driving before I rebooked my test because he put me off, but my best advice to you is, book it ASAP and believe in yourself. I knew I was good enough to pass, sometimes it’s just not your day.

    On my second test I actually had more than twice as many minors, but because I relaxed a bit more, and took my time over things, I did the important things more successfully.

    If you remember anything from this it’s that your instructor wouldn’t have put you in that position if he/she didn’t think you could pass. You have the ability, just make sure you focus on the day, and take as much time as you need to, to get it right first time.

    I hope this helps (or that you’ve already passed!) 🙂


    • Good advice, Tom! Thanks for sharing your experience – it really helps to know other people go through the same stuff. When you fail it can feel like you’re the only person in the world that’s not managed it which is SO not true. People just don’t talk about it!

      Thanks a lot,


    • Rosco

      i just failed mine today. i go t points off for not being attentive in traffic. I fel so horrible about failing as well.

  • Victoria Doherty-Bone

    I failed my test for the 1st time today. I’m pretty downhearted, but in a way not at all surprised; the area I took it in has a really high fail rate, largely cos there’s loads of quirky little junctions and dual carriageways where instructors and examiners love to do awkward right hand turns. I did the manouvre really well, but then about 15 minutes in I badly messed up at a junction, a really horrible one I knew and detested from my lessons, a right turn at a 6 lane crossroads onto a dual carriageway that has another small road coming up immediately alongside the one I approached on. I *almost* pulled out when there was a car coming from the road ahead of me (I was focused too much on the traffic from the right.) I managed to notice it and stopped but I did it too late and I was just peaking out onto the road, which of course is a dangerous position and a major fail. After that, it went to hell a bit and I got another 3 majors.

    Already booked my retest, but bloody hell, it doesn’t half hit the bank account, and my confidence has been knocked quite badly (the examiner was quite obnoxious when going through the faults).

    • Chin up Victoria – only about 21% of people pass first time. Driving is a REALLY hard thing to do and the driving test is a particularly stressful situation.

      As I failed 4 times, I know all too well how much of a financial pit it is. That said, extra lessons are a good investment and will hopefully mean you only have to pay the driving test fee one more time.

      Good luck and don’t let this time put you off – it happens to most people!


  • Mary Rose Russo

    Hi honor, not sure if you’re still answering people and listening to their stories, but yesterday I failed my drivers test. I guess I didn’t exactly fail, but it made it even harder that I missed getting my licensee by 4 points. I feel like I’m almost rushing into it because I do a lot of sports and my parents work all day. I always feel like I’m burdening people with my issue of always getting rides. I tried to reschedule after and the lady said that I had to wait until the end of April (right now it’s April 8). When I failed I was crying, but inside I had a lot of anger pent up against myself, but reading these other comments and experiences, I felt better about knowing I’m not alone. I felt so embarrassed and ashamed that I didn’t pass, my “friends” had just bragged that they passed. As a younger teen I feel like second time could be the charm; I just don’t know if I can wait that long. I guess you could say sometimes I’m an impatient brat, which is how my dad sees me. My car arrives today and I will need to drive in the end of April, which means hopefully I can pass. Thanks for the tips and other stories, it’s really helped me believe that I can pass the second time.

    • Still reading, still listening!

      Sounds to me like there’s just way too much pressure on you to pass. Learning to drive isn’t just to make your life easier now; it’s probably the only training you’ll have for a skill you’ll need for the rest of your life. Don’t be so hard on yourself: it’s not an easy thing.

      Your friends may brag when they pass but there’ll be plenty of people you don’t hear bragging because they’re in the same situation as you. We only ever hear the success stories.

      You’re doing everything you can and you can’t be expected to get yourself to all your extra-curricular stuff until you pass, so don’t feel guilty. Pretty soon it will all be down to you so make the most of the rides!

      Believe in yourself but, more importantly, be kind to yourself. Driving isn’t suppose to be easy.

      Good luck,


  • Meg

    My birthday is today and I failed mine this morning. I’ve been crying non-stop and when I took my test, the instructor was very rude. I failed because he told me to make a right and I started to panic and instead, I made a left. I don’t know what to do and I am so embarrassed of telling my friends or even going to school tomorrow. I’m still crying as I type this and I have no idea what to do. I turned 17 today and I’m so disappointed in myself and afraid of what all my friends will think of me.

    • Oh Meg! This is the problem with society’s view of driving. Somehow you’re supposed to sail through the process of learning one of the hardest life skills there are!

      Driving is hard, the driving test is hard. The best driver in the world could be freaked out on the day and not pass. It’s no reflection on you and, statistically, most people fail first time. I failed 4 times!

      Don’t let it ruin your birthday – it’s not worth it. This will all be over with soon and THEN it’ll be worth it.

      Get booking your next test and get busy with the top up lessons and private practice. You’re so close and I bet you’ll do it next time.

      Tell you’re friends it’s a mathematical probability you wouldn’t pass. Everyone goes through this crap to get on the road and I doubt they’ll find it in anything but cause for sympathy.

      Good luck hun, chin up.

      Honor x

  • Been there Chloe! I had the exact same situation. The trouble is, they can’t allow you to make a mistake like that and their reflexes are likely to be quicker than yours. It’s so frustrating if you know you would have got there in time but that’s their job.

    You’ll get there. Two fails is pretty normal and it’s so important that you’re READY. Once you’ve passed it’ll all seem like a bad dream!

    Good luck Chloe,


  • Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Sorry to hear that it’s made you feel so rubbish. It sounds like the other driver went through exactly the same thought process as you did, as you both thought the other was letting you pass. It’s annoying that that happened but try to look at how the rest of the test went – 6 minors is a really good result, so clearly you’re nearly there.

    Statistically, most people fail 1st time so try not to dwell too much on it. It doesn’t make you any less of a good driver – in fact, it will make you a better driver in the long run.

    Good luck for the next test and don’t be put off by what happened last time.

    You can do it!


  • I’m so sorry! That’s so upsetting and I’ve been there myself. So frustrating.

    The good news: you did amazingly and you’re so prepared for next time!

    Good luck and don’t worry. You’re ready.


  • Hi Gareth,

    Sorry you’ve been waiting – the internet ate my reply!

    Speed is obviously a major consideration for the examiner and whether you can cope with distractions like the weather and having to use the instruments in your car is a biggie too.

    It’s really unfortunate but you will have to face difficult situations on the road by yourself once you’ve passed, so they do have to assess that kind of thing.

    I’m sorry you didn’t pass but it sounds like you’re nearly ready. Maybe get your instructor to run you through your wipers, demister, fog lights, radio and so on while you’re driving so you get some practice.

    Good luck,


  • hilda rockson

    Hii Ingenie,I failed my driving test today ,I was sooo nervous even though the examiner was quite nice to me ,I did 12 minors and one major ,I was sad but I expected it ,I didn’t feel ready ,I even told myself that if I were to pass,I still would have been scared of driving on my own
    Nonetheless ,I am still sad and disappointed in myself😔😔😔😔

    • Hi Hilda,

      Sorry to hear about that. There’s so much pressure to go for it before you’re ready but it’s a massive false economy as well as dangerous. Even when you do pass, you’ll still be nervous because that’s when you have to start learning by yourself!

      Don’t be too disheartened – focus on getting to the point where YOU feel confident and book your test then.

      Good luck,