How to Pass Your Driving Test The First Time: Here’s 10 Things You Absolutely, Positively Must NOT Do!

driving anxiety, driving anxiety tips

Do you want to pass your driving test the first time you take it? It's easy, as long as you absolutely DON'T do any of these 10 things.


Did you know that more than 50% of people fail their first driving test? It’s true. Don’t want to be one of those people who have to retake the test two, three, even four times? Just make sure you absolutely do not do any of the 10 things below.

That’s how to pass your driving test the first time — like an old pro. It’s easier than you think!

Do Not Do Any of These Things in Order to Pass Your Driving Test The First Time

1). Don’t wait to prepare until the last minute.
Let’s face it. You know the driving test is coming. It’s not like it’s a pop quiz or anything, so you have no excuse going into it unprepared. Lack of preparation is the number one reason more than half of people don’t pass their first driving test.

Start studying at least three weeks beforehand. Don’t wait until the last minute and cram. Studying a little bit five days a week is way better than pulling an all-nighter. You’ll retain the information better and have much better odds of passing your driving test the first time.

2). Don’t take the test late in the day.
Try to schedule it first thing in the morning. Not only will you be more alert and energetic, you won’t spend the day dreading your upcoming test. Get it out of the way so you can get on with your day and get on with your life. If you have to take it in the afternoon, keep your mind off it. Dwelling on it won’t help a bit.

3). Absolutely do not study on the actual day of the test.
Shift your brain into neutral. Occupy yourself with other things. Give it a rest and let your subconscious mind assimilate the material. Cease all studying the night before. If you don’t know it by then, you’re not ready.

4). Don’t just assume you’ll pass your driving test the first time.
Sure, you’ll pass eventually. Most people do. But many take two or more tries to do it. The main reasons are lack of preparation and lack of focus. It’s not enough just to know the material. You also have to really be there. Visualize yourself passing on your first try. Do this repeatedly throughout your preparations for the test.

FreeDigitalPhotos.net5). Stop pretending you’re not nervous.
You’re performance is in fact being judged by a complete stranger, and here’s the kicker: no matter how prepared you are, it’s different when someone’s watching. That’s why so many people fail their driving test the first time.

Stop trying not to be anxious and just admit you are. It’s OK. Lots of people feel this way. Acknowledging the anxiety about passing your driving test will actually help you perform better.

6). Don’t drink, party or miss sleep the night before.
This should be self-explanatory. Don’t take the test hungover or in a state of sleep deprivation. Arrive at your driving test awake and refreshed. Skip the alcohol or any late night activities the evening before.

7). Don’t give up if you make a mistake during your driving test.
There may come a point where you feel that you’ve “blown it” with a big mistake or a series of small ones. You may be tempted to give up at that point. Don’t do it! It’s not your job to evaluate your own performance on the test — that’s your instructor’s job. That’s why they’re there. Let them do their job while you concentrate on yours, which is to drive as skillfully as possible during the entire duration of the test.

8). Don’t be too tentative.
Most instructors will forgive a few technical mistakes for drivers who are assertive and deliberate without being overly aggressive. After all, the ultimate point of a driving test is to show you’re in control of yourself and your vehicle.

9). Don’t lose track of your surroundings.
One of the things you’re being tested for is what the military calls “situational awareness.” Someone with strong “SA” keeps good track of everything happening all around them — and especially behind them – during a driving test. Demonstrate this by turning your head often to look left and right, and check your mirrors frequently, especially your rear view. One of the things your instructor is paying attention to is how well you’re paying attention.

10). Don’t be afraid to stop and ask questions.
If you’re unsure about how to do something, it’s usually OK to stop the vehicle and ask. Obviously, don’t do this while driving down the highway at 60 MPH in heavy traffic. But if you’re not sure how to correctly perform an action, safely stop the vehicle and just ask.

Here’s an example. One of the “gotchas” I experienced during my first driving test were the right of way rules at an uncontrolled intersection. It was a 4-way with no stop signs and I didn’t know what to do. Instead of asking, I slowed way down and kind of lamely rolled through at 5 MPH. I got docked for it because I didn’t ask for clarification. Don’t make the same mistake.

FreeDigitalPhotos.netI hope I’ve given you a better idea of how to pass your driving test the first time. Avoid the mistakes above and your chances of doing so go way up. So I hope I don’t see you in line again down at the DMV.  😉

Good luck!

Greg Weber

18 comments… add one
  • Ivy Baker Mar 7, 2018

    I liked that you pointed out that it would be smart to not take your driving test in the afternoon. I liked that you explained that the roads would be a little less crowded. When I was a teenager I wouldn’t have wanted to take my test during rush hour traffic. My little sister is going to take her driving test this year. It seems like it would be smart to see if she can schedule her appointment in the morning.

  • Danny Aragon Jr Nov 28, 2017

    Hey Greg it’s really nice to know about this things so I can’t not do on my driving test and today is my day to do my driving test and I’m little nervous but I know I can do it and can you give me a tips how to be confident on the driving test and how to be careful thanks bro

  • Shy Jun 26, 2017

    I just began my Driver’s Ed Unit, is there any tips that can help me!? I do not have to take the test until next year, but just driving, in general, gives me a stomach ache. Any suggestions about driving in any way, shape or form?

  • Hi Feb 23, 2017

    Hii i m living in bahrain and giving test for 5th time pass from inside but fail outside what to do . Any one here from bahrain.

  • Adriana pastora Jan 25, 2017

    I too my N test 3 times and failed :(. My last exam he said I drove really good but there was an ambulance coming towards me and I didn’t know if I should go to the side and park I’m nervous to do it for the fourth time I feel so dumb :,((

  • queen Jan 11, 2017

    good doing my drivers licence for six years now now and im not just getting it right .every time i make a new mistake and this sometimes makes me feel discouraged. my problem:i will do everything perfectly few days before the test,but come the day of the test im having terrible headaches,a restless night constantly thinking of my test and memorizing..what can i do to pass my test? i desperately need my licence i feel my life has come to a stand still just because i didn’t get my drivers licence yet after such a long time. however my instructor is patient.please advice…

  • Ally Dec 12, 2016

    For all the people you’ve helped great, but I really think that some of this is bs (for the written). For example, the first test I took I prepared so much, did it first thing in the morning, got a lot of sleep the night before, and I failed. The second time I did it late in the afternoon, had no sleep, studied the day of the test and didn’t prepare till the last minute and I got 30/30. Your tips will help some people but it’s ridiculous to think that it will help everyone. The results are dependent on the person.

    • Greg Weber Jan 9, 2017


      You are right. These tips would not necessarily help everyone.

  • Lavash Nov 26, 2016

    Hi Greg,

    I failed my driver’s test twice because I panic way too much when I am behind the wheel knowing that there is a stranger grading me on my driving.I am about to take it for the third time but thinking about going to book my driver’s test has already made me feel nervous. Failing my test has made me lose a bit of confidence in myself but I do know that I need to do this. Any advice for me?

    • Greg Weber Nov 29, 2016

      Just keep trying. You’ll make it!

  • Stephanie Nov 19, 2016

    This is my third time have to go retake the written test against this Saturday after thankgiving comen up all I can do is study with I know and remember it can you help me

    • Greg Weber Nov 19, 2016

      Hi Stephanie,

      I would say that if you follow the tips in this article, you will likely do just fine. Best of luck!

  • Timothy Jenkins Nov 11, 2016

    I live on MN and have been behind the wheel of an automobile for about 40 years. I have never had a drivers license and have never gotten a ticket, accident or been pulled over. I moved to VA property and the VA police are forcing me to get a drivers license. I go and pass the written with flying colours. I take the road test and right out of the gate I get flunked because of the instructor. He asked where is my permit. I said they told me I didn’t need one. He asked if I was renewing my license and I said I never had one. So he get angry. He flunked me on parralell parking. Was too close to the curb and 90 degree backing to close to the poles. I have talked to 3 different instructors and they said he flunked me because I was flaunting the law. I know how to operate an automobile but they will not let me get my license. What do I do, sue the state? I’m already upset that I have to give up my right to free travel. Is there a way to get around this and not give up my right to free travel under the right to Life Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness ?

    • Greg Weber Nov 13, 2016

      I wish I knew what to suggest. This is question better answered by a lawyer. I would consider speaking with one about this issue.

  • Jessica Calvert Nov 6, 2016

    Hey my name is Jessica I’m 19 years old i live in Alabama I have my permit and I’m taking my driving test next week I want to get my driver’s license but I’m having trouble with backing up and parking but I know how to drive the speed limit , watch for pedestrians, stop at stop signs , use my blinkers when turning and dimming and undimming my light when it is night time , I know how to change lanes using my blinkers and and my blind side I feel like I’m gonna pass my driving test 🙂 but I just need a couple more practice, my dad is teaching me everything I need to know about driving i read your tips and I think I might pass thank you so much for writing that 🙂 -Sincerely Jessica

    • Greg Weber Nov 7, 2016

      That’s fantastic Jessica! Good luck on your driving test. I bet you’ll do great.

  • Maddie Nov 10, 2015

    great tips on calming anxiety. I wish I had read some of these before i took my test the first time because i was so nervous i was literally crying beforehand and of course, that is not the best state to take a test in and i think that was partially the reason why I failed the first time; my nerves were so out of wack i couldn’t think as clearly as I normally could. Anyway, my second test is coming up and i will definitely try and apply these tips the next time- wish me luck!!

    • Greg Weber Nov 11, 2015

      Good luck, Maddie. You’ll do great.

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