Advice for Pupils | Herne Hill Driving School

This page looks at different elements of the driving test, provides a clear explanation of what to expect when the big day arrives and offers a series of useful tips for new drivers who are undergoing driving lessons with Herne Hill Driving School.

The Theory Test

The driving theory test consists of a series of multiple-choice questions. There is also a hazard perception section and you must pass both sections to complete the theory test. A question and several possible answers appear on a computer screen, and you must click the mouse on the correct answer. Some questions may need more than one answer.

You can move between questions and flag those that you want to come back to later on in the test. The pass mark for the multiple-choice part of the theory test is 43 out of 50.

Prior to beginning the hazard perception test, you will observe a short demonstration video on the computer. You will see a series of 14 short video clips featuring everyday road scenes of developing hazards. A developing hazard is something that might require you to take action, such as shifting speed or changing direction.

The highest you can score for identifying each developing hazard is 5 points. The earlier you notice the developing hazard and make a response, the higher your potential score. The pass mark for the hazard perception part of the theory test is 44 out of 75.

The Practical Driving Test

While driving tests are often seen as nerve-wracking events, they really needn’t be. By the time the big day rolls around, you will have received plenty of instruction and practice. Keep in mind that during the test, you will not be asked to do anything that you haven’t already done many times during the course of your driving lessons.

Before you start the practical test, you will be given an eyesight test where you'll be asked to read a number plate from 20.5 metres. You’ll also be asked one of two safety questions, otherwise known as "Show Me – Tell Me" questions

“Tell me” question (where you tell the instructor how you would safely go about a particular task) at the beginning of your test, before you commence driving.

“Show me” question (where you carry out a task safely) while actually driving.

The test of your driving ability will last around 40 minutes. During this time, you’ll need to drive independently for around 20 minutes, using either directions from a sat nav, or you may be asked to follow traffic signage; your examiner will let you know which approach is to be taken. They’ll also both provide and set the sat nav up for you.

If you cannot see a traffic sign due to visibility concerns (perhaps an overgrown tree has covered it) then, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.

Going off the route…

You will not receive a fault for driving off course, and your instructor will assist you getting back on the correct route if you do.

Remember that you should drive the way your instructor has trained you. During the test, you'll have to drive independently for 20 minutes by either following traffic signs or a sat nav. This shows your natural ability for driving without tuition.

What happens during the driving test?

There are 5 parts to a driving test:

  • Eyesight check
  • “Show me, tell me” vehicle safety quiz
  • General driving ability
  • Reversing your vehicle
  • Independent driving

You will be expected to pull out from behind a parked vehicle, move off uphill and find a safe place to park. In addition, you might be asked to carry out an emergency stop. As part of your test, the examiner will also ask you to carry out one of the following 3 manoeuvres: a parallel park, pull up on the right and reverse back or bay parking.

On the day of your test with your instructor…

The instructor will pick you up approximately 1 hour before your test. You will then have a pre-test drive before parking up around the corner from the test centre to run through some "Show Me – Tell Me" questions or just to have a reassuring chat with your instructor.

Students can only go into the test centre 10 minutes before the test. Once you're in the waiting area, the examiner will call your name and ask you to read and sign a declaration to say that you've been a resident in the country for more than 185 days and that the vehicle you are using is insured.

The examiner will then ask you if you would like your instructor to go with you on the test. This will have been agreed between you and your instructor before entering the test centre. If you want your instructor to go with you, they must not speak or give you any assistance. Next, the examiner will take you to your instructor's car and the test will begin


Keep safe and always drive with care. If there's anything else we can do for you, please don't hesitate to call. Thank you for your friendship, your business and the opportunity to teach you. We're so glad to be a part of your success. On behalf of all of us here at Herne Hill Driving School, we would like to wish you the very best for the future.

One more thing; don't forget that you were a learner once so always be patient with other learner drivers. Remember that driving schools have a fundamental role to play in your ongoing road safety and showing patience to new drivers helps you as well as helping us. We hope to see you on the roads soon.

Ten Tips for When You've Passed the Test

Congratulations! You've passed your driving test! Now the lessons are behind you, you can drive a car unaccompanied. However, it's still important to take everything you've learnt with you along the way. Here are some tips to remember when driving independently:

Remember all you've been taught. Keep all the good driving habits that you've learnt from the lessons you've had. You were taught them for a reason and you should put them into practice. These lessons are vital to the safety of yourself and other road users. If you keep in mind all that you were taught in your lessons, you will become a safe and good driver for life.

Learn to become instinctive with your driving. Becoming an instinctive driver will come with time but you can start the process straight away by being careful and aware. Predicting the action of other road users helps to keep everyone safe.

Stay alert. Driving on your own requires a heightened level of concentration. Make sure you allow plenty of time for your journey by starting out a little earlier.

Drive defensively. If you encounter an aggressive driver, stay out of their way. Getting involved in a senseless argument should be avoided at all times.

Advanced tuition, Pass Plus courses and motorway lessons are recommended. It's a good idea to call us again after snow if you want to learn how to drive in poor weather. Most driving schools in Norwood, Brixton and Dulwich offer this service.

Avoid distractions. Mobile phones, loud music and loud friends are not good for your concentration when driving. Maintain a calm, relaxing atmosphere at all times.

Avoid drugs and alcohol at all costs. Your licence is at risk if you use either. Also, check prescribed medication before you drive to ensure it won’t make you drowsy.

Keep some basic tools in the car such as a screwdriver, pliers, an adjustable spanner, a torch and wheel-changing equipment. It's also a good idea to join a breakdown recovery service and to have their number stored on your phone for emergencies.

Learn some general maintenance. Take care of the basics such as water, oil, electrics, bulbs and windscreen washers. Don't forget to check the petrol gauge and have your car serviced regularly (at least once a year). Remember to inflate the tyres weekly.

When buying your first car, always make sure you get the V5C. The V5C is your registration certificate for the car and you must have one of these. Make sure the person selling the car has his or her name on the V5C and is not selling it on behalf of someone else. Take advice from a family member or a mechanic when buying a car. For more tips, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Whether an existing or inquiring pupil, if you have a question for the instructors at Herne Hill Driving School, or wish to book driving lessons – call 07950 780298 today.