Taking the practical driving test is a rite of passage that all driver’s must experience. Since you can’t know everything that might happen once you climb behind the wheel with an examiner beside you, driving tests aren’t known for being pleasant. Although you can’t prepare for every possible outcome during the exam, you can prepare to the best of your ability, which will help you do your best under pressure and greatly increase the chances of leaving the testing center with a passing score.
1. Know the theory inside and out
All of the information in your driver’s manual is useful even after you have passed the written exam. In fact, you are expected to be well-versed in driving theory, and the practical exam is your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of that theory. You also never know how it might directly apply to passing or failing the driving test.
2. Consider formal driving lessons
While having a parent or another adult help teach you the skills you need for the road is helpful, you can get extra practice and advice from an instructor dedicated to the purpose of driving instruction. In some cases, taking formal lessons can reduce insurance premiums for you, too.
3. Be well-acquainted with the vehicle
You don’t want to be fidgeting and guessing where the controls are in the vehicle you plan to use for the practical exam. Take time to locate all the features you may need, so you can appear calm and collected while supervised on the road.
4. Practice in multiple driving conditions
Driving in inclement weather or on rough terrain isn’t the same as navigating on a sunny day. You will likely feel more at ease and drive better in less-than-ideal conditions if you have done so before.
5. Try out probable test routes
Depending on your location, possible routes for the driving exam may be formally disclosed or general public knowledge. If you can, drive these routes to become acquainted with any hazards, speed limits, or other challenges that could affect your performance on the test.
6. Arrive sated and comfortable
You will be better able to maintain your composure under pressure if there are no physical needs nagging you for attention. Show up for the test with a little something on your stomach, and go to the bathroom before your exam.
7. Make all necessary adjustments before you start
If you did not drive to the testing location, things may not be set up where you need them. Change the seat position, steering wheel angle, and mirrors to where you can comfortably use them. Also, make sure your seat belt buckles without slack.
8. Use mirrors and look for blind spots
Even if you are not aware, your examiner is watching your every move. A common complaint from testing centers is about the failure to ensure visibility. This is too easy to do to ignore; actively use your mirrors and turn your head to compensate for blind spots.
9. Ensure you understand instructions
When you’re nervous, you may mishear directions or even forget them after a moment or two. You won’t be penalized when asking for clarification, and it’s more desirable to ask the instructor to repeat instructions than to do something wrong.
10. Don’t panic
If you follow all of the previous tips, it will help you remain calm. No amount of preparation, however, will erase nervousness completely. Remember the driving exam will only last a short time, and it won’t be the end of the world if you ultimately must retake it. Expect the unexpected and roll with anything that occurs.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 10 Tips to Help You Pass Your Driving Test and was authored by Elan McAfee.