Well done Kelly on passing your test today at Beeston Test Centre. I am so pleased that you were able to show the examiner today what you’ve shown me in your lessons every single week. You really have developed into one of the best learner drivers I have ever seen but I can’t take much credit for that as you were already driving very well before I met you. You were so easy to teach, a pleasure to be in the car with and always demonstrated a level of maturity well beyond your years. Congratulations again on such a well deserved result.
Thank you so much!! Really enjoyed learning to drive with you. After a couple of bad experiences with previous instructors, you were the best by far. You really cared and believed I could do it And I’m over the moon that I passed first time
Well done of Emma on passing your test at Beeston Test Centre today. I’ve enjoyed supporting you and watching your driving skills develop since your first lesson with me at the beginning of this year and it’s great that you have shown those skills to the examiner today and passed at your first attempt.
After switching to Martin from a disappointing experience with a previous driving instructor, I learnt more from Martin in the first 10 minutes than I did in 8 hours with with someone else. Before starting my lessons, Martin spent an hour with me, talking and planning my lessons and gave me lots of helpful information. I am so pleased I learnt to drive with Martin, he is patient, helpful, reassuring and extremely kind. He put a lot of thought into every lesson plan and I felt that I was making constant progress in my driving every week! Thanks to Martin, I was able to pass first time and I cannot recommend him highly enough!
The test centre at Beeston is now closed. After tests started and finished from a temporary location at The Village Hotel in Chilwell, a new permanent centre opened on 2nd November 2016. The new location is on the Eldon Road Industrial Estate (Unit 24) – one traffic light junction away from the traffic light junction that leads to the Village Hotel.
Chilwell is a few miles west of the old test centre at Beeston so the test area is quite similar. However, I’ve had a few tests from Chilwell already and the early indications are that test routes no longer go as far as Crown Island (Wollaton) but, instead, now include parts of Long Eaton and Sandiacre (including the large roundabout next to the M1/J25). DVSA do not publish test routes so the only way for anyone to be sure of the new routes is to sit in the back of a car during tests, to build up knowledge over a period of months, as well as talking to learners who took their test (although, in my experience, most learners can’t remember where they drove on their test!). In my view, the fact that the test routes for the new test centre are not yet known is a positive thing as it means that learners may experience junctions and roads that they are less familiar on their test and highlights that, to be ready to take a test, learners need to be able to drive anywhere (rather than just trying to remember specific test routes).
The waiting list at all four Nottingham test centres (Beeston, Clifton, Colwick and Watnall) is currently around 4 months! This is, in part, due to the fact that there are an increasing number of people learning to drive and taking tests and partly due to a shortage of DVSA driving test examiners.
On average, it takes most people between 6 months (for people who have a 2 hour weekly driving lesson) and 9 months (if having a 1.5 hour weekly lesson) to move from being a total beginner to being ready to take the Practical Test. In the past, discussions about plans to take a practical test would only commence when it was clearly evident that the learner was close to being ready to take the test. With the current waiting list for a practical test being 4 months, it can be quite difficult to judge when a learner should book a test and the discussion now often takes place after only 2 or 3 months of lessons (before all the manoeuvres have been taught and before it is evident that they would be ready to take the test). With this in mind, the following points are worth noting:-
1. On average, people need between 6-9 months of lessons before being ready to take the Practical Test. However, given the nature of the way averages work, some people will take longer and some people will be ready earlier. With my experience of teaching different learners over the years, I usually get a sense of what pace you are learning at after about a couple months of lessons and will be able to assess when you may be ready to take your test.
2. It is really important that the Theory Test is taken within the first 2-3 months of learning to drive. As the Practical Test can only be booked once the Theory Test is passed, the sooner the Theory Test is passed, the sooner the Practical Test can be planned.
3. Once a practical test has been booked, it is important that lesson plans do not suddenly change (e.g. taking an unexpected break from lessons and reducing the lesson duration) as an assessment of readiness will be based upon a continuation of the existing lesson plan.
4. I usually plan to give learners a mock test in the month leading up to the test. This will highlight areas to work on and check readiness for the test and may result in a need to increase lessons in the weeks leading to a test (or even look to change the test date).
5. If practising between lessons (e.g. with a parent), it is useful if these sessions increase (rather than decrease) in the month leading up to a test.
Well done Aarti on passing your driving test at Beeston Test Centre today. Sitting in the back of the car, it was wonderful to see you cope with your nerves and drive almost flawlessly throughout. Congratulations again and I hope that you continue to develop your driving skills once you start driving on your own!