Planning and recording how you learn to drive

Experience has shown that learners, who have a combination of professional training and private practice, perform better during the driving test. The Driving & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has produced a Driver's Record to help you monitor your progress.

Structured learning

The Driver's Record is a way of helping you and your driving instructor keep a record of your progress while you're learning to drive. It lists 24 key skills which should be covered by your driving instructor and help you prepare for the practical driving test.

It has space for your instructor to fill in as you progress through the five levels shown on the Record. Levels one to four should be initialled and dated by your instructor and full details added when you reach level five.

From this, both you and your instructor will be able to see at-a-glance which skills you need to improve. You need to learn the skill and then practise to get the experience. You also need to learn the theory of driving at the same time, especially now that the theory test contains a hazard perception part. The Driver's Record is a pocket-sized leaflet that you should take with you to all your driving lessons.

Five levels of development

The five levels of development are:

  • the skill is introduced
  • it can be carried out under full instruction
  • it can be carried out correctly when prompted
  • it seldom needs to be prompted
  • you can carry it out consistently without any prompting

The Driver's Record will remind you of the goals, how to progress towards them and how much you've achieved.

Practising your driving skills

An important part of the structured learning process is practising what you have learned during your lessons. Get together with your instructor and the person who will be helping you to practise and discuss what you need to practise. You should vary what you do. Try to practise:

  • on as many types of road as you can
  • in all sorts of traffic and weather conditions, even in the dark
  • on dual carriageways where the national speed limit applies - you may be asked to drive on this type of road during the test

You should try to keep a record of any practice you have on different types of road and during different conditions between lessons. This will help you to remember and quantify the amount of practice you have had in the different conditions. You should also record any worries you may have about your driving and then discuss these with your instructor.

When to take your practical test

You aren't ready to take your test until your instructor has signed all the level five boxes and you have passed your theory test. By this time you should be able to drive safely without prompting from your instructor or the person helping you to practise.

Don't forget to take the Driver's Record with you when you go for your practical driving test. Keep this as a record of your 'learning to drive' experience.

Car driving test, take someone with you

The DVA encourages you to take someone with you on your driving test. This will usually be the person who has taught you to drive, but it could be a relative or friend. They must be over 16 years old and cannot take any part in the test.

The person who goes with you will be able to see how you perform during the test. To get the most benefit from this, it would be sensible to ask your instructor to go with you. They can then give you advice on how to improve your driving, whether you pass or fail.

If you would like to take someone with you, make sure that you talk to them about it when you're preparing for your test.

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.