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.

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