Avoid Test Nerves


Nervousness is the biggest cause of failure of driving tests. Virtually no one is exempt from exam nerves and the driving test is unlike other exams in that the examiner is so close and assessing you as you drive, seeming almost to peer over your shoulder. However, there are things you can do to lessen those nerves.

Are you in control?

Nerves are often caused by a feeling of lack of control. If you anticipate situations and act early enough you will be in control and won’t have to rush. If you don’t have to rush you will feel more confident and will make fewer mistakes.

Don’t go into your test thinking you must pass first (or even second) time.

It would be nice if you did, but it’s not vital. If you take this attitude then you are more likely to pass as you will be under less pressure. Don’t tell your friends when you are taking your test in case you don’t pass; much better to do so when you can announce your success.

Try to engage the examiner in conversation 

(pausing when something needs your concentration). It doesn’t matter how dull the conversation; the purpose is to make you feel more relaxed. Don’t worry if the examiner doesn’t say much; like everyone else some are more chatty than others – it won’t affect how they mark you.

Don’t rush

It won’t make the test end any quicker. Many people drive faster when they feel nervous, but that will just make you feel even more so. Watch out for this and reduce your speed if you do.

Avoid tensing up.

Unclench your fists from the wheel. Don’t lean forward, sit back in your seat. Make a conscious effort to relax your shoulders by pushing them down. This will cause you to become more relaxed.

Keep things in proportion

It is only a driving test – you will survive. The only person who is making you nervous is yourself. In the weeks before the test try the positive reinforcement technique. Regularly tell yourself ‘It’s only a driving test, it is really not that important’. If you don’t pass you can always take it again. Eventually it will sink in. Treat the claims of friends (especially male ones) with scepticism. They may not actually have passed first time after 10 lessons1

The tips above won’t guarantee you a nerve-free test, but they will make it less stressful. A degree of nerves is not a bad thing; they will sharpen your performance. NEVER FORGET YOU CAN PASS and if you don’t this time, then you will the next. Good luck!