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Your lessons

Phase one

Apply for your provisional licence Complete a D1 form from the post office and send it to the DVLA (DVLNI in Northern Ireland) with your passport or birth certificate and a passport-sized photo as ID. You can also apply online.

You can apply for it up to three months before your 17th birthday, which means you can book your first lesson as soon as you turn 17.

Choose your instructor Make sure the instructor you choose is fully qualified, and is someone you feel comfortable with. Book your lessons early, as good instructors have busy timetables.

Start studying To pass your tests you'll need to know a lot of theory, as well as be able to demonstrate practical skill. You'll also need to pass both your theory test and your hazard perception tests before you're allowed to sit your practical test. Our quizzes will be able to help you help you prepare.

Consider how to pay for lessons Driving lessons make a great birthday gift, so you may want to start dropping a few hints! If you plan to pay for your lessons yourself then put them into your budget ahead of time, or save up to book 'blocks' of lessons and receive a discount.

Phase two

Start your lessons Your instructor will discuss your learning style and experience with you and put together a plan for your lessons.

Your first lessons will cover

  • cockpit checks
  • controls and instruments
  • safe positioning
  • safety checks
  • moving away and stopping
  • mirrors – vision and use

Keep up the study As you start to spend time behind the wheel, the theory that you've learned will start to fall into place, helping you remember what you've learned.

Start planning Your instructor should be able to give you some idea of how many lessons you'll need. Think about how learning to drive will fit in to the next few months of your life, and motivate yourself by starting to make plans of what you'll be able to do once you have your licence.

Phase three

Continue your lessons Now that you have a 'feel' for the car, your lessons will become much more challenging.

You'll learn

  • signalling
  • driving in traffic
  • pedestrian crossings
  • anticipating and planning
  • junctions
  • dual carriageways
  • use of speed

Keep up the study Driving will no doubt be on your mind a lot, so keep your books handy and study them whenever you get the chance. When you're on foot or a passenger, watch the traffic, and go back to your notes to answer any questions that come to mind.

Private lessons Follow up your professional lessons with private lessons with a driver whom you trust. Be aware that their car may be slightly different to your instructor's car, so give yourself time to adjust to it, and make sure you're insured before you get behind the wheel.

Phase four

Final lessons By now you'll have skill and confidence behind the wheel, and your instructor will teach you more challenging manoeuvres.

  • roundabouts
  • turning the vehicle around
  • reversing
  • parking
  • emergency stop
  • independent driving

Book your tests Book your theory tests now, to get them safely under your belt so you're ready for your practical test.

Study hard Review everything you've learned, and review it again. Aim to pass on your first try.

Private lessons Continue to practise your new skills at every opportunity.

Phase five

Sit your tests Make sure you get a decent night's sleep beforehand, and clear some time before your test for final revision. You may want to book a final lesson before your practical test, so that your instructor can run through everything with you one last time, and help you feel relaxed and confident. You must have one hour booked with an instructor beforehand.

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