Learning to drive

From provisional to passing your test: the steps for learning to drive

Hopefully you've already looked at our checklist for new learner drivers, and you've been reading the Highway Code. Now let's take a look at what's coming up over the horizon, and what your next steps should be.

The typical timeline below gives you a good idea of what to expect, what needs to be done as you progress towards your test, and answers the question many learners have - how long does it take to learn to drive?


Getting into the flow

Starting your driving lessons

Booking your lessons may leave you feeling a tad nervous, and that's understandable. Learning to drive can seem like a daunting prospect - there's so much to learn - but we promise it's achievable with a little bit of hard work. 

A great way of reminding yourself of the progress you've made and everything you've learned, as well as things you need to focus on, is keeping a workbook of your lessons.

If you're learning with us, our instructors will provide you with a workbook. If you bring it along to all of your lessons and fill it in, you'll be able to see how far you've come. 

Keep up the study

Don't forget the theory test and get your friends or family to help you check your knowledge. Also, consider signing up to the DVSA learning zone for a range of useful theory study content.

Get some private practice

Practice makes perfect, as they say. If you can, supplement your instructor lessons with driving sessions accompanied by a friend or family member. This can help you increase your experience and awareness of a much wider range of circumstances on the road. Make sure the car you're using has insurance which covers a learner driver.  

Nearing pass success

Book the theory test

Ramp up that study and get your theory and hazard perception tests under your belt. The car theory test is in 2 parts: a series of multiple-choice questions to test your knowledge, plus an interactive, scenario-based hazard perception test. You can book the test at GOV.UK, or our instructors can book it for you.

Can I take my theory test before I start driving lessons? 

You can take your theory test as soon as your provisional licence becomes valid, which is usually when you turn 17.

Take the practical test

You should feel genuinely prepared for your test. If not, think about whether now is truly the right time for you. The test is made up of:

  • An eyesight check.
  • 'Show me, tell me' car safety questions.
  • General driving ability.
  • Reversing your car - you'll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:
    -Parallel park at the side of the road.
    -Park in a bay (either driving in and reversing out or reversing in and driving out).
    -Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic.
  • Independent driving - this was increased to 20 minutes of driving time in 2017 - making up roughly half the test. 
  • Following directions from a sat nav - this'll be provided and set up by the examiner. 

See, doesn't sound that scary, does it? You can book your practical driving test online at GOV.UK.

After you pass your driving test

What next? Besides jumping for joy (or driving, if you prefer), you might find the following info useful:

Can I drive a car straight after passing my test?

You don't need to wait for your photo-card driving licence, which can take up to 3 weeks to arrive. Provided you've got car insurance, your pass certificate - given to you on the day - is enough to get you on the roads.