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How to deal with driving test nerves

By Stephen Turvil | August 24, 2022

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How to deal with driving test nerves and be confident. Banish the fear of failure, the fear of the unknown, and the fear of embarrassment if you make mistakes.

How to deal with driving test nerves

The driving test can be nerve-racking but you can take simple, practical, logical steps that make you feel calmer and more confident. The key is to recognise what makes you nervous. For many people, it’s fear of failure, fear of the unknown or fear of embarrassment if something goes wrong, but we can help to get rid of those concerns. 

Driving test nerves: fear of failure

Being fully prepared for your driving test reduces the fear of failure. On this basis, confirm in the days beforehand that you have the skills and know-how to pass. Get in your vehicle, drive it, and prove it to yourself as many times as you can before test day.

Test yourself with our Theory test quiz

Driving test nerves: fear of the unknown

Fear of the unknown can make you anxious. It’s easy to imagine nightmare scenarios that are purely fanciful. On this basis, get familiar with your surroundings before the big day. Drive the roads that are likely to be part of your test and get to know every junction, pedestrian crossing, hazard, and bus lane. If practical, visit the test centre, too. This familiarity helps minimise nerves.

Driving test nerves: fear of embarrassment

Fear of embarrassment might make you nervous, too. You may cringe at the thought of making mistakes in front of the examiner. To counteract this fear, recognise that everybody makes mistakes on the road – and you do not have to drive perfectly to pass the test. It takes most people at least two attempts to pass their test and the examiners would’ve seen everything there is to see on the thousands of driving tests they have managed. 

Driving test nerves: keep it in perspective

Keep the test in perspective to minimise nerves. Naturally, it is preferable to pass but failure is not a catastrophe. It’s the chance to learn from any mistakes, improve, then pass another time.

Driving test nerves: avoid unnecessary stress

You can further minimise any nerves by eliminating avoidable hassle. It’s stressful to be late for the test so leave early. Additionally, in the hours beforehand ignore any unrelated issues that make you anxious. Turn off your phone if required and just focus on the test. 

Driving test nerves: breathing exercises

The NHS says breathing exercises can calm your nerves. Find the exercise that best suits you.

Driving test nerves: relax

Do something relaxing in the hours before your driving test. This could be exercise, reading a book, an extra few hours sleep or simply watching Netflix. It’s better to be distracted than nervously pacing the room and overthinking.

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