Driving Theory & Practical Driving Test | Birmingham
Useful information about taking the driving theory test and practical driving test in the Birmingham area.
If You want to drive a car you will need to pass the driving theory test first before you can even book your practical driving test
Theory Test Section
The theory test has 2 sections:
- · Multiple choice questions
- · Hazard perception
The multiple choice questions section has 50 questions which covers a range of driving related topics. To pass this sections you will need to correctly answer a minimum of 43 out of 50 questions.
Hazard Perception Section
The Hazard Perception Test section consists of a set series of short video clips. You will need to identify major driving hazards which appear in these clips and respond accordingly with the use of a computer mouse. You will watch 14 clips with 13 of these clips containing 1 major hazard and one of the clips with 2 major hazards. You will need to score a minimum of 44 out of 75. Depending on how well you respond you can score between 0 – 5 points per major hazard identified.
Both parts of the test are taken on the same day
You need to pass both sections to pass the theory test. !
The theory test pass certificate
When You pass the theory test, you will then get a theory test pass certificate. You’ll need the certificate number when you book your practical driving test.
Birmingham Driving Theory Test Centre Address:
38 Dale End,
Four Oaks House, 160 Lichfield Road,
Practical Driving Test
The practical driving test is designed to for two reasons:
- To see if you can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions
- know the Highway Code and can show this through your driving ability
As long as you show the standards required there is no reason why you shouldn’t pass your test. There are no pass or fail quotas to meet as everyone seems to think.
Documents to bring to your test
You must bring:
- your theory test pass certificate (or confirmation) if you’re not exempt from taking the theory test
- both parts of your driving licence – the photocard and the paper counterpart
! You must take your signed driving licence and a valid passport if you have an old-style paper licence.
! Your test will be cancelled and you’ll lose your fee if you don’t bring the right documents.
Lost your driving licence
You’ll need to apply for a replacement driving licence if you lose yours. This could take upto two weeks or so. You may have to rearrange your test if this happens.
Lost your theory test certificate
Contact the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) with your name and driving licence number as soon as possible. DSA doesn’t issue replacement certificates, but will send you a letter containing your certificate number.
What happens during the test
Before you start the driving ability part of your test, you’ll have an eyesight check and be asked 2 vehicle safety questions.
You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:
- 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
- 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate
You can write down what you see if you can’t speak English or have difficulty reading.
New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, eg AB51 ABC.
You’ll fail your driving test and the test won’t continue if you can’t pass the eyesight test.
Vehicle safety questions: ‘show me, tell me’
You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions. These are also known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.
The examiner will ask you one ‘show me’ question, where you’ll have to show them how you’d carry out a vehicle safety check.
You’ll also be asked one ‘tell me’ question, where you’ll have to explain to the examiner how you’d carry out the check.
The driving ability part
The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.
Your general driving ability
During your test the examiner will give you directions that you should follow. You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions. You should drive in the way your instructor has trained you.
It should include:
- normal stops
- an angle start (pulling out from behind a parked vehicle)
- a hill start
You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.
Reversing your vehicle safely
You’ll have to show how well you can reverse your vehicle. The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:
- reversing around a corner
- turning in the road
- reverse parking – either into a parking bay, or parallel parking at the side of the road
Independent driving section
Your driving test will include around 10 minutes of independent driving. It’s designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions on your own.
If you make mistakes
Carry on if you make a mistake, because if it’s not a serious mistake it might not affect your result.
Your examiner will stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.
Taking someone with you
Your examiner will ask if you want your instructor, or another person, to:
- sit in the back of your car during your driving test
- be with you after the test for the result and feedback
This person will usually be your driving instructor, but it could also be a relative or friend.
They must be over 16 and can’t take any part in the test.
The examiner’s supervisor
The examiner’s supervisor may come along as well. They will be watching the examiner’s performance, not yours. The supervisor won’t have any say in how you’re tested or in your result.
Your test might be cancelled and you could lose your fee if you don’t let the examiner’s supervisor go with you.
Independent driving section of the test
Your practical driving test will include around 10 minutes of independent driving. It’s not a test of your orientation and navigation skills.
How the test works
During your test you’ll have to drive independently by either following:
- traffic signs
- a series of directions
- a combination of both
To help you understand where you’re going when following verbal directions, the examiner can show you a diagram.
You can’t use sat nav because the independent driving section tests how you make your own decisions.
Forgetting the directions
It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way.
Driving independently means making your own decisions – this includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you’re going.
The examiner will confirm the directions to you if you ask for a reminder of them.
Going off the independent driving route
It won’t affect the result of your test if you go off the independent driving route, unless you make a driving fault.
The examiner will help you get back on the route if you go off it or take a wrong turning. You can then continue with the independent driving.
Poor traffic signs
The examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign if there are poor or obscured traffic signs. You won’t need to have a detailed knowledge of the area.
Your driving test result
You’ll pass your test if you make:
- 15 or fewer driving faults
- no serious or dangerous faults
When the driving test has ended, you can call your instructor over if they didn’t go with you on your test. This is so they can listen to the result and help you with any feedback afterwards.
The examiner will:
- tell you if you passed or not
- explain how you did during the test
The different types of faults
There are 3 types of faults that can be marked:
- a dangerous fault – involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
- a serious fault – could potentially be dangerous
- a driving fault – not potentially dangerous, but if you make the same fault throughout your test it could become a serious fault
If you pass your test
The examiner will give you a pass certificate if you pass the test. They will also ask you if you want your full licence to be sent to you automatically.
Once you have passed your test you can start driving straight away – you don’t need to wait for your full licence to arrive.
If you don’t pass
You have to wait another 10 working days before you can take another test if you don’t pass. Working days don’t include Sundays and public holidays.
Feedback on how eco-efficient your driving is
The examiner will also give you feedback about how eco-efficient your driving is.
Practical driving test fees
These are the prices to book your test using the official service. Unofficial websites may charge more.
Practical test type
Weekday evening, weekend and bank holiday price
|Car and trailer||£115||£141|
You’ll have to pay the full amount again if you don’t pass your test and want to take another one.
Rules for cars used for driving tests
You can use your own car for the driving test if it meets certain rules.
Your test will be cancelled and you could lose your fee if your car doesn’t meet the rules.
Your vehicle must:
- be properly insured and have a valid tax disc
- be roadworthy and have a current MOT if it needs one
- have a seatbelt for the examiner
- have an interior rear-view mirror for the examiner (these are available from most motor stores)
- have a proper passenger head restraint (not a slip-on type)
- be a smoke-free environment
- have 4 wheels
- be able to reach at least 62mph
- have a speedometer measuring speed in mph
- have no warning lights showing – for example, the airbag warning light
- have L-plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales) on the front and rear
- have a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of no more than 3,500 kilograms
MAM is the maximum weight of the vehicle including the maximum load that can be carried safely while used on the road. This is also known as ‘gross vehicle weight’.
Using a hire car
You can only use a hire car for your test if it is fitted with dual controls and it meets all the other driving test vehicle rules.
In some cars the spare tyre is a space-saver and only supposed to be for temporary use. You can’t take your test if a space-saver tyre is in use.
Electronic parking brakes
You can use your vehicle for your test if it is fitted with an electronic parking brake.
Vehicles you can’t use
Some models of vehicle can’t be used for the test. This is because they don’t give the examiner all-round vision. They are generally convertible cars and panel vans.
You can’t use these cars for a driving test:
- BMW Mini convertible
- Ford KA convertible
- Toyota iQ
- VW Beetle convertible
Other types of convertible car or panel van may also be unsuitable. Check with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) before booking your test.
When you book your practical driving test you should say if you have any special needs or disabilities.
There are a number of facilities to help. You still take the same driving test as everyone else, no matter how serious your disability is.
Booking your practical driving test
When you book your test you’ll be asked if you’ll be bringing an interpreter with you.
You’ll also be asked if you have:
- any condition which affects your movement
- any missing limbs
- any special learning needs
- any other special needs
You’ll also be asked if you’re:
- deaf – either profoundly or not
- heavily pregnant
Getting more time to take your test
More time might be allowed for your test if you have certain special needs. It will give the examiner time to talk to you about your disability and any adaptations fitted to your vehicle.
If English isn’t your first language
You can bring your own interpreter for your practical driving test. They must be at least 16 years old. Your approved driving instructor can be your interpreter.
You’ll need to arrange your own interpreter and pay any fees that they charge.
If you have hearing difficulties
The examiner will tell you what will happen by using written notes at the start of the test if you are deaf or have hearing difficulties. They will also look at you to help you lip read what they are saying if you find that helpful.
The examiner will usually give directions to you as hand signals. These will be explained and shown to you using written cards before your test starts.
Taking an interpreter with you
You can bring your own interpreter for your practical driving test if you use sign language.
They must be at least 16 years old. Your approved driving instructor can be your interpreter.
You will need to arrange your own interpreter and pay any fees that they charge.
If you are pregnant
You can take a driving test at any stage of your pregnancy. However, you must be able and willing to do an emergency stop.
Taking the eyesight test if you have reading difficulties
At the start of the practical driving test, you will have an eyesight test. The examiner will ask you to read the number plate on a parked vehicle.
You can write down what you see on the number plate if you have learning difficulties or do not speak English.
The independent driving section of the test
Your examiner will know what kinds of reasonable adjustments to make for the independent driving part of your test if you said you have special needs when you booked your test.
They might ask if you would prefer to follow traffic signs.
You might be able to choose to follow a set of directions, supported by a diagram. In this case there will normally be a maximum of 3 directions, although in some cases this can be just 2.
Part 10: Cancelled or stopped tests and bad weather
Sometimes the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has to cancel or stop driving tests because of bad weather, vehicle problems or other reasons.
Your test will usually be automatically rebooked for you at no further cost if it’s cancelled by DSA.
Practical driving tests are not held in dangerous weather conditions, eg when the roads are icy.
Call your test centre if there is snow or ice in your local area on the day of your test.
When to phone your test centre
You should call the test centre:
- as soon as you can on the day of your test if it’s booked for early in the morning
- later in the morning if your test is in the afternoon
No answer from the test centre
If nobody answers the phone, and the conditions in your area aren’t looking too bad, it’s likely that the driving examiners are:
- checking the local roads to see if driving tests can go ahead
- taking driving tests because the conditions are suitable
However, this isn’t a guarantee that your test will go ahead.
Call the test centre again or go there in time for your test.
If your test can’t go ahead
A new appointment date will usually be sent to you within 3 working days. This could take up to 7 days when the bad weather goes on for longer.
You won’t be able to claim for any out-of-pocket expenses.
Waiting times for a practical driving test
As well as causing cancellations, bad weather can sometimes lead to longer waiting times for practical test appointments.
Tests cancelled by DSA for other reasons
You might be able to claim out-of-pocket expenses if your test is cancelled by DSA at short notice.
‘Short notice’ means less than 3 clear working days’ notice. Working days include Saturdays, but don’t include public holidays.
You can’t claim if the test was cancelled because of:
- bad weather and poor light
- vehicle problems
Problems with you or your vehicle
You’ll have to take another test at your own cost if your test can’t be completed because of a problem with:
- you – for example, if you feel unwell while taking your test
- your vehicle – for example, if it breaks down during the test or is not suitable for the test
Birmingham practical driving test addresses:
Birmingham – South Yardley – Driving Test Centre
Birmingham – Kingstanding – Driving Test Centre
205 Birdbrook Road
Birmingham – Sutton Coldfield – Driving Test Centre
110/116 Boldmere Road
Birmingham – Shirley – Driving Test Centre
401 Stratford Road
Birmingham Garretts Green – MPTC – Driving Test Centre
Driving Test Costs
Evenings, weekends and bank holidays
|Abridged theory test – you must have a Safe Road User Award to take this||£18||£18|
|Extended driving test for disqualified drivers||£124||£150|