Graham O’Brien: Assistant Chief Driving Examiner

I’m really pleased to announce that we have published brand new guidance for carrying out mock tests for ADIs.

The aim of the guidance is to increase the number of mock tests learner drivers have with their driving instructor. We have designed the guidance to help driving instructors make mock tests more consistent, recreate authentic test conditions to assess pupils test readiness, and to only carry out a mock test only once the pupil can drive independently.

We hope that the introduction of the guidance will either encourage learners to delay their test and get more practice if they are not ready or have a direct correlation in increasing pass rates.

The guidance was created based on driving instructors feedback to our 2019 survey on mock tests. We received over 7,000 responses to this survey.

Those who responded to the survey told us:

  • 96% of instructors carry out mock tests
  • 89% of instructors said that mock tests needed to be more realistic
  • most instructors who responded to survey incorporate all main test elements – though not necessarily every time. This shows that mock tests are not being carried out consistently
  • 5% of instructors give feedback to their pupils after every fault, 49% give feedback after their pupil makes a serious fault and 47% wait until the end of the test


Our research also reveals over 1 in 5 (22.1%) of learners who failed their test believed they failed their test because they were marked too harshly.

This shows learners need to have a better understanding on how examiners will assess them.

 New mock test guidance

The newly published mock test guidance includes everything an examiner would do during a driving test to provide more realistic test conditions including:

  • asking a candidate to show their provisional licence
  • an eyesight test
  • show me/tell me questions
  • the independent drive

It also includes a downloadable marking guidance and marking form for instructors to use.


The benefits of mock tests from an ADI perspective

ADIs who responded to research believe the benefits of mock tests are that they help:

  • to guide the learning process
  • the learner to understand what is involved
  • to manage expectations
  • to assess if the learner is ready to drive independently

Promoting the benefits of mock tests to learner drivers and their parents

83% of ADIs who responded to our mock test survey said it was important to promote the benefits of mock tests to learner drivers.

We plan to do this as part of a campaign we’ll be launching this summer.

The campaign aims to improve learners and their parents understanding of what it means to be test ready and how they can assess their readiness.


Mock test guidance supported by NASP

Carly Brookfield, the Chair of the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP)’ said:

“NASP advocates the practice of mock tests, and the benefits of such in assessing readiness for test, so these advisory resources are highly useful in this respect and promoting best practice”.


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