Getting Started

You need to be 17 to start learning to drive and have a valid provisional licence before you take your first driving lessons. Complete a D1 form from the post office and send it to the DVLA with your passport or birth certificate, and a passport-sized photo. You can also apply online.

Apply for a provisional licence up to three months before your 17th birthday, and you could book your first driving lesson for the big day!

Choose a fully qualified instructor

All David Walsh Driving School instructors display a green DSA (Driving Standards Agency) badge in their windscreen to prove they've completed 12 to 18 months of training, and passed an exam testing their ability to teach you. A trainee instructor, who will display a pink badge, may have had as little as four months' training, and no formal qualifications to teach learner drivers.

Driving Theory and Practical Tests

Theory and hazard perception tests come first

You need to pass your theory and hazard perception test at the same time before you can apply for your practical test.

Getting a test date

You will need a valid provisional driving licence to take your theory test. Once you've got that, you can book your theory and hazard perception tests online (link opens a new window), or by phone on 0870 0101 372. To apply by post call 0870 0101 372 ordownload a theory test application (link opens a new window).

How the theory test works

The theory test is a 50-question multiple-choice test. To pass you must answer 43 or more questions correctly within 57 minutes. Questions are chosen at random from a bank of over 1,000 questions, and you answer by touching the screen. During the test you have the option to skip questions and return to them later.

How the hazard perception test works

Immediately after your theory test, you'll watch a series of 14 one-minute video clips, each showing potential hazards involving road conditions, pedestrians or road users.

There are 15 hazards to identify and you can score up to 5 points on each one, depending on how quickly you identify them. You need to score 44 out of 75 to pass.

Then comes the practical test

In your practical test, you have 40 minutes to demonstrate everything you have learned in your driving lessons. You need to show you can drive competently and safely in all kinds of driving situations. You'll be asked to do 1 of the three reversing manoeuvres you've practised with your instructor, and possibly make an emergency stop. You'll also answer two vehicle safety check questions, one 'show me' and one 'tell me'. The independent driving is now part of the test which lasts 10 minutes where you will follow a series of directions independently following a set route.

To pass, you will have to complete the test with no serious faults and you must have 15 or fewer minor errors.

Be prepared

The current national average practical pass rate is 43%*, so it makes sense to be as prepared as possible. Your instructor will advise you when you are ready for the practical test and help you understand the main reasons people fail.

You'll need to study 'The Highway Code' and the 'Theory Test' book and CD-ROM.

If you fail your practical test, but pass your theory, you need only sit the practical next time.