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Learning to drive

How to get over failing your driving test

We are all only human. You can't be on top of your game 100% of the time - no one is - and driving is really hard. So it stands to reason that, prepared as you may be, you might fail a test or 2 (or 5, in the case of more than 1 person I know) before you pass. I failed my first test. It happens.

Of course, making sure you're super prepared can help you avoid another fail, but here are some tips that focus more on the FEELS.

  1. Remember that you are essentially a monkey wearing clothes

    You weren't designed to drive a car - nobody was. If you'd told me 6 months ago that I would be able to reverse a Renault Clio through a 6 metre gap between a skip and a wall, I'd have smiled politely at your misplaced belief in my abilities.

    We take too many skills for granted. So give yourself a break and a pat on the back: you're getting good at something that is so far beyond what nature intended it's practically a super power.

  2. Talk about it

    Far too often we bottle things up when we feel low or embarrassed. But if there's one thing we've ALL got in common - it's failing at something during our lives.

    A driving test, an exam, a job interview, an audition - you name it, someone's failed at it. And that's all part of shaping our characters.

    But nevertheless, it can be crushing. So ingenie wanted to help relieve some of that upset by setting up a space for anyone and everyone to come and talk about failing. You can join our Facebook group: It's OK 2 Fail to share your experience, support others and chat about all things failing.

    And that already makes you a winner.

  3. Get back on the horse

    A driving test fail can make you never want to get in a car again. But the sooner you do, the sooner you can work on the silly little mistakes and get that pass.

    Failing your driving test is just like stalling a car: it seems awful because you feel stupid and like you're holding everything up. But really, it's just mechanics - it happens all the time, and the best way to get over it is to keep calm and go on with the process.

  4. Think of the first test(s) as practice

    I know a girl who says she passed first time - she just took 2 tests first as practice. I think that's a great way to look at it because it's really hard to ace something you've never done before.

    Taking multiple tests isn't ideal, but think how much more prepared you'll be next time. You know exactly what to expect and half the battle (fearing the unexpected) is done with.

    Remember: under 50% of drivers pass their practical test first time!
  5. Book your next go

    Set your sights on when you'd next like to try - your driving instructor will be able to help you with that. Just don't lose the vibe you've built up: remember that you should have done all your learning by now and you need to stay in test prep mode.

    What you failed on will tell you where you need most practice, but don't obsess at the cost of the basics. The thing that tripped you up last time might not even come up.

  6. Don't forget to join our Facebook group: ItsOK2Fail to listen and chat to loads of others who are in your driving shoes.
    Updated: 18/01/2019 learner driver insurance

    If you're gearing up for another go, take a look at our advice on how to pass your driving test.


153 Responses

  1. Molly Jane Carroll says:

    Reading this has calmed me down a lot. I haven’t failed a test, mine is in 2 weeks time but I had an AWFUL driving lesson today and I started to panic even more about failing because I can’t stand the thought however, I am now thinking ok, learn from your mistakes, take these 2 weeks as time to improve and it won’t go perfectly so don’t be affected by a little flaw like changing gear a little bit late; I just need to carry on as I would.

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Molly, glad it’s helped you. You just have to remember it’s exactly the same as a driving lesson – they’re just another human! I’ve found the very best way to calm yourself down at the beginning is to smile a lot. Try to chat back to the examiner as they’re asking you what you’d like to be called etc. – it’ll fool your brain into thinking the whole thing is just a normal day.

      You also have a LOT of leeway (you’re allowed 15 mistakes as long as they’re not serious) on little things like changing gear. The most important thing is your observation and safety, so work on your hazard perception.

      Good luck, let us know how it goes.


      • Toni says:

        Hi I failed today thought it went ok failed on not properly head to check as moving off n for changing lanes at last minute due to roadworks really stupid what u get failed on

        • ingenie says:

          Hi Toni.

          Sorry to hear that – sucks doesn’t it? Unfortunately observation is the biggest deal, especially if you miss it at a point where it could be dangerous. Not checking your mirror when you should is usually a minor but your examiner obviously thought it was dangerous in that situation. Trouble is, those situations are when you’re most stressed and likely to make mistakes!

          I’ve failed twice for stopping at a GREEN LIGHT because my poor scared brain stumbled over the green arrow/solid green – at the same set of lights both times. So stupid, but the driving test is a lot of pressure so it’s understandable. Just.

          Do a couple of driving lessons to keep your focus up and work on your mirrors, then go for it. Make sure you book your test ASAP so you’re not waiting too long. Good luck, hope you sail through next time!


  2. Roshan says:

    I failed the test Today and lost confidence that I can pass, Thanks for the post, will book test again

    • ingenie says:

      As someone who failed 4 times, I can promise that you CAN pass. 🙂

      The nerves are your greatest barrier so get your confidence up with lots of private practice if you can.

      Good luck!


  3. floydthatcrazylass says:

    Yeah failed today and a lot was riding on me passing, the pressure made me crack. Did so many stupid things I’ve never done whilst driving before. Nothing beats feeling like you’ve not just let yourself down but everyone you love too. I’ve re-booked and my next test is in just under two months time. That seems like aeons away to me right now. This post made me feel a bit better though, thanks.

  4. MZ says:

    No need to feel sorry for yourself. That’s a defeatist attitude!!
    Few tips: 1) When booking your practical pick a time slot where the roads are fairly busy. This way, you have to do less driving 2) Always drive 3-5 miles below speed limit to kill time 3) When taking lessons, ask your driving instructor to get you to drive along the examiner’s route. This way you can familiarise yourself with the route 4) When doing the manoeuvres, do them as slowly as possible (ensure the car keeps moving but slowly) 5) Relax. Don’t think you have to drive perfectly. As long as you are road worthy – you pass.

    • ingenie says:

      Hey MZ. Some good advice in here, particularly number 5. It’s not about being the best, most elegant driver ever – the most important thing is showing you’re safe.

      I wouldn’t advise purposely keeping 5 mph under the speed limit for the whole test – it could be pretty obvious and is essentially distracting you from the job at hand. You do need to be tested! Passing when you shouldn’t is a pretty dangerous state of affairs.

      Taking things SLOOWWWWWW is very good advice, especially for manouevres.

      Thanks MZ!


  5. MZ says:

    Driving a few miles below speed limit is perfectly acceptable. Speed limits are not targets you need to reach. They are guidelines. Sure, you don’t want to drive @10mph on a 30mph road. But, doing 25-27 is perfectly fine.

    • ingenie says:

      Yup, remembering they’re not a target is very important. But I would say that during your test, your examiner wants to be sure you know what the speed limit is and you’re doing the APPROPRIATE speed. That includes not holding people up unnecessarily and making good progress on roads you join, as someone coming up fast behind you will expect you to be doing a certain speed.

      I just think trying to tactically waste time is going to distract you and potentially rub an examiner up the wrong way. The test is the length it is because that’s how long it takes to assess a new driver and make sure they’ll be safe on their own. Couple of mph under the limit, sure.

      Thanks for the debate 😉


  6. MissP says:

    Failed my first test on a silly fault today. Feeling heart broken. Booked next test and it’s 3 months away.

  7. Aimee says:

    I failed my test and it’s my first lesson after the test. Mines not until September and I feel annoyed at myself because you see all these people saying I’ve passed.

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Aimee,

      You do see a lot of people saying they passed but that’s because people don’t tend to shout about it when they fail. Trust me – I failed 4 times and certainly didn’t want anyone knowing! Keep checking for test cancellations to see if you can get a closer date. If you check several times a day, you’re guaranteed to see one.

      You’ll get there, don’t lose heart.


  8. Emily Horsfield says:

    Absolutely gutted had my first today and failed 3minors 1majour (van looked like he was going round round about and as I went he signalled to come off ! Really disheartened me got myself so upset and worked up about failing

    • ingenie says:

      Hey Emily. Sorry to hear you didn’t pass. Rest assured that no matter how it feels, most people fail first time. Think of this one as a practice run and keep looking at the test times to see if you can get a cancellation slot soon.

      I hope the next one goes better but remember you did REALLY well this time so it won’t be long now.


  9. Kaushalya Samaranayake says:

    Did my test today and failed with 3 minors and two serious faults. It was for taking a while to turn right at a junction and not getting in to the left hand lane in a dual carriage way soon enough. Next test booked for mid October. Feels everything is on hold due to this.

  10. Marissa Matthews says:

    This whole experience is so upsetting. I’m 17 and recently found out I’m pregnant. I failed my drivers test and the next available slot is in September. It sucks so bad when you have anxiety before and even before the test begins you get the most rude instructor who makes you doubt yourself and you make a small mistake- the test is over. I can’t get a job now unless I illegally drive myself there. Everything is ruined unless I can get a cancellation slot- which in Texas, good luck. :/
    I hate driver instructors. They are so upsetting and intimidating.

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Marissa,

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a tough time – I really felt for you reading that. I’m afraid I can only advise on UK driving stuff but keep trying to get a cancellation. I failed 4 tests and I would have been waiting at least 2 months each time if I hadn’t got cancellations. Whether it’s online or over the phone, STALK them until you get one.

      I was suffering really bad with anxiety when I was taking my tests so I know exactly how it feels. Don’t let an examiner bother you. They’re just people and people have bad days – they might even believe it’s their job to make it hard to pass, who knows. You’re the priority – kill them with kindness and be extra smiley so they have to be nice to you!

      If you need any advice while you’re waiting for another slot, feel free to ask anything. Good luck,


  11. Shamsad Kamal says:

    I just failed my test for the 3rd time. On reverse round a corner which went very wrong. That was it. Feeling really upset and frustrated with myself. Feel like a failure. Next one booked in Dec. Going to buy a car and get my husband to take me out everyday.

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Shamsad,

      Really sorry to hear that, it’s a horrible feeling. However, you’re already on top of what you need to do – private practice is the absolute best thing. You’ll get so much more confident practising outside of lessons, where you obviously feel watched. I failed 4 times and passed after I bought a car and started practising with my mum. It really makes the difference.

      I hope next time is the one for you. Good luck!


      • Shamsad Kamal says:

        Thank you for your kind and we’ll advised words. I just have to try and over the upset as it is still v raw. May be next time. In the meantime I will buy a car and go driving with my husband every day.

        • ingenie says:

          You’re very welcome. One of the weirdest parts of passing your driving test is realising you’ll probably never have to go through anything like it again. I hope you feel better about it once you start getting more practice – I think you’ll definitely feel more in control and confident in your abilities.

          Come back and let me know how you get on. I’ll be cheering you on!


  12. Rebecca Viney says:

    I failed my first test on Tuesday…hadn’t even left the test centre before I failed! Somehow decided it would be a good idea to drive on the right hand side of the road not the left…I am in England haha! What an idiot nerves just took over but how stupid and then had to do the whole thing anyway knowing I had already failed. Just gotta laugh it off and concentrate better on my next try in three weeks time 🙂

    • ingenie says:

      You’re certainly not the first person I’ve heard that from Rebecca… The pressure just makes you crazy. You’ve got a good attitude to it though, and you’re pretty lucky to only be waiting 3 weeks! It’s around 2 months at my nearest test centre.

      Good luck for next time,


      • Rebecca Viney says:

        Thanks I got really lucky booked my retest for November, half hour later decided to check for a cancellation and one just popped up as I was looking!

  13. Sarah Scohy says:

    Totally bombed my test today :/ Feel like a failure!! My friends, boyfriend and I even were joking that I would fail–though we were all positive I would pass. The instructor said that I was stopping wayyyy after the stop sign, into the intersection! I stopped before the sign, then inched foreword if I wasn’t able to see oncoming cars. Word of advise! DON’T DO THAT! It also didn’t help that the instructor was pretty rude as well. So discouraging and embarrasing. 🙁

    • ingenie says:

      Oh no! Don’t be put off by this first try, Sarah. From ‘intersection’ and ‘stop sign’ I’m guessing you weren’t taking your test in the UK?

      Work on your gentle, confident stops and I hope next time goes better for you!


  14. Nuahs87 says:

    I only had 3 minors overall, but took a very tight bend on a hill in second gear, stalled and failed (quite justifiably) because I held up the car behind me in a dangerous area. I would gladly get back on the horse straight away, but tests are booked up until Christmas, which makes it a very expensive and drawn out process just to have the possibility of passing.

    • ingenie says:

      I feel you dude. Keep looking for cancellations because they do come up all the time – you just have to be on it. With just 3 minors, you’re clearly ready. Good luck!


  15. So took my test today and got 4 minors and 1 silly major… Exit roundabout at the 3rd exit and I go round the left hand lane all the way…

    Feeling pretty crappy, not because I know I can’t do it, I can, it’s just that the waiting time is approaching 4-5months in my area in the north west…

    It’s a bit off putting now I’m hanging around just to give my instructor more money for very little instruction…

    NB I have no family on the mainland, and all my friends drive motorbikes so haven’t got any other vehicles to use 😩

    • ingenie says:

      I did very similar things on 4 tests before I passed – low on minors and then one silly major. You can definitely pass, so make sure you check for test slot cancellations every day. I don’t know why but 7pm seemed to be a good time for me!

      Good luck,


  16. Chanine Harkcom says:

    Failed my driving test today. Had 4 minors but failed on rolling back once moving off. Silly little mistake
    I could kill myself

    • ingenie says:

      Oh Chanine! Don’t say that. I know it feels really bad (trust me, I cried every one of the FOUR times I failed…) but in the next few months it will all be over. You only got 4 minors – you’re so nearly there!

      Get as much private practice as you can (especially with hill starts and clutch control) and maybe go over moving off where you struggled with your instructor too.

      Good luck – you’ll probably ace it next time.

      Honor x

      • Chanine Harkcom says:

        Thankyou. I never thought I would even get to the test day. I sat the test thinkin I can do it and then I failed. It’s taken me 8 months to get to this stage and now I have to book again. It’s so frustrating. Really wanna do this for my kids. I cried my eyes out last night my driving instructor said we will work on wat went wrong so hopefully will be ok.
        Thanks for replying. Xx

        • ingenie says:

          Keep checking the booking system for cancellations so you can get an earlier slot if possible. You’ve got this, it’s just a case of keeping cool and carrying on whatever happens. Even something like rolling back – if you control it quickly and safely, making mistakes is fine.

          Good luck Chanine, really rooting for you!


  17. Leanne says:

    I failed my 1st driving test today. I only had 3 minor and 1 major due to hitting a kerb. Does that sound normal? My instructor found it odd as I failed for hitting a kerb. He expected something more than that. I hate it, i feel like i just wanna give up 🙁

    • ingenie says:

      So sorry you didn’t pass Leanne. 🙁

      It all depends on how you handled the mistake. Technically it would be a minor I would think but if you didn’t regain control quickly enough…who knows. Was your instructor in the car with you? You might want to consider that for next time if not.

      Don’t give up. You were so close and this was just a little blip. You’re in a great position to pass next time as long as you don’t lose confidence. You’ve got this!

      Good luck,


  18. Emily Burnell says:

    i failed my test today with no minors one 1 major . i came around a corner in first and there were parked cars on the left but i got too close to go around them so i had to reverse a bit. everything else was perfect. I’m just so annoyed at myself

    • ingenie says:

      That is sooooo unlucky! Don’t be annoyed at yourself – getting through that 45 minutes with nothing out of the ordinary happening is down to luck, to be honest. If you’d had 4 minors and a major I wouldn’t say that (because we usually don’t pass because we weren’t ready) but at least you know you ARE ready.

      Keep your chin up. You did really well and next time you’ll probably get 10 minors and pass! Always the way…

      Good luck,


  19. Antonio Dadalto says:

    Just came back from my first try and failed it…it’s quite frustrating…oh well, I will just keep on practicing. What really bothered me was that I got a serious mark for a very silly mistake. I got in a roundabout and had to go straight, but I used the right lane, and when I took the exit I kept on the right for some time….quite annoying, but I hope it goes better next time

    • ingenie says:

      Hey Antonio. Sorry to hear about your roundabout fail. It’s a classic situation: something you’d usually get right suddenly throws you for no reason. Well, apart from nerves!

      You know the drill now so hopefully next time your brain will behave itself.

      Good luck,


      • Antonio Dadalto says:

        Thank you for the support Honor! I found your posts very instructive and comforting, it is quite a shock when you see you messed up. Hope I’ll do better on my next try 🙂

        • ingenie says:

          N’awww, you’re welcome. Glad they’ve helped. My problem was that I knew all the stuff but was SO nervous that I kept screwing up the simplest things! Quite often, the people who don’t deserve to pass sail through and the people who have really tried stumble. But I bet you’ll be a better driver for it.

          I’ll be cheering you on from here.

      • Jakob Aarum says:

        Whoops wrong post.

  20. Jakob Aarum says:

    Failed my test for the first time today. I had 2 majors and 2 minors. I was about to drive onto the highway, when two trucks completely block my way and i slipped in between them. It was completely safe though. I also hit the brakes too late when a person crossed the street because i had to look behind me, so i didn’t see her in time. I have been so sad this whole day… i just know that i can drive better.

    • ingenie says:

      Sorry Jakob 🙁 Sounds like nerves to me but maybe try to get in some more practice around the area at the times you might do a test. Only 2 minors – pretty good. If you know you can drive better, it’s all about keeping that confidence for the test. YOU CAN DO IT!

      Good luck with the next one,


      • Jakob Aarum says:

        Thank you for the response 🙂 I am confident that i will make it next time. Thanks again for kind words.

  21. ingenie says:

    Hi Alexander – sorry you didn’t pass. Sounds like it was a pretty frustrating experience but you know what you have to do now: more practice in the area so you feel confident for next time.

    Good luck!


  22. El-Dieu Merrygold says:

    Failed my first test today, through parally parking which ive been doing really well with. my nerves got the best of me it was a narrow road with a bin lorry already on the road and moving closer and the bin men where walking around the car. i was told i failed because i did not look at the back mirror enough, mate seeing the messages has made me more determined!! going to book my test again. 1 minor nothing else

    • ingenie says:

      YASSSS – great attitude! Sorry you didn’t pass but really glad you’re on it for next time.

      Any random thing can go wrong during your test but it can after you pass too, so it’s better you conquer it now.

      Good luck!


  23. Georgia Elliott says:

    I failed my driving test this morning before I had even left the carpark. I had to turn left onto a narrow road, there was a car approaching from the left but I thought I would have enough space to nudge by him. I began to nudge out but before I had even touched the edge of the road the examiner put the brakes on. I failed within 10 seconds of my test!

    I then spent the next 40 mins internally crying, I got 5 minors so I would’ve passed if my nerves of appearing hesitant got the better of me. I’M SO ANNOYED AT MYSELF!!!!!!!!! I know I can drive!

    This article really helped me though, thank you.

    • ingenie says:

      Sorry Georgia, that sucks :'( Examiners obviously have to be EXTRA safe so they have to assume you’re not going to stop in time and make that judgement call (one of my fails was because of a trigger-happy examiner but hey, I should have stopped sooner!). But you know, it could have gone another way – you never know until the end that you’ve passed or failed.

      The important point is that you HAVE to keep going. It’s good practice and you just never know. I passed on what felt like my worst drive ever, after having failed 4 times with very few minors.

      You know you can drive. Keep practising, keep checking in on your Highway Code. You can do this.

      Good luck,


  24. Vivian Meza says:

    I failed my first test this morning. I could tell she was going to be a pain the moment she sat in my car. She read the instructions to me and sounded SO uninterested. She then told me to park straight inside the cones and that I had 2 tries. Keep in mind my car is HUGE and I tried to the best of my ability (the space between the cones were very narrow). I was parking perfectly and the front of the car BARELY touched the cone. She failed me and told me I was disqualified. When I asked for my second chance she said no very rudely and told me to go back. I am SO upset with myself and even more NERVOUS for the next test. Sigh*

    • ingenie says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry! That does sound like an examiner having a bad day. Are you in the US? The cones sound like outside the UK!

      Juat remember: you did a pretty good job and you got a bit unlucky. You can get more parking practice in tight spots, then ace it next time.

      Good luck!


      • Vivian Meza says:

        Yes, I’m from Florida! The good thing is that you are allowed to practice with those cones after hours, so I will make sure to ace it next time!

        Also, thanks for the reply and the article as well!

        • ingenie says:

          Aw, no problem. Yup, you get weaving in and out when everyone’s gone home. You’ll be so glad of it later, when you’ve passed your test and you actually have to PARK places!

  25. Pat A says:

    I failed today and cried so bad afterwards. I do fine when I practice. But my nerves got the best of me today. I’m so dissapointed in myself cuz I know I had it in me to pass. My examiner was so intimidating. I kept making mistakes I don’t normally make the second i started the car. It was like a domino effect. The fact that it was raining didn’t help either. I felt all the negative emotions that comes after you fail and started googling “failed my road test”. This article helped. Thanks. At least now I know what to expect. And hearing other people’s experience made me feel less of a failure. It just sucks. Good luck to everyone retaking it.

    • ingenie says:

      Oh Pat 😭

      I’m so sorry you’re upset. I know just how it feels as I failed 5 times… Not passing first time is so normal. The majority of people do not pass first time. It sucks to go through it but you’re by no means alone.

      Work on what went wrong, tell yourself you can do it. Hit it out the park next time.

      Good luck,


      • Pat A says:

        Thank you. It means so much to me right now cuz I’m in self loathing mode. But I know I’ll get over it eventually. It’s just so fresh. You want something so bad and you end up not getting it. That’s the thing. You can practice perfectly, gain confidence, and when the time comes, everything goes out the window. It sucks. One little mistake can affect your train of thought. I already had a bad feeling about today when I woke up especially with the results of the election. On top of that, a piece of my glasses broke right before the examiner came. Murphys law. My advice to other test takers reading this is to try to stay calm. If you make a mistake, don’t panick. Signal. Look for your blind spots and be on the lookout for on coming cars. Take your time. Once I regain confidence, I will try again cuz being behind the wheel is just so exhilarating. Failing will just make you want to do better next time.

        • ingenie says:

          Well said! Great advice for anyone taking their test.

          Commiserations on the election. That was a bad day to take your test!

          Good luck Pat, come back any time if you need help.


    • Nessa says:

      I’m crying as I’m typing this lol i hate failing. I just failed my first test because i didn’t stop at a red light before making the right turn. It seems stupid when i say it but i could already see there were no cars coming from any direction so i just turned. The examiner already had a scary annoyed attitude so that didn’t make things better. He said “where is the stop at the red light?” & made a disappointed sigh. Or like “are you serious” reaction. I was sooo nervous so i didn’t even pay attention to that detail. I’ve been driving long enough to be able to tell when it’s safe to turn that i haven’t realized that i don’t really acknowledge things like that. Guess it’s time to make another appointment.

  26. Sarah Lamar says:

    Hi I failed today – first time taking the test was in tears!! I do well on my lessons!! My nerves got the better of me today and I failed on silly things!! My examiner was not very nice and was in a bad mood! as soon as she spoke to me I though that’s it game over!! It started off bad and just got worse!!!I It has put me off a bit but I need to get back on the horse!! I won’t let it get to me – well I will try just see it as a practice test is the best way I think and try not to over think too much, I just hope I don’t get the same examiner next time!!!!!

    • ingenie says:

      Booo 😢

      I know it feels rubbish but the first time is definitely the worst time. Think how much less you’ll be turning over in your head next time: you’ll know what to do and what’s going to happen next.

      Don’t let a grumpy examiner get to you. 40 minutes with them and then you never have to look at their face again! It’s such a short amount of time and you just have to get through it. If you think from the beginning that you’re doomed, you’ll mess with your own head. POSITIVITY!

      Good luck with the next one – onwards and upwards.


  27. This article really helped. I failed my fourth test a few hours ago and haven’t stopped crying since – I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and the only thing worse than feeling stupid (17 year olds can drive, why can’t I?!) is being so embarrassed about coping so badly. This is the only article I found since that actually makes sense. Thanks Honor <3

    • ingenie says:

      Yup, I’ve been there! My fourth fail was such a kick in the stomach because I made the exact same mistake I’d made on my first test: stopping at a green light. I couldn’t believe how stupid I was. I gave myself such a hard time for the same reasons you are.

      Now I’ve been driving a year, I know I’m just a very nervous person in a situation like that. There’s nothing else like it! You WILL get this, Bethany. Other people are more naturally OK with this particular environment but that doesn’t mean they’re better drivers.

      I really hope next time is the one for you but if it’s not, don’t give up. The real learning comes after, and that’s when you’ll gain your confidence.

      Good luck, let me know how it goes.


      • Megan Bronwen Jones says:

        I’m in the same boat as you I’m 27 and I’ve put off driving cz I’ve never been great at any type of test! I failed my 3rd test yesterday and I’m now loosing all confidence. Yesterday I only got one minor and a serious for stalling at a roundabout because I was waiting in 2nd gear and then when I saw a gap to go I stalled right in the middle of the roundabout causing traffic to stop until I got my act together! Thing is with me I have never struggled with any maneuver which most people worry about the most mine is gears!!! I just have so many dumb blonde moments! I’ve booked another test in 2 weeks and I just want it out of the way. I dread to think how much money I’ve spent ughhhh.

        • ingenie says:

          Arghhh Megan, I feel this so much.

          I think when your problem is TESTS not driving in general, the only thing to do is keep repeating until it sticks. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to do – but now I love driving and everything’s cool.

          You’re making so few mistakes (mistakes that people make all the time in the real world) that you’re clearly ready. You’re just struggling because you hate tests!

          Every time you come to a stop at a roundabout, say in your head FIRST GEAR so you’re ready to go immediately when it’s clear. Roundabout stop = FIRST GEAR. Maybe me yelling that at you will stick in your mind?!

          I hope so. Come back and let me know how it went.


  28. ingenie says:

    Sorry Oliver, that sucks. I hear from quite a few people in the US and it does seem like your examiners are much less bothered than ours here in the UK.

    You can’t change how someone else behaves. You CAN change how it affects you. Keep your mind on your business and believe you can do it. Your examiner is doing his or her job and if you drive well enough, their job is to pass you.

    Chin up, it’s only a matter of time. Good luck!


  29. debbie goodman says:

    I failed my 1st test yesterday. Even though for last few weeks have been doing mocks and passing everyone yesterday just threw me……..had no nerves whatsoever until the examiner got into car and was the most ignorant person I have ever met (like he just did not want to be there)!!! So done my show me tell me but still got a minor, leaving test centre I stalled for 1st time ever and that was it nerves went out the window!!! What gets me though when it came to my independent drive I was always told you can ask them if you forget your directions my examiner told me that I had to memorise mine and not ask (I have no sense of direction) so there is me shaking like a leaf heart pumping that bad it was in my throat and no idea where I’m meant to be going all the while the examiner is huffing and puffing in my ear. So now I’m going back out with my instructor in a week but to be honest my confidence has been really knocked🙁

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Debbie,

      That sounds like a really upsetting test and (I don’t often say this) your examiner sounded like he was in the wrong. For your next test, take your instructor out with you. They can’t say anything but it will mean the examiner will behave themselves!

      You can ask if you forget your directions and, actually, if you go wrong you shouldn’t be penalised as long as you’re safe.

      Don’t be put off by this. Keep practising, get your confidence back up and try to put this one grumpy guy out of your mind. Not all examiners are like that AT ALL so keep your chin up.

      Good luck for next time,


      • debbie goodman says:

        Yesterday I finally got the courage up and emailed the customer service of the dvsa and put a complaint in against him!! After speaking to a few people I realised I’m not the 1st person he has done this on. So we will see what happens now just hope I don’t get him on my next test!!!!

        • ingenie says:

          Good for you Debbie. Most of the time when I hear an examiner was ‘unfair’ it’s just someone’s natural reaction to the test being harder than they thought, but this did sound like maybe something was wrong.

          However fair or unfair the examiner is, they shouldn’t make you feel horrible so I hope you get an apology if one’s in order.

          Good luck with it x

  30. ingenie says:

    Don’t worry Heather! Just get back on the road and try again.

    I believe in you.


  31. ingenie says:

    Hi Julian,

    Wow, bad weather and a grumpy examiner – that’s not what you need on test day.

    Don’t be put off by this though. Just think of it as practice and hopefully next time you’ll get a more cheerful examiner. If you get the same guy on your next test then you can always ask him politely if he can speak slower and be clearer with his instructions. It’s important that you feel confident during the test.

    Good luck!


  32. ingenie says:

    Hi Carrington,

    Oh no! This makes me very sad. The instructor should never have made you feel like that – very unprofessional. People fail their driving test ALL THE TIME, especially when their asked to carry out a manoeuvre.

    It just sounds like the nerves got to you that day – which is completely normal. You can parallel park perfectly when you’re not under test conditions so you just need to try and keep calm during the test and remind yourself that you know exactly what you’re doing.

    We have a page on parallel parking which you might find useful too:

    Don’t be frightened to retake your test – and don’t let that big meany win.

    Best of luck.


  33. Sarah Archer says:

    I failed my first test today and I am still in a funk 12 hours later! I had one minor (indicating too early) and one major. What really gets me is that the major was such a stupid thing! He said “take the next right” I saw a turn on the right, slowed down to turn into it then realised it had ‘no entry’ signs, I said outloud “oops that’s no entry” and carried on. He said this was a major for not recognising Road signs, to be honest I feel like I handled the situation safely and didn’t actually make a turn so it should just have been a minor! Ohwell the next test is already booked, I am praying that I don’t make another stupid mistake like that again. At the end he even told me I was a very good driver, a kick in the teeth!

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Ahh man, that really sucks – especially if you don’t know the area very well. It sounds like he was testing you at that point, as the examiner would have known the immediate ‘next right’ was technically a ‘no entry’ road.

      Don’t worry about it too much Sarah. It sounds like you did the best you could in that situation as physically driving down a no entry road would have been much worse – on the driving test and in real life.

      It’s great to hear you’ve got the next test booked in already – getting straight back in the driving seat is the best thing to do. Being told you’re a very good driver by the examiner himself is a great confidence boost too 🙂

      Fingers crossed for next time!


  34. ingenie says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience Catrin – I know how much it SUCKS!

    You’ve got a great attitude to it, though, and you’re really putting in the work. I thought I’d never pass towards the end but it just takes one good day, then you’re out doing the real learning.

    I’m prepared to bet you’ll be a better driver after all this, so that’s something!

    Good luck, come back and tell us how it went.


  35. Laura Melling says:

    Failed my first test today 🙁 examiner was lovely about it and really helped by going through the faults afterwards but still gutted. Managed to stall 4 times- once on a roundabout which was pretty scary – nerves definitely got the better of me which isn’t that normal for me to be honest. Sounds strange but I am pleased with myself for a bit of it, overtook some cyclists which I’ve never done before, no-one died and I didn’t crash 🙂 bit sad but I’ll get back on the horse as soon as possible 🙆 fingers crossed for next time!

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Laura,

      I know it’s upsetting to fail any test but this is SO normal. Most people don’t pass first time but you do learn so much from it. Overtaking cyclists for the first time ON YOUR TEST is amazing and if you can do that, you can definitely find some more confidence for next time.

      Keep practising, challenge yourself – and good luck with your next test. Let me know how it goes!


  36. Ronnie says:

    Hi Honor, I just wanted someone new to share how I feel at this moment with 🙁 😥I failed my practical test today. I wanted to present my result as a gift to my hubby, I so much looked forward to presenting it 🙁 😓😥😢
    Ok, examiner said I drove well, 5 minors, but just at the end of the test, he popped up the nerve cracking bay parking at the center!! I drove pretty well into the bay park, I moved forward a bit to reverse and do a good final parking, an arhhhrrr… 🙄 I moved with hand ✋ brake on 😟 and he said I didn’t look at the back of the car enough but at the mirrors when parking at the bay 😔
    Next test has been booked for Feb 21, wish me luck Honor😞

    • ingenie says:

      Oh no, Ronnie! Sorry to hear about your test. You build yourself up so much, don’t you? “I blatantly won’t pass but actually I could totally pass my test today.”

      Sounds like you’re sooooo close though. A month is a really great space to have – enough time to go over everything lots but not so long it feels like it’ll never happen.

      Good luck! Come back and tell me when you’ve passed. Next time, I bet.


  37. Charlotte Leigh says:

    Failed my test yesterday because of my bay park. I was ready to reverse into the space when another learner driver came in behind me and parked in the one I was going to go in! I ended up parking in the one next to it but, I was making sure to keep an eye out for them as they were getting out of their car. Because of that I only glanced out of the window to my right once! That got me a major which is really annoying because that wouldn’t of happened if they hadn’t been there! Only 6 minors on the rest of my test and now I’ve got to wait another 3 months for another one! What’s even worse is that I need a licence for my year in industry placement in the summer 🙁

    • ingenie says:

      I bet you’ll make it by summer, Charlotte! Don’t let it get you down – it can be stupid bad luck and you’ll be perfect next time.

      Let us know how it goes next time and good luck.


    • Yaa Eshun says:

      Hi, just failed my third driving test today. The first one was just due to nerves. The second was overspeeding and 5 minor and today I got a fail for going too slow and 5 minors. I feel very sick and been crying all day.Dont know what might happen next

      • ingenie says:

        That’s really sad to hear, Yaa. You over-compensated because of the speeding last time which is totally understandable.

        Book your next test for a month from now and drive as much as you can. Go over the test routes to get yourself an instinctive feel for the area so your nerves don’t get in the way.

        I know it’s horrible now but it won’t be long, and it’s very worth it in the end.

        Good luck and keep going.


  38. Tom says:


    I failed my first test for a couple of things, and even though they weren’t massively dangerous, and most drivers will do them all the time without accidents occurring, the instructor basically spoke to me like I was a child who had been acting up at a family party (despite me being 25 at the time) when he gave me my feedback.

    Much like you I was filled with emotion (rage for me rather than tears), and I would say 30% of my anger was at having failed, and 70% at the way the examiner spoke to me. However, from what I’ve heard, a lot of them are quite cocky and rude, even to people who have passed.

    I took a bit of a break from driving before I rebooked my test because he put me off, but my best advice to you is, book it ASAP and believe in yourself. I knew I was good enough to pass, sometimes it’s just not your day.

    On my second test I actually had more than twice as many minors, but because I relaxed a bit more, and took my time over things, I did the important things more successfully.

    If you remember anything from this it’s that your instructor wouldn’t have put you in that position if he/she didn’t think you could pass. You have the ability, just make sure you focus on the day, and take as much time as you need to, to get it right first time.

    I hope this helps (or that you’ve already passed!) 🙂


    • ingenie says:

      Good advice, Tom! Thanks for sharing your experience – it really helps to know other people go through the same stuff. When you fail it can feel like you’re the only person in the world that’s not managed it which is SO not true. People just don’t talk about it!

      Thanks a lot,


    • Rosco says:

      i just failed mine today. i go t points off for not being attentive in traffic. I fel so horrible about failing as well.

  39. Victoria Doherty-Bone says:

    I failed my test for the 1st time today. I’m pretty downhearted, but in a way not at all surprised; the area I took it in has a really high fail rate, largely cos there’s loads of quirky little junctions and dual carriageways where instructors and examiners love to do awkward right hand turns. I did the manouvre really well, but then about 15 minutes in I badly messed up at a junction, a really horrible one I knew and detested from my lessons, a right turn at a 6 lane crossroads onto a dual carriageway that has another small road coming up immediately alongside the one I approached on. I *almost* pulled out when there was a car coming from the road ahead of me (I was focused too much on the traffic from the right.) I managed to notice it and stopped but I did it too late and I was just peaking out onto the road, which of course is a dangerous position and a major fail. After that, it went to hell a bit and I got another 3 majors.

    Already booked my retest, but bloody hell, it doesn’t half hit the bank account, and my confidence has been knocked quite badly (the examiner was quite obnoxious when going through the faults).

    • ingenie says:

      Chin up Victoria – only about 21% of people pass first time. Driving is a REALLY hard thing to do and the driving test is a particularly stressful situation.

      As I failed 4 times, I know all too well how much of a financial pit it is. That said, extra lessons are a good investment and will hopefully mean you only have to pay the driving test fee one more time.

      Good luck and don’t let this time put you off – it happens to most people!


  40. Mary Rose Russo says:

    Hi honor, not sure if you’re still answering people and listening to their stories, but yesterday I failed my drivers test. I guess I didn’t exactly fail, but it made it even harder that I missed getting my licensee by 4 points. I feel like I’m almost rushing into it because I do a lot of sports and my parents work all day. I always feel like I’m burdening people with my issue of always getting rides. I tried to reschedule after and the lady said that I had to wait until the end of April (right now it’s April 8). When I failed I was crying, but inside I had a lot of anger pent up against myself, but reading these other comments and experiences, I felt better about knowing I’m not alone. I felt so embarrassed and ashamed that I didn’t pass, my “friends” had just bragged that they passed. As a younger teen I feel like second time could be the charm; I just don’t know if I can wait that long. I guess you could say sometimes I’m an impatient brat, which is how my dad sees me. My car arrives today and I will need to drive in the end of April, which means hopefully I can pass. Thanks for the tips and other stories, it’s really helped me believe that I can pass the second time.

    • ingenie says:

      Still reading, still listening!

      Sounds to me like there’s just way too much pressure on you to pass. Learning to drive isn’t just to make your life easier now; it’s probably the only training you’ll have for a skill you’ll need for the rest of your life. Don’t be so hard on yourself: it’s not an easy thing.

      Your friends may brag when they pass but there’ll be plenty of people you don’t hear bragging because they’re in the same situation as you. We only ever hear the success stories.

      You’re doing everything you can and you can’t be expected to get yourself to all your extra-curricular stuff until you pass, so don’t feel guilty. Pretty soon it will all be down to you so make the most of the rides!

      Believe in yourself but, more importantly, be kind to yourself. Driving isn’t suppose to be easy.

      Good luck,


  41. Meg says:

    My birthday is today and I failed mine this morning. I’ve been crying non-stop and when I took my test, the instructor was very rude. I failed because he told me to make a right and I started to panic and instead, I made a left. I don’t know what to do and I am so embarrassed of telling my friends or even going to school tomorrow. I’m still crying as I type this and I have no idea what to do. I turned 17 today and I’m so disappointed in myself and afraid of what all my friends will think of me.

    • ingenie says:

      Oh Meg! This is the problem with society’s view of driving. Somehow you’re supposed to sail through the process of learning one of the hardest life skills there are!

      Driving is hard, the driving test is hard. The best driver in the world could be freaked out on the day and not pass. It’s no reflection on you and, statistically, most people fail first time. I failed 4 times!

      Don’t let it ruin your birthday – it’s not worth it. This will all be over with soon and THEN it’ll be worth it.

      Get booking your next test and get busy with the top up lessons and private practice. You’re so close and I bet you’ll do it next time.

      Tell you’re friends it’s a mathematical probability you wouldn’t pass. Everyone goes through this crap to get on the road and I doubt they’ll find it in anything but cause for sympathy.

      Good luck hun, chin up.

      Honor x

  42. ingenie says:

    Been there Chloe! I had the exact same situation. The trouble is, they can’t allow you to make a mistake like that and their reflexes are likely to be quicker than yours. It’s so frustrating if you know you would have got there in time but that’s their job.

    You’ll get there. Two fails is pretty normal and it’s so important that you’re READY. Once you’ve passed it’ll all seem like a bad dream!

    Good luck Chloe,


  43. ingenie says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Sorry to hear that it’s made you feel so rubbish. It sounds like the other driver went through exactly the same thought process as you did, as you both thought the other was letting you pass. It’s annoying that that happened but try to look at how the rest of the test went – 6 minors is a really good result, so clearly you’re nearly there.

    Statistically, most people fail 1st time so try not to dwell too much on it. It doesn’t make you any less of a good driver – in fact, it will make you a better driver in the long run.

    Good luck for the next test and don’t be put off by what happened last time.

    You can do it!


  44. ingenie says:

    I’m so sorry! That’s so upsetting and I’ve been there myself. So frustrating.

    The good news: you did amazingly and you’re so prepared for next time!

    Good luck and don’t worry. You’re ready.


  45. ingenie says:

    Hi Gareth,

    Sorry you’ve been waiting – the internet ate my reply!

    Speed is obviously a major consideration for the examiner and whether you can cope with distractions like the weather and having to use the instruments in your car is a biggie too.

    It’s really unfortunate but you will have to face difficult situations on the road by yourself once you’ve passed, so they do have to assess that kind of thing.

    I’m sorry you didn’t pass but it sounds like you’re nearly ready. Maybe get your instructor to run you through your wipers, demister, fog lights, radio and so on while you’re driving so you get some practice.

    Good luck,


  46. hilda rockson says:

    Hii Ingenie,I failed my driving test today ,I was sooo nervous even though the examiner was quite nice to me ,I did 12 minors and one major ,I was sad but I expected it ,I didn’t feel ready ,I even told myself that if I were to pass,I still would have been scared of driving on my own
    Nonetheless ,I am still sad and disappointed in myself😔😔😔😔

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Hilda,

      Sorry to hear about that. There’s so much pressure to go for it before you’re ready but it’s a massive false economy as well as dangerous. Even when you do pass, you’ll still be nervous because that’s when you have to start learning by yourself!

      Don’t be too disheartened – focus on getting to the point where YOU feel confident and book your test then.

      Good luck,


  47. ingenie says:

    Sorry to hear this 🙁

    Unfortunately you will come across other drivers that seem to be in a world of their own – which is why observation and hazard perception is so important. But asides from this, 1 minor is pretty impressive which shows you’re almost there.

    Keep an eye on test cancellations as you may be able to find another slot before July – if not, think of it as extra practice time and you’ll 100% be a better driver for it.

    Good luck, you can do it!


  48. Louise Tassiker says:

    Just failed my test today. I had two minors then at the very end of my test I didn’t look before moving off after my emergency stop. Absolutely gutted but this article has made me feel so much better 🙂

    • ingenie says:

      Soooo unlucky to have an emergency stop! Obviously it’s very important that you can do one safely but you always hope you won’t get one.

      Sounds like you did really well apart from that so I’m sure you’ll do it next time.

      Good luck Louise, glad you feel a bit better!


  49. Yeah. Failed mine today. Five minors but I made a catastrophic error literally one minute after leaving the test centre. Examiner had to put the brake on at a roundabout. A car was coming round and I thought I had time to go. Nope. Instant fail. I was so angry with myself and my nerves were shot at that point.

    I almost wanted to abandon the test right there but I carried on because, as my instructor said, I now have the benefit of knowing what goes on in a full test. I can hopefully learn from that.

    Luckily managed to get one for mid-July. Which is lucky seeing as there’s about a 3 month wait. Here’s hoping.

    • ingenie says:

      Bad times with the fail but great attitude and well done for sticking with it even though you knew you’d not passed – been there!

      You’re now totally prepared for what the test involves and you’re in good shape for the next one. Get in as much high-pressure practice as you can (different times of day if you can) before your test.

      Good luck,


  50. Shredha Rajagopalan says:

    Hello, I failed the test for the first time today too:( This whole process has been so lengthy for me due to having three different instructors and three different cars. Though the third instructor is perfect I think it really toyed with my confidence. Because I am going to uni soon I guess I have this pressure on myself to close this chapter of college and driving so I can leave in a peaceful state of mind. My two majors today were justified but I got the test route from hell! apart from that I could have passed with three minors. I have my next text booked but I guess the thing bringing me down is having to carry on this whole process . For example I am feeling no sense of achievement when I do anything else successfully in my life such as getting into uni or finishing college due to the fact driving is on my mind. Don’t get how I will do this a second time:(

    • ingenie says:

      It’s one of the most stressful things you can do, in my opinion. I definitely found it very frustrating and demoralising.

      The thing to remember is that you got very few minors so you’re in good shape for passing next time. Keep driving as often as you can to stay confident and don’t let this ruin the other good stuff that’s going on! Ultimately, getting into uni is going to affect your whole life – having to take a few driving tests isn’t.

      Although it’s been a difficult process for you, I bet you’ll be a better driver for it. Most people learn in one car and have no feel for DRIVING rather than just working that particular car. You’ll have so much more skill and you’ll come out the other side in excellent form.

      Good luck Shredha – I know it’s hard but it’ll be worth it in the end.


  51. KA says:

    Hi don’t know if you are still watching and reading people stories.
    Yesterday I failed for the 3rd time. I failed because I was coming out a give way in a tight street and as soon as I turned a car was parked so I stopped and looked to see if it was safe to go when it was safe I turned the wheel to go and didn’t turn it enough and the examiner had to nudge the wheel so I didn’t hit the car in front. I feel like cause I have failed so many times now that I have lost the confidence in myself almost like I don’t care anymore and that every time that I resit it now I’m just going to set myself up for another FAIL. This was the first time I never cried when I failed and its only cause I knew for sure what I had done wrong. The past times I always thought I was going back to a pass.
    My mum moaned a little about getting the motivation back but I don’t know how I thought my car would keep my motivation going and the fact I’ve rebooked it as soon as I failed is that not motivation? if I wasn’t motivated I would just leave rebooking it and give up
    I don’t know how to get the excitement back I have re booked my test and I’ve had my own car since I sit my first one and I thought this would keep the excitement up but its not working anymore :(!! Can you help with some advice

    • ingenie says:

      Hey KA,

      I sure am – it’s sort of become my mission in life!

      Here’s my advice: drive every day you possibly can. Drive routes you’ve not driven before as well as in the test area. Get back the feeling of being a DRIVER, not just a worried learner.

      Doing new routes will force you to test your hazard perception and navigating skills, meaning you have to be using the controls instinctively and not focusing on the mechanics of driving. Then, when you take your test again, you’ll hopefully be able to keep driving well even with the stress.

      Failing your test a few times is normal and I can pretty much promise will make you a safer driver because you’ll never take your pass for granted. I failed 4 times and it gave me such respect for the road. The months after I passed were spent growing my skills gradually, facing new situations with proper consideration and practising manoeuvres.

      I know it feels really urgent to pass right now but this is one of the most important skills you’ll ever learn and the next 60 years of your driving life depend on you learning well. The extra time you’ve spent on learning is going to keep you safe.

      Keep practising, keep testing yourself and keep telling yourself you can do it. Because you can and you WILL.

      Good luck and come back to tell me how the next one goes.


  52. robin says:

    if you’re still giving advice, i failed my first test two days ago :(, the test is probably different where i live but we take it on a closed course with a short driving segment, and then you parallel park and k turn/3 point turn out of your spot to finish it. i was doing fine until the parallel parking, when i backed in i hit the curb (had never hit the curb anytime parking before so i panicked a little lol) and tried to correct myself a few times before just pulling out and going in again, and was able to park the car, but when pulling out for the turn i didnt back up far enough and hit one of the cones in front of my car, which simulated a car in front of me, which was a serious fault and automatic failure and caused the test to be over

    i’m pretty sure my failure was caused by nerves, as i was already stressed about the issues i had with parking and had some bad nerves before the test too, and in addition my tester increased my nerves too (he had his eyes closed as i was parallel parking and I’m not sure why, although during the test i had thought of it as “i was such a bad parker he was exasperated with me” although i hope/bet that wasn’t the case haha) and i’ve got my retake scheduled for 2 weeks today, but i’m already slightly nervous for the test again, as i was driving perfectly fine every time i did before the test but nerves caused me to mess up, and i’m not sure how to control the fear about having to parallel park/k turn, having my nerves cause me to make such a huge error again, and possibly having another stressful tester again, and i’m not sure id be able to go through the stress again if i fail again haha, do you happen to have any advice on what i’d be able to do the day of/before my test?

    • ingenie says:

      That’s so annoying, Robin. Sorry you didn’t pass.

      The way to get over your nerves is do that parallel park over and over and over until you’re sick of it and you’re frankly BORED in the test. It’s muscle memory and if you get to the point where you go through the motions without thinking about it, your nerves won’t get in the way.

      Did you ever do dance or sports? It’s the same thing that lets you remember the routine or tactics. You’re so practised that your body can take over for you even if your brain is saying “Oh sh*t oh sh*t oh sh*t”!

      I hope your next time goes well and let me know if you pass. Bet you will.


  53. ingenie says:


    Sorry to hear this! But don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. No one likes taking tests and even the most confident people feel the pressure under exam conditions. When I took my test I got several minors for mistakes I’d never made in my lessons. It’s frustrating but the fact you’re aware of it means it’s your nerves letting you down – not your driving ability.

    It sounds like you’re almost there so don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ll be a better driver for it.

    Best of luck for next time.


  54. ingenie says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Oh no! Sorry to hear this but trust me – you’re not the only person who has panicked at the independent driving part. I’m sorry that you’re hurt by his comments, he probably felt like he needed to point out to you that driving very slowly can also be a danger on the roads, (for example it could lead to dangerous overtaking from drivers behind you) but perhaps that didn’t come across in the right way.

    Passing first time isn’t a huge deal so try not to beat yourself up about it – just think that you’ll be a better, more experienced driver as a result.

    Well done for re-booking the test straight away. You’ve got this!


  55. ingenie says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with us! It’s really great that you were able to get over the zebra crossing error so quickly and turn things around in the space of 2 weeks! You’re a great example to anyone who’s nervous to get back in the driving seat after failing.

    We love a happy ending. Well done you.


  56. Kelly says:

    Thank you for your kind words 😀 determine to pass second time round let’s hope my next post is a happy one 😀

  57. ingenie says:

    Hey, thanks for sharing this with us.

    Firstly, it sounds like you were under a fair bit of pressure with the comments you were getting from your instructor and family. It’s great that others had such confidence in you but perhaps the added pressure of having to come home and say you’ve failed was too much to cope with.

    You’re totally right, driving can be scary and the thought of having a crash would be difficult for anyone, let alone a driver that suffers with anxiety. So well done for finding the courage to get in the driving seat and take the test. And you even started to enjoy it! Amazing.

    The theme here is too much pressure. By placing so much importance on passing you created a domino-effect thought process. (Not passing = not being able to get to uni = not getting a degree = end of life.) When really, although easier said than done, your mind should have been purely on working the mechanics of the car and concentrating on the road ahead. It’s not ideal, but there are other ways to get around. After all you’ve managed so far without a car. So if putting up with public transport or getting yourself a push bike is the answer for the first few weeks/months of uni then that’s OK. If you’re someone that struggles with new situations and nervousness, perhaps driving to and from a brand new place and starting a new course would have been a lot of pressure for you anyway. Allowing yourself to find your feet at uni first might not be a bad thing, so you know the route well enough that there’s no drama when you do start driving.

    Keep an eye on driving test cancellations and when you feel ready, book another test. I promise you that you will be a better driver for having this experience and really that’s all that matters. You’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you – don’t let a kerb stop you from getting where you need to be.

    You’ve got this.


  58. ingenie says:

    Hey Andrea,

    I can see why you’re frustrated, but the fact that the examiner said you drove PERFECTLY aside from this error is a great result. You’re clearly ready, and failing the first time will just make you extra cautious of roundabouts now – which is never a bad thing.

    So many drivers fail their first test so try to shake off that lousy feeling. It sounds like it won’t be long til you’re celebrating a pass 🙂



  59. daglum says:

    Failed today.
    Was behind a transit van on a dual carriageway that was going at about 35mph on a 50 road, and I took too long to attempt to overtake. I had been checking in my mirror to look out for a good spot, but at the same time I also didn’t know that not overtaking counted as a serious(?!) or even a fault so wasn’t overly concerned especially as I knew I would have to move back to the lane I was in soon after. I understand not overtaking when you really should counting as a minor fault, but to be honest I’m a little bit baffled as to why it’s a serious? After all, the only person I’m affecting is myself and I’m not causing any potential harm to any other road users and I’m not the one holding up the traffic?
    Only 2 other minors so I’m not in the best mood.
    The examiner was great on test, but I was unhappy with the way he spoke about me to my instructor explaining where I went wrong. I’ve got separate issues with my instructor’s occasional manner but I find speaking and laughing about someone as though they’re not right there next to you very impolite. The way they were talking you would have thought I’d done something actually ridiculous like emergency stop for a rat.

    • ingenie says:

      That does sound pretty harsh but maybe he thought someone travelling at the speed limit coming up behind you would have had to brake suddenly? Very annoying but overtaking safely is obviously a big deal.

      The positive here is that you only got 2 minors, which is pretty epic. You’re ready to go – just a wee bit more confidence when you come up against something stressful.

      Try to let the way they were talking about you go. Driving instructors see the same examiners all the time, so there’s a camaraderie there and they just weren’t being quite as professional as they should have been. Having issues with your actual instructor is a much bigger problem so if you’re going to have some more lessons before your next test (always a good idea), why don’t you try someone else?

      Good luck and let us know if you need any more help,


  60. ingenie says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this – I know exactly how it feels because I failed 4 times. The biggest problem here isn’t the examiner; it’s the time limit you’ve put on yourself. It probably feels like the world will end if you don’t pass before uni but there are other ways – being able to drive would just be a nice bonus. If you can think more like that, hopefully you’ll feel less panicky about running out of time.

    You passed your exams, you got into uni. In the grand scheme of things, passing your driving test is a small deal. It’s also a skill you’re going to need for the rest of your life, so you have to be ready to drive alone. These silly mistakes seem little but the examiner still has to be absolutely sure it would be safe to pass you. Some are tougher than others but odds are you’ll get someone else next time who doesn’t make you feel bad.

    Good luck Melissa. I know it’s awful but it will all be worth it once you’ve passed.


  61. Hannah Sammon says:

    Hi i feel the same i only got 7 minors the test felt so great even my examiner said it was a good test but then just before heading back to test centre he said go right i thought he meant junction wise and it was an exit on the roundabout hard to explain but ive been kicking myself all day it was only this morning have you passed since Hannah

    • ingenie says:

      That’s such bad luck, Hannah. You were FLYING – it was just a little misunderstanding and at least you know for next time what happens, how it feels and so on.

      Under pressure, our brains do the WEIRDEST things (I stopped at a green light…in two tests) so I think the more practice you can get between now and your next test, the more confident and relaxed you’ll feel. Good driving is all about being alert but calm. The more tension you can let go of, the better.

      You’ll be absolutely fine. Good luck!


  62. Shikha Jayenth says:

    Hi, I don’t know if you still replying but your words are encouraging. The city where I live in, my friends told me that exam will be pretty easy and examiner would not take me to the highway. Well, yesterday was my exam and examiner took me to the highway and made me change lanes at the speed of 65, I did it perfectly and thought I passes but when we returned to the dmv parking lot, there was a specific area for the people who are there for road tests, but my examiner asked me to parked in a really cramped space somewhere else where two cars were parked almost on the line. I tried my best not the hit the cars but by doing that I missed the yellow small poll which was right in front of the the parking space and touched it slightly. Examiner failed me immediately. I am so heart broken because I am 30 weeks pregnant and running out of time. I rebooked it but I am feeling so discouraged and my confidence is gone. I don’t know what to do anymore.

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Shikha,

      It sounds like you’re under a lot of pressure. Why do you feel you’re running out of time? You can always retake your driving exam after the baby. I know it seems like the most important thing in the world but by the sounds of it you need some more practice and less pressure!

      You’re in the US so I’m not an expert on your test but don’t lose your confidence. We do the craziest things when we’re feeling pressured – it doesn’t mean you can’t drive. Give yourself a break and try not to pin everything on passing your test quickly. There is always another chance and you’ll do better if you’re less panicked about passing.

      Good luck with the test – and good luck with Baby Jayenth!


  63. Wren says:

    Just failed my very first driver’s test this morning. I was feeling confident, everyone I’ve driven with said I would do great on my test, and yet I still failed. I live in a really small town with no traffic lights, no roundabout, etc. It’s quite an easy test and all of my friends have passed on the first try, which is part of the reason why I feel so awful. I’m quite embarrassed, really. I was doing pretty good, I know I’ve driven better but I still thought I was doing all right. I did just fine on the highway and did alright with parking. I had to reattempt my parallel park but got it perfect on the second try. Hill park was alright, however my back end was sticking out a bit, but that was fine. But as we came up to an intersection there was a pedestrian that was just about to start walking on the crosswalk, and yet I went anyways. Ugggghhhhh. I know better than that! Pedestrians always have the right of way! As I was turning I knew I failed my test. The guy marking my test was like, “Ohhhhhhhhh. You should have let that pedestrian cross.” My marker was good, road conditions were good, it wasn’t too busy- it was just the one stupid mistake that costed me my test. Afterwords he even said he would have passed me if I would’ve just let the pedestrian cross!! Hoping to take my test again in 2 weeks, and hoping I don’t do anything stupid again! It just sucks. Everyone was counting on me to get it and I failed. Oh well.

  64. Aaron Hussain says:

    I’ve failed my first test today. 4 faults overall and 2 majors.

    One of the majors which was a simple junction turning right, the examiner failed me because the rear of the car wasn’t quite as in line as the front of it. Then there was a box junction which screwed me over, because you are allowed to go into it and wait for traffic to clear, but the examiner said that I was ‘blocking those turning right’ even though the car doing that did it safely with plenty of room!!

    I honestly think that the driving test is hard and the examiners are incredibly nit-picky. But I shall try again as they all say.

    • ingenie says:

      Hey Aaron,

      You’re right – the driving test is hard. Really hard. And the examiners ARE nit-picky because their whole job is to make sure you’re ready to safely drive by yourself. Driving can be incredibly dangerous so I guess they do feel a lot of responsibility for making sure people don’t pass when they shouldn’t.

      That said, 4 faults total is pretty damn good. I know it’s really frustrating to get that few and not pass but keep practising. Go over that box junction with your instructor and really nail it. You’re obviously very close to being ready – you just need to make sure you’re always thinking of the other drivers around you.

      Good luck Aaron, and sorry this wasn’t the one.


  65. Ian says:

    I just got done with my first ever driving test — and I’m 26 years old. After about a year or so of sporadic practice (which I thought I was doing mostly well except for parking) ,I took a 2-hour driving lesson with the driver’s ed people in my town as well as took the test with them. Even though I was shaky during the lesson, probably because of nerves, I seemed to get the hang of the wheel almost at the end, and I seemed confident enough to take the test. However, once I took it, I made two major flaws: I accidentally went through a bus-only lane and I apparently went over a stop sign at one other intersection, which made the instructor brake on HIS end! That was it.

    I felt very depressed and discouraged afterwards. I still am. I kept thinking about those mistakes and just thought of myself as an idiot and a liability to society. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever pass the next test.

    • ingenie says:

      Hi Ian. I didn’t learn to drive until I was 26 either – I think it’s much harder once you’re past the immortal feeling of your teens.

      It sounds like you’re in the US so I know it works differently but I did 2 hours a week with a driving instructor for an entire year. Driving is HARD! I think you need to do some proper instruction with the driving school because you’re OK with handling the car but you struggled with the actual rules of the road and observation, which are way more difficult and important.

      Don’t feel depressed. You guys don’t have a culture of learning to drive as a longer process to gain skills for life – but maybe that’s what you need in your case. Go back to the beginning with the driving school so you can build your confidence up.

      Good luck and don’t give up.


  66. Mike Mitchell says:

    Good read. Was shocked when I found out I failed today, was really hard on myself and super disappointed. Unfortunately I failed on moving off when a car was a bit too close behind me and had to slow down. Will book my test when I feel better after I’ve had some time to process things. Thanks for the advice, helps me feel a bit better knowing that a lot of other people don’t usually pass first time too.

    • ingenie says:

      Hey Mike,

      You’re right about that! The first-time pass rate is actually only 21% – you just don’t hear people shouting about it…

      Learning to drive is hard. Not passing first time is completely normal and in all honesty, the extra practice and knock to your confidence will very likely make you a safer drive in the long run.

      Good luck Mike, you’ll get there.


  67. James Daniel Banda says:

    Just got out from the test and failed because of one mistake that I suppose was crucial. I was doing great, almost flawless it seemed. We were heading back to the DPS building, and I made a U-turn but had to yeild. I did too, I stopped and waited until I was clear. And suddenly just one car came up and sped up from out of nowhere. I was still clear, I had room and I felt safe. But by the time I was already in the lane, he got close enough I suppose. It was still a smooth transition and I guess he was trying to beat me to it. But I really feel like it was his fault, yet I’m still so angry at myself. If he hadn’t sped up would I have been fine? He was nowhere nearby until he decided to speed up. Not only that but I apparently entered a wrong lane, (not opposite just the wrong one to enter immediately) which was entirely on me. But that other car, truly messed me up I feel. It’s so aggravating and I knew that it would be counted against me but it felt out of my control. The instructor even asked me if I knew what happened and I was fully aware. She said I know what I’m doing and that I’m good behind the wheel, but that little scenario ruined everything. Right at the end of the test too. I’m so angry and I want to cry out of frustration yet I’m in school now and I can’t. But I’m just not in the mood to be here.

    • ingenie says:

      Hey James,

      Sorry you didn’t pass. It does sound like this was someone else’s fault but the examiner has to err on the side of caution, unfortunately. You’re ready for next time – don’t lose confidence because someone else did something stupid.

      Stay calm, deep breaths. You’re so close!

      Good luck for next time,


  68. ingenie says:

    Sorry Leigh, never good but two minors is fairly epic so at least there’s that!

    The examiner’s standards have to be very high for obvious reasons so sometimes they might think you glanced but didn’t actually SEE or you looked too late… Whichever it is, once the examiner has decided to fail you, that stands – even if you challenge it formally. The most you can get is a refund for your test.

    My advice for you would be to think about talking to your examiner as you drive. You can practise this with your instructor – it just means they KNOW you know what you’re doing.

    “I need to move into the other lane so I’ll just check my mirror and blind spot…looks fine so I’ll move over now.”

    It doesn’t have to be constant but it’s a good idea if you have to do anything out of the ordinary, especially when it comes to hazards: “I’ve seen that bloke up ahead on his motorbike and I’m not sure that he’s seen me so I’ll just ease off a bit so I’m ready to stop if I need to.” It means the examiner feels confident you’re in control and maybe won’t be so trigger happy with their controls or judgement.

    I also found talking to the examiner quite good for getting my nerves under control so just give it a try while you’re getting ready for your next test.

    Good luck Leigh, hope it goes better next time.


    • Leigh dawson says:

      Hi Honor great bit of advise never thought of kind of thinking out loud. I spent all morning crying but now I guess all I can do is try again. Thanks leigh

      • ingenie says:

        I’ve been there! I know it feels proper crap right now but I honestly think people that fail the first time are better drivers. It’s a very serious business and definitely not easy.

        You’ll be fine next time, now you know what’ll happen. Chin up, game face on!

  69. Waldo Wallace says:

    I failed today, and it was because of the stupidest mistake I could ever make. I personally feel confident in my ability to drive, and so failing today made me cry a lot afterwards. I had almost a perfect test, with few minors, but then at the end I screwed up really badly by staying in the “Keep Clear” zone in front of a fire station, which cost me my test. It made me so angry at myself afterwards, and I hate it so much. I know how well I can drive, I just need to pay attention to the road more. I was really looking forward to driving after today due to my busy schedule, but now I have to wait two more weeks which really sucks. I’m just feeling very bittersweet since I failed my test but am also glad to see that I am not alone. I just hate having to wait to more weeks. Hopefully this gives me closure.

  70. Frankie060 says:

    Idk if your still reading this but I failed my driving test today and these stories make me feel a lil bit better, I’m 26 years old and I’ve been working on driving for years on but this was the first time I built enough courage to take the test and it was horrible. I got into the car and did all my verifications and when I was about to start the car the instructor yelled at me saying I’m not ready ! Right there and then I knew she was gonna give me a hard time , so we pulled from parking and 15 seconds later she starts saying the speed limit is 25 and I’m like okay then she says it again and when I look down I’m doing 20 or 22 mph ! I don’t think that’s bad espically because no cars were even behind us , smh so she tells me to parallel park and I think I might have go to close to the other car to the right but I felt confident about my position I turned the wheel 360 I wasn’t use to that cause i usually will turn the wheel all the way to the right but my instructor I had 2 days before said the one full turn is easier so I back up and my nerves are kicking in I forgot to check my right blind spot and I hit the gas a lil to hard to back up so I started turning left all the way to finish the park but I went over the curb and I knew right there I failed! She told me I went over the curb and to pull out and do the 3 point turn I did that good and she made me drive back to the start and gave me my paper and failed me with 70 points ! Here in nyc you need at least 30 points or less to pass and I got a 70 I feel like crap, I rescheduled another test that’s in 2 weeks at a different location because the one I went to today is booked till December but I feel so low at this point that I don’t even know how I’m going pass this time. I’ve been feeling like crap all day !

    • ingenie says:

      Sorry you had such a bad experience, Frankie.

      Have you had plenty of practice outside of exams / lessons? I know you go about learning to drive pretty differently from in the UK but I found practising with my mum made all the difference. Two weeks isn’t very long to pull yourself together for the next go, so try to get as much driving in as you can – around the new location in particular.

      Glad you felt a bit better seeing how normal this is. Driving is very difficult and very dangerous so, to be honest, it shouldn’t be easy!

      I hope the next time is the one for you. Good luck.


      • Frankie060 says:

        Yes I’ve had 3 practice runs over the past 3 weeks and not counting all the other ones I took the year before and year before instructor told me he felt like I was ready but I just need to take my time. I’m a good driver and I know what it takes to be a safe driver as well. But that day It felt like my brain froze up and my nerves got the best of me. I plan to take one or two more lessons before my next one but these lessons are expensive so I’m limited to what I could do till the big day. 40 points out of the 70 were cause of the parallel park if it wasn’t for that I would of passed. I’ve been watching videos and reading on how to do the park correctly and how to correct myself just in case. And I plan on taking that knowledge and doing it at my lesson to be more effective at road test.

  71. ingenie says:

    Hi Nakz,

    CONGRATULATIONS! We knew you could do it. Well done for sticking with it and learning each time from your mistakes. And only 2 minors! That’s impressive.

    I can’t imagine the date of your pass certificate will cause you problems but it’s best to check with the DVLA directly. You can call them on 0300 790 6801.

    Hope that helps.


  72. ingenie says:

    Ah, sorry to hear this Flash.

    Sounds like you really did ace it up until that point. I know you won’t feel like it now but try to think of the test as a practice attempt. You know all the manoeuvres inside out you just need to work a little bit more on your observation and planning. You can’t control what other drivers do on the roads but you can control how you react. Safety is key and that’s all your examiner was looking for.

    Try not to dwell on it, it’s great to hear that you’ve got your next test booked. Keep an eye out for cancellations in case a slot comes up a bit sooner.

    Let us know how you get on.