The driving test is a safety test conducted by the DVSA (Driving Vehicle Standards Agency) to make sure that you understand the Highway Code and can be a safe driver. A bit like the theory test come to life.
The driving test used to be something to be feared with strict, stern examiners taking candidates out on the hardest test routes. But now examiners, old and new are fully trained in friendly customer service skills, including how to deal with nervous candidates. Which makes the whole driving test a much more positive experience.
You need to have passed your theory test before you can book a practical driving test.
After meeting your examiner, your documents have been checked and then its on to the eyesight test. You will have to read a number plate from about 20.5 metres away. Failure to read it will result in a failed driving test.
The examiner will ask you one 'show me' question and one 'tell me' question. The 'tell me' question will be asked before you start driving and the 'show me' question will be asked while you're driving. Here are all the 'show me, tell me' questions. Failure to answer both will result in a driving fault. Losing control of the car when answering the 'show me' question will result in either a serious or dangerous fault (test fail).
The driving test will last approximately 38-40 minutes depending on traffic.
Part of the test will include a reversing exercise (reverse/bay parking, pulling up on the right-hand side of the road and reversing 2 car lengths or driving forward into a car park bay then reversing out). You'll only carry out one manoeuvre. You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop. Manoeuvres information can be found here.
Assessing you driving independently is part of the test. This will take up roughly 20 minutes of the driving test and will consist of you either following road signs or directions from a sat nav. Read more about Independent driving here.