Learning To Drive

Learning to drive can be such a stressful time. Not just because you’re learning something difficult and you want to do your best but also because it’s so expensive. My driving journey has been a long one, and it has most definitely been a stressful one as well so I wanted to just share mine with you and if you’re feeling worried or nervous about your test or leaning then maybe, hopefully this will help.

I have taken a lot of tests, 6 to be honest. I know some may laugh or wince but I don’t care. I have now passed and to me that’s all that matters. I want to share that as some may be in the same boat as me and for some reason we find a higher test number embarrassing. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, a pass is a pass. It’s how your test goes on the day, how you handle things and for me, my nerves always got the better of me.

Passing first time doesn’t make someone any better of a driver than someone who passed on their third or tenth, everyone is different. From the location of the test, to weather, the actual examiners are all different and how you handle yourself are all factors that can go for or against you, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

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THE BEGINNING

I will keep the details short as it’s a long one but as soon as I turned 17 I started to learn to drive. I used the same instructor my sister had used and had lessons for about 3 months before I booked my theory. I passed first time which was something I was worried about and continued with lessons. After a while my instructor started pressuring me into booking a test, I knew I wasn’t ready but I did it anyway. Well I then failed two, I was annoyed and upset, I felt as though I was wasting my money and so I stopped.

My local test centre then shut down and the closest one was 20 miles away which put me off even more. I then realised my theory would be running out (they only last 2 years) so I quickly booked a test, got the same instructor as before and tried to pass within the 3 months that I had left. Sadly I then failed these as well, my theory ran out and I ran out of money. Because the centre was so far away I had to have 2 hour lessons every time and 3 hours on test days and it was too expensive so once my theory ran out, I was done.

Last year it then re-opened, thank goodness, in the worst possible place I might add but at least it was back in my hometown again. Learning to drive again was back on the table…a very far away table though.

WHY I WAS SO RELUCTANT TO START UP AGAIN

I felt like a failure. All my friends and family had pink licenses and I was ashamed of my 5 failed tests. People would ask me if I was ever going to learn or start up again and I always would say I don’t know. Until the Christmas just passed Brent offered to pay for my lessons and tests until I passed, my Grandad then kept asking when I was going to book, when are you going to do it – He would asked me daily. No one ever pressured me but it was the little push that I needed. I was worried I would fail my theory test the second time round and I was so scared to fail another test.

CHOOSING AN INSTRUCTOR

My first instructor was useless, I now see that. He never picked up on mistakes, he never explained why you do or don’t do something and he never told me what I was doing right. Two family members had passed first time with BSM so I decided to try them this time around. I’m so grateful that I was paired with my instructor, he was amazing. So thorough and in-depth. I knew exactly what I was doing wrong, how I should change it and he told me when I did well at something. I said I struggled with clutch control and we spent an entire lesson on just that and I know that that is the main reason why I felt 100 times more confident whilst learning this time round. He was incredible and I’m so glad I got him.

I would say try and go with someone or a company who you have heard good things about. Usually you get the first hour free to get a feel for the instructor and if you’re not happy, change. You will be spending a lot of time with this person and you want to feel comfortable.

ASK QUESTIONS

When I first started learning I was a quiet 17 year old who was too scared to ask questions. This time round, and nearly a decade later, I decided I wouldn’t be afraid. Every single time I had a question, no matter how silly I thought it sounded I just asked it and my instructor always answered it fully so I knew exactly what to do. No matter how small you think it is, just ask, you will feel so much better for it.

THEORY TEST PREP

I booked my second theory test after my first lesson and I studied hard. I used the Theory Test Kit 2017 which cost £4.99 and included 4 different apps; Theory Test, Hazard Perception, Highway Code and Road Signs. I revised every night and did a theory test mock every week. Because I did so many tests in the end I knew the questions and answers straight away and they have stuck with me. I can’t recommend these apps enough as they are so useful and having it on my iPad was so convenient. I did also use a site online, sadly however it was a site my instructor was signed up to, he paid monthly for it and all his students could revise for free. I don’t know the name of it but the majority of my revising was done through the apps.

PIN IT!

So when it came to booking my test I had three months to go, the closer it got the more nervous I got. The last two weeks beforehand I was a mess, hardly sleeping, I had a meltdown on my mock and couldn’t stock crying (my poor instructor) and every time I thought of my test I felt sick. I started to do a couple of things to help calm me down and I believe they really helped.

FIND YOUR ZONE

There’s a piece of music that when I hear it, it instantly takes me back to a memory that relaxes me and calms me down. So in the lead up to my test whenever I felt the nerves kick in I played this piece of music and just tried to relax and let go. The morning of my test I sat on my bedroom floor with it playing and did some deep breathing and slowly the nerves faded to just a slight feeling.

Whether it’s going for a run or walk, or just taking a bath, do whatever calms you down and try not to think about the test.

CHANGE YOUR WAY OF THINKING

My mum told me about a study she read about, being nervous and being excited are the same adrenaline and when people where nervous to do something they couldn’t do it but when they thought about it in an exciting way they were fine. Whenever I got nervous I made myself think “I’m excited for my test, this is it, this is my last one” and it made me feel so much better.

I also had a motto in my head that I kept repeating whenever I got scared or nervous and I repeated it when I was waiting for my name to be called by my examiner.

  • Be calm
  • Be confident
  • Concentrate
  • Don’t rush
  • Don’t second-guess yourself
IT’S JUST A NUMBER

This is the most important thing to remember. It’s just a number. Whether you pass first time or on your sixth like me, it doesn’t matter. A pass is a pass. You should be proud. That sinking feeling when you find out you have failed is possibly the worst feeling, you feel so let down but remember that you WILL pass eventually. I never thought I would hear the words “Well done, you’ve passed” but I did and I finally have that blue certificate and I will finally have a pink license. It will happen, just believe in yourself.

Giving up half way through was my biggest mistake, but then I think about how much I have grown as a person and I feel as though learning later on in my life was actually better for me. Starting young and failing and then quitting left me with this big cloud, passing my test was just hanging over me, it was something I wanted so much but I was too scared. I’ve finally pushed through and that cloud has gone, it’s a chapter that I have finally finished and have closed so I don’t care how many times it took, I did it in the end.

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Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and don’t let other people pressure you. It’s great to have goals though and use these to push you.
It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you will pass.

If you have a test booked I wish you all the luck in the world!
If you are just starting out with learning to drive, don’t feel pressured to pass quickly, take your time and book your test when
you feel confident enough.

Good luck!

PIN IT!

Comments

  • cristy

    Yay, you passed in the end tho which is all that matters!! i found that my driving test was the most nerve wracking thing I have ever done!! its so great driving tho!!xx

    cristynottingham.blogspot.co.uk

  • Ellie

    I really needed this. I’ve failed my test twice last year and only just plucked the courage to start my lessons again! I admire your determination, congratulations!

  • Chelsea

    Congrats on passing your test lovely! Loved learning about your driving journey and it’s really helped to put my mind at ease. I’ve got my test coming up and my nerves always get the better of me too. Really going to take your advice and when I start to feel nervous, I’ll definitely take a leaf out of your book. Thank you! xx

    ohsomint.com

  • Samantha

    I really enjoyed reading this; I had so much trouble learning to drive as well. Took me a few times to pass the written, and when I was finally ready for the actual test, I failed at the big intersection right outside the DMV. Thankfully I ended up passing the day before my written expired! Lol. There was a mantra my dad taught me: slow is smooth and smooth is fast, so I repeated that to myself throughout the whole test. Anyways, loved reading this and congrats on passing! 🙂

  • Catherine

    Well done for passing! It took me three attempts, each one of my two fails were one serious and no minors, the nerves overtook me each and every time and I turned into an absolute mess. I was about 4 months pregnant when I finally passed, and let the guy know I might have to pull over to throw up and that I had awful baby brain.. I think he felt sorry for me and passed me, haha!

  • Katie

    I’ve got my theory booked and have been learning for a couple of months. I’m petrified of failing my theory and feeling like I’m stupid. I’ve got the official theory test app and I am trying my best to keep revising but I sometimes feel as though time just speeds by after work and I then don’t do any revision. Any tips on motivating myself? P.S well done on passing, your post has given me confidence to just breathe and take my time. XX

    • Claudia
      Katie

      You’re not stupid if you fail lovely, the theory test is hard and the pass mark is high, you’ll be fine. I used to set myself a goal of at least 30 minutes a day, or just do half a mock test at least. I would do everything I needed in the evenings then get into bed and do my 30 mins, it ended up as a routine and I soon got used to it. Good luck with your test, you’ll be fine ? xx

  • Hollie

    Like you said, a pass is a pass and that’s all that matters. I passed my theory over a year ago and I’ve only this week started having lessons again. I spent the longest time deciding whether it was something I really wanted to do but I figured once it’s done, it’s done. Well done on passing! X

    Hollie | ItsHollieAnn.com