Here are answers to some of the most common questions about the driving and theory tests during the lockdown. We’ve labelled the questions that are either ‘New’ (see driving tests changes for critical workers below) or ‘Updated’ with the latest information from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA):
[UPDATED] “What’s going on with the theory test?”
• Theory tests were suspended up to and including 20th April 2020, and then up to and including 8th May. The DVSA has now announced theory tests will be suspended up to and including 31st May. If you were about to take your test, you should have received an email by now saying your it has been cancelled and that you will get a refund in due course.
[UPDATED] “When can I take it again?”
• Once the suspension is lifted, you can book a new test date – or if you really want, you can book one now as long as it is after 31st May. To be on the safe side, we reckon you should wait up until 31st May to see if the suspension is lifted or extended further.
“So what should I do in the meantime?”
• With a lockdown in place, use the time productively by practising your theory test with books, online resources and apps. The latest research shows that theory test pass rates have fallen over the past ten years with new Department for Transport figures revealing only 47% passed in the last 12 months compared to 64% in 2009-2010. Ouch.
• Also check with your driving instructor if they are offering any revision sessions online or over the phone (or tracking your progress in services like Theory Test Pro). This way you can keep your learning going with input from a qualified professional who can keep track of any gaps in your knowledge and help you address them.
“How about the practical driving test?”
• Driving tests have been suspended for three months (from 20th March). Unlike the theory test, you don’t have to rebook the test yourself; instead, you will receive an email saying what date and time your new test has been booked for. Remember, you may not get the email immediately as it will only be sent out around two weeks before your original test date.
• If you want to cancel your driving test now, then email firstname.lastname@example.org but be sure to include your driving licence number, theory test certificate number and driving test booking reference in your email.
“Can I head out for some private practice?”
• In a word, no. You should only be driving if you have to commute to work because you are unable to work from home – you’re an NHS worker or work in a supermarket for instance – or if you are supporting vulnerable family or friends.
• Remember, if you’re stopped by the police and don’t have a decent reason for being out and about, you will be fined – so please stay at home.
“What if I need to take a driving test for my job?”
• Only critical workers can take tests at the moment. These include those working in health and social care; education and childcare; key public services; local and national government; food and other necessary goods; public safety and national security; transport; and utilities, communication and financial services.
[NEW] “Are there any changes to the driving test for critical workers?”
• Yes, the DVSA has made a temporary change to car and vocational emergency driving tests, to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
• This sees examiners ending emergency tests early if a candidate commits a serious or dangerous fault/a total of 16 driver faults. This is to help reduce the amount of time the candidate and examiner spend in the vehicle, when the candidate has failed their test.
• If the candidate fails, the examiner will instruct them to drive back to the test centre instead of continuing for the full time, before telling the candidate they have failed.
“Are there any changes coming to the tests once the lockdown is lifted?”
• Yes – in the theory test. During the multiple-choice part of the test, you were previously asked to read a case study and then answer five questions about it. Instead, you will now watch a video clip and be required to answer three questions about it. This change is being made to the theory test in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
• The roll out of this new feature was expected to happen on April 14th but has now been delayed because of the lockdown. We will update you when we receive an official update from the DVSA. For more details, head here for a complete rundown of what to expect from the new theory test when it finally does arrive.
• To be clear, the emergency theory tests available to critical workers will still feature the old case study, not the new video clip-based variant.
Practise the new video clips with Theory Test Pro
We will be including the new video clips in Theory Test Pro as soon as they become available. To sign up to Theory Test Pro for free, click here.