How to not be nervous for your driving test (Tips)


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Page last updated: 15/09/2022

How to not be nervous for your driving test

In this guide, we will discuss “How to not be nervous for your driving test” and some useful tips that can be of assistance when having to take your driving test.

How to not be nervous for your driving test?

‘How to not be nervous for your driving test’, you may have been thinking for a while and here are some tips that may help you control your nerves:

  • Use positive self-talk
  • Don’t tell everyone about your test
  • Eat well, but not too much
  • Pretend it is one of your lessons
  • Plan your day ahead
  • Stay away from caffeine and nicotine
  • Take your time
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself

As indicated by ‘The Sunday Times’, “Each day in the UK, around 6,000 people take their driving test.

For most candidates, it’s a stressful time not least because, according to the AA, they’ll have spent about £1,000 in lessons and test fees getting to this point.”

Moreover, they indicate how, “for many candidates, it will have felt like money wasted since about 40% of them will fail. Lack of preparation and being taught by a relative rather than a qualified instructor are largely to blame.”

However, they also listed ‘nerves’ as one of the reasons why someone could potentially fail their test.

If it is your first or second attempt, it is completely normal to feel nervous, however, if it is your third or even fourth time, it means nerves are definitely taking control over the situation.

As the AA Driving instructor Mark Fitzgibbon indicates, “nerves are without a doubt necessary to take a driving test, and everybody is nervous. In fact, I would go as far as to say if you are not a little nervous then this driving test doesn’t mean much to you…what you need to do is focus on the process of driving”.

You might feel anxious even while going for a license test or driving for the firs time. To overcome your anxiety, one needs to learn ways of coping with it.

Use positive self-talk

First off, if you are actually taking your driving test it means you are already good enough to pass it. A good driving instructor won’t ask you to take the test unless they consider you are ready or you at least at test standard. 

Moreover, remember how you have done it several times before and this time won’t be any different.

Tell yourself how good you are and how ready you are to nail this test, you may have done more difficult things than this!

How to not be nervous for your driving test (Tips)

Don’t tell everyone about the test

Yes, out of excitement you may have considered telling everyone about the date and time of your test but just consider sharing it with a few people.

This way you won’t feel the pressure days prior to the exam or you won’t be constantly reminded about it (even if they just mean to support you).

When it is done, you can call everyone if you feel like it but keep it a secret before the exam.e

Eat well, but not too much

If you have considered skipping a meal because you feel too nervous, don’t, especially because your brain needs fuel to be used during the test.

There is also another simple reason for it and that is, being hungry during your test will make you think about food and you will not be able to concentrate.

On the other hand, having a lot of food or a feast won’t help you either. If you are too full and you start feeling nervous then you might get nauseous or even feel the need to throw up.

Not ideal at all, this is why it is recommended to eat something light or just something that makes you feel satiated. 

Pretend it is one of your lessons

If you are doing your test for the first time, just try to pretend it is a regular lesson, which means just doing the same things you have done during your lessons.

This will allow you to relax and calm a bit since you won’t feel the pressure of being tested. 

Remember, no one is actually asking you to do something different than what you have been doing during your lessons.

Plan your day ahead

Getting late to your exam or not knowing what you wear can make you feel more nervous or anxious, consider planning the best route the day before as well as what you will wear.

Try to get to the test center at least 15 minutes beforehand so you are not in a hurry to get there on time and you are also not too early, having to wait too long.  

Stay away from caffeine or nicotine

Stay away from drinks that could be high in caffeine such as energy drinks, sodas, espresso, etc.

Many people think it will get them energized and will help to stay alert during their test but the truth is that caffeine can add to your nervousness.

Moreover, it is common to think smoking will somehow help you calm down and deal with your nerves but in fact, nicotine can cause anxiety symptoms to get worse.

Researchers have found that nicotine in cigarettes can affect your brain, consequently, your mood.

Take your time  

When doing your test, take your time and do things at your own pace, your examiner is not evaluating how fast you reverse or park the car.

If it helps, you can whisper to yourself each step you take so you can also correct yourself. 

Remember, your instructor is not waiting for you to fail and sometimes we sabotage ourselves thinking others will do it first, so we can blame them later for our mistakes. 

Don’t be too hard on yourself

In case you have to repeat your exam, avoid being too hard on yourself. Instead, evaluate, analyze, and put things into perspective thinking about what you can do differently next time.

Moreover, when we fail at something we tend to tell ourselves how bad we did it because we are a failure, but change the chip and look for the opportunity to get better and not ‘buried’ in shame or sorrow. 

Tips to consider before taking your test (same day or days before)

Here are some tips indicated by The AA, you could consider before taking your driving test:

  • Chat to your instructor about how you feel if you need reassurance.
  • Practice any maneuvers which you think need a little more work and focus. Don’t shy away from the parts of driving you find difficult and hope they won’t show up during the test – you’ll need a full skill set to pass.
  • Ask your instructor if you should take any extra lessons to focus on things you find tricky.
  • Visit the driving test center that you’re going to take the test at; taking in the reception area and getting familiar with your surroundings will help you feel calmer on the day.
  • Practice with family and friends as much as you can – they’ll also help to boost your confidence.
  • Accept that nerves are normal – you’re bound to feel a bit anxious before you take your driving test. After all, you’ve worked really hard to get to this point. 
  • You could keep the date and time of your test private to minimize stress. That way, if you pass it’s a great surprise – and if you fail, you don’t have to worry about telling people. 

Why is this blog about How to not be nervous for your driving test important?

As discussed on ‘How to not be nervous for your driving test’, remember how being a bit nervous is actually necessary and it means you feel the need to pass because you care about what you are doing.

Moreover, remind yourself how capable you are, avoid telling too many people about your test, don’t eat too much prior to your examination, plan your day ahead, stay away from substances such as caffeine or nicotine, take your time for the maneuvers and don’t be too hard on yourself if the outcome is not positive.

For many, driving test anxiety continues in their first independent driving lesson. However, there are always ways one can get rid of it.

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to not be nervous for your driving test

How can I calm my nerves for a driving test?

If you want to calm your nerves for a driving test, here are some tips:

– Deep breathing. If you take calm deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, it can have a soothing effect on your body and will help you relax.

– Listening to calm and relaxing music. It is believed that classical music can help lower down your heart rate and blood pressure, which can help combat the symptoms of nervousness. However, it doesn’t have to be classic music, as long as you find the music relaxing it can be any type of music.

– Aromatherapy. You can get aromatherapy essential oils from most pharmacies such as lavender and lemon. You can put some drops on your pillow the night before or use a diffuser. Also, check the best blends offered by dōTERRA that help with anxiety. Aside from herbal essences, a famous product is Fish Oil for Anxiety, check out which ones are the best. Also find them in roll-on.

How do you mentally prepare for a driving test?

When preparing yourself mentally for your driving test, you can talk positively to yourself, saying something like “I can pass the driving test”, this will block negative thoughts and help you feel more confident.

In addition, remember how it is not necessary to rush yourself by planning your day ahead so you can have plenty of time to get ready and get there.

Should I be nervous for my drivers test?

It is normal to be nervous about your driver’s test but we can’t allow nerves to control us.

This is why we need to calm down, take deep breaths, and trust ourselves.

How can I calm my nerves?

If you want to calm your nerves, the most important thing to remember is breathing.

Take long deep breaths to relax, admit to yourself you are anxious, and how normal it is to feel like this. In addition, challenge those negative thoughts and contrast them with reality, you will notice it wasn’t as bad as you thought.

If it helps, try to put on some relaxing music but with low volume so you can hear your instructor and change your focus from the anxiety to something else, for instance, what you would do after the test.

Can you talk to yourself during a driving test?

You can talk to yourself during the driving test, in fact, it could be useful if you vocalize step by step what you are doing or you will do, so you can feel in control over the situation but avoid talking to yourself about things that can possibly distract you from it.


Evans, J. (2014, Jul.) TOP 10 WAYS TO AVOID STRESS ON YOUR DRIVING TEST. Retrieved from “Take your fear out of the driving seat – for good”

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