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23 September, 2005

Made it look easy

For those who don't know, the UK driving test is in three parts: a theory test, a hazard assessment (video) test, and the on-road practical test.

My colleague J. sat the first two yesterday, so on Wednesday I ran through a couple of mock theory tests with him. The pass mark is 30 out of 35; he scored 24 and 22 on two tests, which isn't entirely surprising: the day before his real test, he had yet to even glance at the test documentation, which recommended careful study of 'The Highway Code', 'Know Your Traffic Signs' and 'The Official Theory Test for Car Drivers'. In preparation for the hazards test, the same documentation recommended study of 'Roadsense: The Official Guide to Hazard Perception'. However, I now know that having not read that letter, J. arrived at the test centre unaware that there would even be a hazards test.

Yesterday morning, he rang me (having at least read 'The Highway Code'), to ask the time of his appointment and the location of the test centre. Good start. I was able to provide the former, as he'd left a 'post-it' note on his desk, and I offered to find the latter via the web and ring him back. He provided what he thought was his mobile phone number, though he wasn't sure.

Kind of shambolic, eh?

His score in the theory test: 34/35. In the hazards test, 62/70 (the pass mark is 40). A conclusive pass, but would you get into a car with him?

One could argue that if it's possible to sail through the tests with negligible preparation, this invalidates the lucrative market, preying on the nervous and gullible, for guidebooks (several from the HM Stationery Office...) and coaching services which prepare people for the tests.

I just hope he doesn't turn up for the practical test having never driven before....

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