28 Reasons Why You Might NOT Pass Your Driving Test

by EzLicence Last updated

Pass Your Driving Test with Flying Colours; 28 Things to Avoid Doing

During a practical driving assessment, it’s very easy for learners to feel the pressure and potentially make unnecessary mistakes. To avoid an anxiety-inducing experience, preparation is absolutely paramount, and, more than anything, you’ll need to put in the hours of practise before the big day. 

The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to pass. 

Here are 28 tips on what to avoid doing on the day. These will give you the greatest chance of passing the driving test and having a stress-free experience 

This comprehensive guide will provide you with a detailed picture of what to expect from your driving test.

A note before we dive in — the test is known as the driving test (or drive test) in most states and as the Practical Driving Assessment (PDA) in Queensland and Western Australia. We’ll be using both terms interchangeably in this guide.

Find more information on our practical driving test and lesson packages

What Not to Do Before Your Driving Test

So, how can you give yourself the best chance at passing your PDA? 

Below, we unpack everything you need to know to pass your driving test, including the ways you can avoid making mistakes before you even get to the examination centre.  

1. Rushing to Get your Licence

It’s essential to feel confident in your skills in order to pass the driving test. 

That’s why it’s so important to continue practising until you feel comfortable, not just until you’ve reached the required hours. 

In addition to learning with your parents or guardians, make sure you get proper lessons with an instructor. 

These instructors will not only spot bad habits, but they’ll also give you objective feedback, informed advice and a better chance at passing your driving test.

Book a driving lesson with an experienced instructor to give yourself the best chance of passing.

2.  Taking Your PDA in an Unfamiliar Area 

It’s hard to know what to expect in a PDA, considering you won’t know what route you’re taking until the test commences. 

In saying that, you can still prepare by taking a few mock driving tests in the area where your assessment will be held. This will give you a sense of familiarity which significantly reduces nerves and makes all the difference on the day. 

3. Taking Your Driving Test at the Wrong Time

To make this as easy as possible, avoid booking your driving test during peak road usage. 

This includes morning and evening rush hours which put particular pressure on learner drivers, as the roads can be up to 10 times busier.

4. Focusing on the Fail Rate 

It’s important to keep your mind as clear as possible when taking your driving test.

 Reading failure stories online will make you overly anxious. You might even make a mistake out of trying to avoid the mistakes others have made in the past. 

It’s best to go into your driving test with nothing more than the knowledge you’ve gained from study and the skills you’ve developed through practice. 

5. Not Knowing How Long the Driving Test Will Take

Knowing how long the test takes will assist you with visualising the experience. It will also give you the opportunity to practice known driving test routes within the allocated time for a more accurate experience. 

Learn more about how qualified driving instructors can help.

6. Forgetting to Practice Driving in Different Conditions

Rest assured, rain, hail or shine, your driving test will go ahead despite the conditions. 

It’s important to practice driving in a variety of weather conditions so you can get used to slippery roads, torrential rain and how to manage these while driving safely. 

If you don’t practice driving under these conditions with parents or an instructor prior to your driving test, it may come at the cost of your confidence, making it much harder for you to pass. 

7. Going over Theory Once

It’s important to read over theory and driving laws multiple times, or until you feel confident with the material, before you take the test. 

You may encounter less common signposts on your test route, so it’s important you know how to react to certain road situations and other events accordingly.

8. Choosing Not to Take Driving Lessons

Taking lessons or investing in one of our test packages gives you well-rounded driving experience, and thus, a much better chance of passing the test. 

In particular, developing parking skills and dealing with road hazards can be tricky to master. Lessons will help make the more difficult, daunting aspects of driving easier. 

9. Not Bringing Your Instructor With You to the Test

Having your instructor with you means you can go over any last minute questions and concerns immediately before you start the test. 

This can significantly reduce nerves and allow for a clear mind going into the assessment. 

10. Not Using Your Instructor’s Car 

If possible, you should use your instructor’s car for your driving test because it will pass all the standards required of a test car. 

In addition, having practiced extensively in it, you will feel comfortable performing the driving test which increases your chances of having a stress-free experience and passing!

11. Not Getting Enough Rest Before the Test

You are not going to perform at your best if you’ve had a late night before taking your driving test. Avoid alcohol and get to bed early to ensure you wake up fresh as a daisy and ready to pass on the day!

12. Coming to the PDA Without a Fully Licenced Driver

Bring someone with a full driver’s licence to your PDA to ensure you can get home safely. 

As a result of the adrenaline or euphoria from the assessment, new drivers can be particularly vulnerable to making mistakes. So, regardless of the outcome, it’s best to have a fully licenced driver behind the wheel after your test. 

13. Forgetting the Required Documents

Make sure you bring all necessary documentation with you to the test centre. This will include items such as your ID, your licence application form and your logbook. 

14. Using an Unsuitable Car for the Test

Ensure your car is suitable and roadworthy before you arrive at your driving test. The test officer will do an inspection of the car prior to the assessment and you will have to reschedule if they deem the car unsafe to drive. 

To avoid unnecessary fees and wasted time, refer to your local authority's website for further details on the roadworthy standards. It may also be useful to book your elected car in for a service before the test or simply use the vehicle of your driving instructor. 

For more information on the roadworthy standards in Australia, take a look at the Victorian requirements

15. Underestimating the PDA

While being overly anxious and nervous can interfere with your ability to pass your driving test, it is equally detrimental to be too relaxed and inattentive. 

If you fail to maintain 100% concentration throughout your test, you are unlikely to pass. 


What Not to Do During your Driving Test

To give yourself the best chance of passing, here’s some tips on what to avoid doing during the test itself. 

16. Being Overly Nervous

Being too anxious will likely lead to poor performance and mistakes. A few nerves are unavoidable, but make sure you’re as relaxed as possible to avoid unnecessary mistakes. Remind yourself that you have prepared well and you can always take the test again if things don’t work out. . 

17. Being Unfamiliar With the Driving Test Procedures and Policies

Make sure to go through all of the different stages, policies and procedures with your instructor, so you know exactly what to expect in your PDA test. 

18. Forgetting to Put your Seatbelt On and Failing to Adjust Seats and Mirrors

Not putting your seatbelt on for the test will result in an automatic fail. Adjusting mirrors and seats ensures you can see everything clearly and that you’re in the correct driving position. These are extremely important components of the practical driving test, so make sure you do them first! 

19. Improperly Signalling

You must signal for at least 5 seconds before driving away, whether you’re pulling out of a parking spot or away from a curb. 

It’s also important not to signal too early or too late, and you mustn’t leave your indicator on. Make sure you have a good understanding of how to use your signals by asking your instructor during lessons

20. Failing to Check Blind Spots and Forgetting Shoulder Checks

When merging, changing lanes or attempting parking manoeuvres, you need to check your blind spots to avoid potential accidents and damage. 

Make sure you go over where your blind spots are prior to your test. 

These practices are fundamental to the safety of yourself and others on the roads, therefore, improperly performing or failing to use them could prevent you from passing the test. 

21. Creeping Forward or Rolling Through Stop Signs

When you arrive at a stop sign or a traffic light, you must make sure the car comes to a complete stop before the line. 

Do not roll through and do not creep forward, unless your vision is obscured by parked cars or other objects. However, in this situation, you must still come to a complete stop prior to creeping forward. 

22. Misjudging Gaps in Traffic

Learners can sometimes misjudge the speed of the car coming towards them when pulling away from the curb or coming out of a car park. 

Trust us, the confidence to properly judge gaps in traffic comes with time and experience. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to practice until you’re confident, not just until you’ve fulfilled the required hours! 

23. Hesitating or Being Indecisive When Turning Right 

Hesitating when turning right at the lights can be the difference between passing your drivers test or failing. 

You should always maintain a reasonable gap between yourself and the car in front of you, ensuring you turn right in a timely fashion, but only when it is safe to do so. 

Be confident by making choices decisively and knowing your own abilities! 

24. Infrequently Checking Mirrors

Testing officers are watching things closely during your PDA, and merely glancing at your mirrors will not be enough. 

Look at your mirrors frequently to ensure the testing officer is certain that you properly conducted mirror checks. 

25. Refraining from Asking Your Examiner to Repeat Themselves

Never be afraid to ask your examiner to repeat instructions. Not asking could be detrimental to your test score, so make sure you don’t let the fear stop you from performing to the best of your abilities.

26. Assuming You Failed

Never assume you have failed, even after making a mistake. Try not to assume anything until the testing officer gives their verdict. If you made a mistake and your testing officer does not stop the test, continue with confidence. 

27. Assuming You Have Room for Error

On the other hand, it’s also important to refrain from assuming you have room for error during your driving test. While it is true that some errors are worse than others, it’s incorrect to assume you can get away with several of them. 


After your test 

Regardless of whether you’ve passed or failed, it is absolutely essential that you listen attentively to the examiner’s verdict, their reasoning and how they think you went. 

28. Fail to Listen at the End

The examiner may be general and non-specific when it comes to the final comments at the end of your exam. 

However, it’s important to pay attention; they will provide you with important driving tips and personalised feedback which you can use to further improve your skills. 


So, now you know what not to do when attempting to pass your driving assessment. 

Thankfully, there’s also wide range of online resources on learning to drive so you can make sure you’re comfortable with the theory before getting behind the wheel. 

Your mentality can significantly impact your abilities, so make sure you try to keep calm throughout your assessment, focusing solely on the road and your driving. 

Good luck!

About the author


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