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Staying calm in your driving test

There is no doubt that many people get extremely nervous before the driving practical test, and whilst this can be frustrating or disconcerting, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Many people perform their best when they have a little bit of nerves beforehand: for instance Olympic sprinters and top athletes or performers at any level learn to channel nerves to improve their performance.

The key is not to let the nerves affect you DURING the driving test, and this is where many learners let themselves down. Nerves can stop you thinking clearly, and in many cases for instance a driver taking their test is so nervous and just focussing on steering the wheel that they forget the simple things like performing observations before and during manoeuvres, leading to them failing their test when in practice they knew perfectly well when and how to use their mirrors and did so correctly.

There is nothing more frustrating than feeling that you failed not due to a lack of driving ability, but due to not being able to conquer your nerves. So what can you do if you are nervous as a driver to stop those nerves beating you?

Well, the main and most important thing is to be as prepared as you possibly can for the test. The more confident you are in your driving ability and the more you believe that you can and should pass, the more you will be able to control the nerves, as for many nerves come through not being confident in their ability or having control over the situation.

Secondly, take some deep breaths and try to relax just before the test. For many, the nerves fall away as they start the test and concentrate. And that really is the key: concentrate so hard on your driving and keep a clear head, and you should find you are too busy to remember the nerves. Don't tell yourself in your head "oh my God I'm doing my driving test...aarghh!" or some variant of that. Rather, keep things in your head simple: concentrate on your driving.

Have mental checklists that you go through in your head and stick to them: for instance some learners are so nervous they forget to put the seat belt on or to look in the blind spot before pulling away and so on.

Be as prepared as you can, relax before the test, then steel yourself to focus 100% on your driving in the test and banish all other thoughts, and you give yourself a good chance of controlling those driving test nerves. Good luck!

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