The NSW Driving Test Experience

NSW Driving TestAre you preparing for the NSW driving test? Having a clue of what to expect can make it easier for you to pass the test. Better yet, it will give you more composure during the test if you’ve played it out in your mind.

In this article, we’re going to cover the Australian driving test experience. To be precise, what should you expect?

Scheduling The Test

The test scheduling is done online, and the date is usually set at least a month away in advance. Most likely, you will be given an option to choose different test centres in your state. For the booking time, you will probably be given a time slot of between 8 AM to 4:30 P.M.

Arriving at The Test Centre

On the test day, you should arrive at least 15 to 30 minutes at the test centre before the scheduled appointment. If you arrive too late (after the appointment time), you could have your driving test cancelled.  

Before the driving test starts, they will check your documents; a learner’s driving license, proof of identity, completed logbook and any other relevant paperwork.

Note: In most states, you will be asked to bring your car for the driving test.

Pre-Drive Check

After all your documents are verified, the examiner will call you out to the parking lot to inspect your vehicle. At this phase, you will be asked to identify and operate your vehicle controls such as the brake lights, hazard lights, turn indicators, windscreen washer, wipers and headlights.

The examiner will also ask you to pinpoint the handbrake, rear window demister, windscreen demister. Please note, if your test-driving vehicle is not roadworthy, the driving test will not proceed.

Other than that, some states may require you to do an eyesight check at this point; so if you have an eyesight problem, be sure to wear your glasses.

Driving Stage 1: Residential Area

First things first, there will only be two people allowed in the car; you and the testing officer. However, in some states, a monitoring officer is allowed to sit at the back seat so that he/she can evaluate if the test is conducted properly.

If you’re lucky, your driving school instructor may be allowed to join you in the car but he/she won’t be authorized to talk to you during the driving test.

Otherwise, the examiner will likely start the driving test by asking you to drive to a residential area with low traffic. Of course, you will be requested to turn right/left, change lanes, give way, or pull over to the curb.

Besides that, be prepared to do the “left something behind” exercise. It involves the examiner telling you to go back to the test centre or where you started the test after driving off for a few kilometers. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed; it’s just that the test assessor is trying to test if you can safely perform basic maneuvers such as U-turns, 3 point turns, and curb parking.

What’s more, you could be asked to demonstrate reverse parallel parking, hill starts, and angle parking slow-speed maneuvers.

It will take you about 10 to 15 minutes to complete this stage.

Driving Stage 2: Busy Area

After you’re done with the residential area, the examiner will ask you to drive to a busy road especially on the highway. Just like in the first part, the examiner will ask you to make turns, cross busy intersections, charge and merge into lanes; but the difference is the examiner will want to assess how you will behave when under a lot of pressure.

Unlike the residential areas, the busy areas are more unpredictable since there is a lot of traffic. It’s important that you be extra careful and keep your composure at this stage.

It should take about 15 to 20 minutes to finish this part. Nevertheless, the driving test is not over until you return to the test centre, park your car, and step out of the vehicle.

Driving Test Assessment

Non-Critical Errors

In most states, if you make more than 8 non-critical errors during the driving test, you will fail. Basically, a non-critical error is any driving fault that is not serious and unlikely to cause real danger to other road users.

For instance, if you don’t do a proper head check or stall at an intersection when the light turns green. Please remember that each state or territory has different driver examination rules; what could be a non-critical error in one state, could be a critical error in a different state.

Also, some states have specific repeated driving errors that could cause you to fail. That means, if you continually repeat the same non-critical mistakes over and over again, you could fail the driving test.

Critical Driving Errors

A critical driving error is any mistake or proper lack of judgment that puts other road users in danger. If you make just one critical driving error, you will fail the test immediately. Some of the critical errors in most states or territories include:

  • Over speeding in a school zone.
  • Not coming to a halt at a stop sign or red signal.
  • Disobeying the examiner’s instructions.
  • Overtaking recklessly.
  • Driving beyond the speed limit for more than 5 seconds.
  • Forgetting to use appropriate controls.
  • Failing to signal.
  • Rear bumping another vehicle.
  • Any other mistake that will put you in danger, or other road users.

After The Test

Once the test is done, you will be asked to wait at the test centre reception. After a few minutes, you will be told whether you’ve passed or failed.

Regardless of the outcome, you will be given a scoresheet that will list down all your errors and marks based on the test.

Still, confused? take our free practice Driver Knowledge Test to refresh your driving laws and traffic signs knowledge.