If you pass the three-part exam, then you are home and dry - but it isn’t as easy as you may think. Nick Zapettis of Driving Instructor Services of Swansea agrees: “There is a very high drop out rate, [particularly] at part one of the exam. This is the written section and requires a lot of reading and learning, and they don’t realise how much time and effort it takes. And that's before they start preparing for the driving test and test of instructional ability.”
Part one or the ADI theory test is a written exam and consists of 100 multiple choice questions that are divided into four sections of 25. You are then required to get a minimum of 85 out of the 100 questions overall via a touch screen-based examination. This can be taken as many times as you wish.
This will demand a high standard of knowledge and include questions on general road safety, driving techniques, the theory and practice of learning, teaching and assessing, pupil-instructor interaction as well as basic Highway Code questions. Most courses will supply you with a pack including workbooks, manuals and mock papers that will guide you through the process. They will also provide you with some classroom training and support.
If you can get past this stage then you will move onto part two – the test of driving ability – which is held at a number of centres across the country. Training centres will give you varying amounts of time before you sit the exam depending on the course you have and the needs you require. However, if you fail part two, or three, three times then you will have to start all over again at part one of the exam.
Section two is similar to the normal driving test except that it is longer (60 minutes), there is a higher standard of competence required (you are only allowed six minor faults and no serious or dangerous faults), and you must satisfy the examiner on the following points:
- Expert handling of the controls
- Use of correct road procedure
- Anticipation of other road users and the taking of appropriate action
- Sound judgement of distance, speed and timing
- Consideration of the convenience and safety of other road users
You’ll also have to answer a series of safety questions, describing to the assessor how to check the safety of three components of the vehicle, and performing an actual safety check on a further two components.
After you pass part two you will become eligible for a training licence, provided you join a trading driving school. This will allow you to charge for lessons for six months while studying for part three, and is similar to work experience. It also allows you to earn as you train and is an excellent way to gain early confidence.
The final element of the three-pronged exam is ‘the test of ability to instruct’. This involves a series of role-plays with the examiner playing the part of a learner. There are various levels of difficulty.
The test is split into two parts, each half an hour long and you will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge by giving practical instructions to the examiner. This will almost certainly cover safety precautions and how to make an emergency stop for example.
Once again, the amount of in-car training will vary depending on what course you choose, but will usually be slightly longer than part two.