Hazard Perception

Following my blog about the Theory Test, Driving Test Success have recently published a blog with hints and tips for the Hazard Perception section of the test.

Pop over to the Driving Test Success website to see what they have to say about it.

Don’t forget you can also use their online trainer to practice for your theory test on simanndriving.co.uk

Preparing For The Theory Test

One question I always get asked when I first speak with a student is regarding the best books to get to revise for the Theory Test.  There are a multitude of books and DVDs available, so how do I know what to get?

There is a page on my website which details most of the best study aids for the theory test, each image linking through to the relevant page on Amazon.co.uk, but I thought I’d detail the best ones on here to make it simple.

Firstly, there are two books which I would consider absolutely essential, read and understand these two and you’ll pass the theory test with no problems.  The first is The Highway Code.

The Highway Code

The Highway Code

First published in 1931 (check out a digitised copy of the first edition here), The Highway Code has been updated a number of times to reflect various changes on our roads.  The latest revision was published in 2007 and costs £2.50 (currently £1.99 on Amazon).  It contains various rules and laws for any road users, from pedestrians up to motor vehicle drivers.  Any rule which includes the red words “Must” or “Must Not” is a legal requirement and failure to observe can lead to points on the licence, fines and driving bans, some of the most serious leading to a prison sentence.  Whilst other rules (identified with the words “Should” “Should not” “Do or “Do not”) are not legal requirements per-se, failure to adhere to these rules could be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts to establish liability.

The Highway Code is also available online for free at https://www.gov.uk/highway-code

The second book is The Official DSA Guide To Driving, The Essential Skills.

Driving, The Essential Skills

Driving, The Essential Skills

Costing £12.99 (currently £8.93 on Amazon), this book gives advice and tips on driving, above and beyond the rules laid out in the Highway Code.  Although quite a thick book, The Essential Skills is quite an easy read, broken down into logical sections and is a recommended read for experienced drivers as well as learners.

Between these two books you will gain enough knowledge to pass your theory test, although don’t forget that you aren’t just studying for the test – this knowledge is essential for driving in general.

As an addition to these two books, I highly recommend the series of DVDs published by Focus Multimedia.  In particular I’d suggest getting All Tests which covers the Theory Test, the Hazard Perception Test and various aspects of the Practical Test. Currently £7.14 on Amazon, this is readily available in various supermarkets and Staples for about £5-6. It is also available as an online subscription at http://www.simanndriving.co.uk/training/dts/ for up to £10 for a 6 month subscription.  Also available are versions for various smartphones at http://theorytestapp.co.uk/  These are very handy for studying wherever you are, but lack some of the more advanced features of the DVD version.  If you intend getting the phone apps, I’d suggest you also invest in the DVD.

Using this DVD (or online subscription), you can take mock tests, keeping track of your progress. The software will chart your results over time and details the various subjects within the test so that you can see where your strengths and weaknesses are, allowing you then to focus tests on specific areas.

Don’t forget, however, that the DSA have, over the last couple of years, changed the way that study aids help in your revision. Previously all the questions that you could be asked were published in software such as this DVD as well as various Theory Test Books.  This is not the case any more – to prevent people learning by rote, published questions are not identical to those asked in the test.  The idea behind this is to ensure students study and understand the subject properly.

Beyond the above three essential products, I would also recommend Know Your Traffic Signs.

Know Your Traffic Signs

Know Your Traffic Signs

This book is currently £3.74 on Amazon, but is also available as a free PDF at http://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/uploads/3/2/9/2/3292309/know-road-traffic-signs.pdf – very handy to download onto your smartphone so you can revise on the go.  A short history of road signs and a section on the system used on British roads precedes images of most of the signs you will ever come across.  It is clearly laid out and it won’t take long before you understand any road sign you see.

So, for about £15 you can get all the essential material you need to successfully study for your theory test.  Read, understand, practice and it’ll be a doddle.

Practical Test Cancellation & Highway Code App

Two bits of news today.

I (or rather my students) have been fairly lucky in rarely having to cancel a test at short notice. The case has always been that, if you give more than 3 working days notice of a cancellation or change, you don’t lose your fee, with changes after this date costing you the £62 test fee. Fees could be safe in special circumstances (bereavement, illness, accident, etc) but I found out today that this is no longer the case. Now there are no allowances for such circumstances, thus you will lose your test fee if you cancel within the three working day window, whatever the reason.

Recently, the DSA have announced a new iPhone app based around the Highway Code. More details can be read at the DSA’a website. Not having an iPhone, I can’t vouch for the app, but if anyone has tried it, please let me know your thoughts. Available now for £3.99.

Don’t forget the Highway Code, as well as being available as a book, is free to view at Highway Code Online.

New Website Launch

We’ve just launched an updated version of simanndriving.co.uk

All the old content is there, but there are also new parts, the most exciting of which is our Driving Test Success page at www.simanndriving.co.uk/training/dts

This is an online version of the DVDs that I have been recommending for several years. Using this page you can sign up to train for your theory test with weekly, monthly or 6 monthly subscriptions (hit the green “Start Revising Now” button to see prices).

We’ve tested the site across various browsers, but if you come across any problems, broken links, etc, please e-mail us at info@simanndriving.co.uk with details of the problem and the browser you were using.

Theory Test Changes

As of today, the Theory Test is changing. The following release from the DSA explains all:

Better testing for better drivers

From Monday 23 January, the driving theory test will no longer use pre-published questions in a move to stop candidates from learning answers by rote.

Until now all the questions used in the driving theory test have been published. These changes will mean that learner drivers and riders gain a better understanding of driving theory, because they can no longer rely on simply learning which options are correct for individual questions.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said:

“By bringing a stop to publication of theory test questions we aim to encourage candidates to prepare by learning each topic area thoroughly rather than just memorising the questions and answers.

“The intention is to improve candidates’ knowledge and understanding of driving theory, so that they are more able to retain and apply it when they are on the road.”

The familiar theory test books and software still offer revision questions for candidates to test themselves and assess their progress. They now also have exercises so learners can practice applying their knowledge on each topic to case studies. There are also new sections of revision support for motorcyclists and a free e-book for car drivers.

The agency has also launched its first iPhone apps for theory test revision, which also help candidates to study and monitor their progress at their convenience as they approach their test date. These are available from the iTunes Store.

DSA books, electronic books and software are available to order or download from TSO at tsoshop.co.uk/dsa and all good bookshops.

Twitter Feeds Update – Driving Test Success

Driving Test Success feed now added. These guys offer what is, in my opinion, the best material to help you study for your driving tests (practical and theory).

You can view their website at www.drivingtestsuccess.com

If you have any suggestions for feeds we can add, please e-mail us at info@simanndriving.co.uk and we’ll see what we can do.