The way to learn to drive

Information Page

This page carries snippets of useful information from the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) (and possibly other sources) that will be relevant to your learning with me.

Ordering for teaching DVSA books/computer programs/DVDs is on a different website (https://www.safedrivingforlife.info/).This page uses links to this new site to access those titles.


A Change to the Theory Test in 2020

DVSA issued a press release recently about a changes to the theory text effective from 28th Septmeber 2020.

If you want to view the press release online click here. They are replacing the current written case study (which had 5 related questions) with a video clip and three multiple choice question associated with the video clip. Overall though the total number of questions remains the same as does the pass mark for the test. The reason for the change is to make the test a little more friendly to those with difficulties such as dyslexia, autism or learning difficulties.


"What do I need to prepare for my Theory Test?"

The minimum you need for the Theory Test is the Theory Book.

The DVSA released a new version of the "Official Theory Test for Car Drivers" book last updated in October 2019 however on the new website the publication date info is no longer available. There is also a SET of books i.e. the updated theory book with "The Official DSA Guide to Learning to Drive" and "The Official DSA Guide to Driving - the essential skills" at a price cheaper than buying all three separately. See below for links to purchase.

For more information about the Theory Test visit www.gov.uk/theory-test. For Theory test booking links see later down this page.

Local Theory Test Centre

With the redevelopment of Southgate House in the Town Centre, the Theory Test centre for Stevenage moved. It is now at:
Ground Floor,
Suite 1,
Middlesex House,
Meadway Corporate Centre,
Stevenage SG1 2EF
View on Google Maps
View on Open Street Map
It is on the SB8/9 Bus Route with the nearest bus stop at the point where Clovelly Way joins Gunnels Wood Road.

Don't get scammed - book your driving theory or practical tests with the DSA directly

TV programmes like BBC TVs "Rip off Britain" have highlighted some online scams claiming guaranteed retest and booking of theory or practical tests via themselves and not the DVSA, however these sites incurred additional charges via premium rate calls and didn't actually pay for retests for free. This Daily Mirror news article gives details of some of the companies concerned. Search engines still show many such sites so beware!

See the DVSA booking links further down this page.

Practical Test Cancellations

It's rare that the DVSA cancel tests, except in bad weather, but recent industrial actions can cause problems as some examiners report for work on those days and others not. So, unless informed otherwise by the DVSA in advance, you should attend the test and get told that your test has been cancelled.
The Good news! .... The DVSA will consider recompensing you under situations such as these. The webpage to look at is https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-refunding-out-of-pocket-expenses/guidance-on-applying-for-out-of-pocket-expenses-for-a-cancelled-driving-test. There's a form online to download, fill in and send to the DVSA and they will then pay some out of pocket expenses such as travel/lost working hours - details are all on the website page.

Changing Driving Licence from Automatic to Manual

Occasionally pupils come to me for training to learn manual gearbox car driving having already passed the "Automatic" car driving test. This is no problem, the test for manual is the same as for automatic HOWEVER you can't book your test online - you have to do it by phone. Here's the page from the DVSA site on this one. It's probably to do with handling test failures - if you already hold an automatic license then a manual test failure DOESN'T stop you driving an automatic vehicle legally. IF you book a "manual" test and fail it then by default you would be on a list of unqualified drivers ... and obviously if you held an automatic license you shouldn't go on that list.

Show me tell me - Ford Fiesta

Video courtesy of an AA instructor.

Driving Standards Agency (DSA) videos

DSA Independent Driving tips

Other Important Links

Here are some links to sites for booking your Theory and Practical tests as well as to an online version of the Highway Code and some theory test practice. These ARE the gov.uk weblinks you should use to book for

DVSA Books/DVDs etc.

2021 update: www.safedrivingforlife.info seems to have changed its policies, preferring to sell online theory subscriptions or books SO items such as the Hazard perception DVD ROMs and Ebooks have been removed from sale there. It's possible that stores like Amazon may still have stock of the DVD ROMs or Ebooks. There seems to be an issue with the online subscription tuition now being provided on the saferdrivingforlife rather than the separate dvsalearningzone.co.uk (which shuts down in July 2021).

Also publication date information for the books has disappeared from the site so it is harder to tell when new versions are published!

Theory and Hazard Perception test practice

Other Off-site Links

I keep links to non-driving sites on a separate page - here or click on the "off site links" in the menu below.

Page last updated: 3 May 2021