Nervous About Driving Test Nerves
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How to deal with driving test nerves

Nerves are something that we all suffer with from time to time, but unfortunately they affect some people much more than others. Below you’ll find some really helpful advice on how to make sure that your driving test nerves don’t destroy your chances of achieving a first time pass!

How to combat driving test nerves

In order to combat the driving test nerves, it’s essential that you feel confident BEFORE you put in for your test. You have to believe that you can do it, and just remember your instructor wouldn’t have recommended you apply if they didn’t think you were good enough!

Practise makes perfect when dealing with driving test nerves

Make sure that you have practised all the manoeuvres and driving routines that you could be tested on in your exam plenty of times before your test. This will help you to feel much more confident and help to banish those driving test nerves.

The worst thing that can happen is that you start your driving test uncertain of a particular manoeuvre and the examiner then asking you to complete it. This will not help your nerves! If you are struggling on a particular manoeuvre ask your instructor to spend more time on it, or take a look at our practical videos.

Help and support to combat driving test nerves

Ensure that you have your instructors support. Talk to friends and family about your nerves and anxieties and see if they can offer any advice. You can also join our friendly community over on Facebook where you can interact with thousands of other learner drivers who are all in the same position.

Can herbal remedies help with driving test nerves?

Certain herbal remedies such as Kalms can be helpful for some people to help calm driving test nerves. Make sure that you read the label thoroughly and remember that you will need to start taking these a couple of weeks before your test.

Can breathing help with driving test nerves?

It may sound strange but breathing exercises can be very useful to help combat driving test nerves. Simple deep breaths whilst focusing on your in and out breaths will help to relax and sooth any nerves that may be brewing.

Can Bananas help with driving test nerves?

You may have heard instructors and learners recommending that you eat a banana before your test. They are full of vitamin B which will help to calm your test nerves. The main reason for this is that they contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into seratonin, the ‘happy hormone’.

Can distraction help with driving test nerves?

It’s recommended that you arrive at the test centre with plenty of time to spare on the day of your test. However, sitting in the waiting room before your test begins is often where most people begin to feel the real nerves kick in. Take along something to read to help distract your attention or why not try the breathing exercises to help keep you calm.

Pretend you’re on a driving lesson to help combat driving test nerves

If the idea of sitting your driving test sends you to jelly, try to think of it as an ordinary driving lesson, but you’ve simply got a replacement instructor in the car. So long as you remember everything that you have been taught and you drive to a high enough standard, you will pass!

Hints and Tips from other learner drivers to help banish those driving test nerves

Here are some hints and tips from other learner drivers about how they overcame driving test nerves:

  • Think of all the good times that you’re going to have when you pass your test
  • Imagine that you’re a taxi driver and you’re taking someone home and have to follow their directions.
  • Chill out with friends before your test to help relax
  • Chewing on chewing gum
  • Bach’s rescue remedy
  • Have a positive attitude – “I will try my best but if I fail then at least I’ve tried”
  • Don’t have a big meal before your test – it will make you feel sluggish and tired
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Ask your instructor to sit in on your test – a familiar face in the car can make you feel more at ease
  • Don’t tell everybody when your test is!
  • Eat a bowl of porridge before your test
  • Beta Blockers
  • Listen to music before your test

If you’ve found a great way to overcome driving test nerves, why not let us know in the comments below!

And if you’re nervous due to certain manoeuvres, or questions you may be asked, take a look at our practical online training.

42 COMMENTS

  1. Calmettes seem to balance the stress. However, I feel that distracting yourself before your test helps more. Because when you alone you tend to think alot but when you in the company of others as well as in a new surrounding you think about it less

  2. I failed my test with nerves i tried to stay calm but as soon as i got in the test centre that was it my nerves went i couldnt focus i just kept making mistake after mistake then that was it i failed but one thing iv learned is never give up if you want something so badly keep trying and you will succeed but im going to try some of these tips for my next test

  3. I failed my 1st road test because I was nervous. My 2nd test is today and I plan on chewing gum and listening to music while I wait on line. Wish me luck!

  4. I’ve failed my driving test 10 times due to nerves, I am a confident driver with my instructor or parents but my neves go when a examiner gets in the car, anyone else had the same problem?

    • This is shit! Josh, maybe have the examiner sit with you to make you feel more comfortable as you know them. I’ve failed twice so far cos I shake and get myself worked up, think positive. But good luck in future hope you pass. Happy passing!!!

    • Same here, I’m terrified of authority figured. I failed my first test because of that. I’m fine when it’s people I know and I know I’m not being tested. Also day I took my rest, I had work right before so that didn’t help.

    • I have the exact same problem! My nerves always get the better of me and I make stupid mistakes, which I wouldn’t normally make with my instructor.

  5. I have that same bad nerves during my tests, I drive so well during my lessons, only when the examiner sat next to me then I was shaking uncotrollablly. Failed 4 times now and still trying

    • Same here nerves get the better of me everytime and everytime I fail I loose confidence fab when with instructor so frustrating

  6. My driving test isn’t for 7 weeks and I’m liturally dying inside already .. I’m freaking out because when I was younger my friends car I was in got rolled by another car .. and going at a high speed freaks me out feel like I’m on a roller coaster . So I have a feeling I will fail because I’m just not sure how to get over the fear of going at a high speed but I’m still going to remain postie after all I have 7 weeks .. but to anyone talking your test soon good luck

  7. my 1st driving test is 2mrw & weirdly i’m not too nervous yet! i am calming myself with postitive thinking stuff like “i can do this” and telling myself i am a good driver. i haven’t told too many people so that i haven’t got that pressure. i also find that when i get nervous thinking of it i tell myself that even if i do make a mistake, i am allowed to make up to 15 minor mistakes before i fail…so i dont have to be utterly utterly perfect!
    Deano…u don’t actually need to go at high speeds really….the fastest road you could possibly go on will be 60mph, and you could easily get away with doing 45mph if you told the examiner you didnt feel safe going faster :)) good luck with your test tho…i’m sure you’ll b great!

  8. Totally sympathise with Josh. Im in a similar boat. It’s just like a part of my brain shuts down when I’m nervous…..
    Crazy when I’m ok with my instructor or family!!! Do kalms or rescue remedy really work??

    • Hi Jane,
      Just failed my 2nd test this week due to nerves. I was shaking so much it must have been. Isabel for the examiner. He told me to pull over when safe. Breathe and calm down!! He opened the window and even chatted to me so he must have been able to see how nervous I was!! I was using rescue remedy spray for bedtime and another during the day. I used it all the time but still failed. This time I used the spray AND Kalms! Yet still I went to pieces. I felt fine right until I moved off to start the test!! Hypnotherapy is next I think. Good luck anyone else going through the same!

  9. This is totally me as well! It sucks! Failed my 3rd test today because of nerves! Even though we know it’s nerves it’s amazing the effect it can have! What’s the plan moving forward!?! I’ve had kalms and rescue remedy recommended…..

  10. I got my test Tomo already shaking inside and out failed twice before because I was rushing making mistakes due to nerves.. gonna try the breathing techniques and just think it’s a lesson with someone different also if u fail it can b retook n expensive hobby but u only have to pass it once.

  11. Got my test today absolutly bricking it. I know i can drive fine but with a examiner in the car my legs shake badly any ideas to stop this would be massivley gratefull.

  12. I have my test on Monday and I feel physically sick. Its all that is on my mind and I cant sleep. Have failed once before and was shaking so much I could barely drive

    • Everything you have said sounds exactly like me.. I just sent out for my license so I am waiting for the letter back for the test date, it will be in a couple of weeks. I seriously cannot sleep at night because it’s all I think about, I just want to pass the first time to get it over with and never have to worry about it again.

  13. I’ve been a bag of nerves all week. I’ve suffered with nerves and anxiety associated with learning to drive and hence I’m nearly 25 and have always put it off. I’ve forced myself to learn and have my first test tomorrow.
    I keep telling myself that I have nothing to loose and have beta blockers also as I suffer with anxiety and panic attacks in general. I don’t know why I’m so caught up about it.
    Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

  14. I have my test tomorrow and this is my 2nd time. I haven’t had regular lessons for a long time… because I’ve been so skint. Full of cold I am a bag of nerves when the examiner gets in the car. My lessons I drive like a dream… Very scared. But I’m trying to say to myself it’s all ok. I don’t want to fail again…. Wish me luck everyone. I hope the ones who are talking there test soon, good luck to you all!

    • Hope you passed!! I failed with nerves but will try again soon. I actually took my first test… 20 odd years ago. Failed through nerves and then gave up as couldn’t cope. I was turning 50 this year so decided I must try again! Failed on the day of my party in Feb and then again this week. I can handle failing although disappointed… I just can’t handle those nerves anymore…. desperate for them to go away!! I had a good lesson, good test drive, he was nice, traffic ok… manoeuvres no prob but then he told me to go left I indicated left then went right!! I then went over the pavement when I realised So failed!! I was shaking so bad I thought I would be sick!! Good luck everyone!!

  15. oh I have test tomorrow 4times I failed because of nerves. today I feel poorly. but I think always good. I will got it tomorrow.

  16. Hi everyone I know how u all feel I have my 6th test Monday and I’m a bag of nerves . I’ve been taking kalms for the last week and half due to anxiety and they are helping !! Good look to everyone taking their test soon it’s very stressful , but like someone said above you only have to pass once ! Never give up think posotive ! I had to retake my theory because I stopped after the fifth time for a year I was so disheartened with failing all the time . But I am determined this time to carry on ! I know how I all feel ! Good luck c

  17. Thought I was the only one going through nerves and anxiety when it comes to my driving test maybe deep breathing may help

  18. I’ve got my 4th test tomorrow (did the first two years ago), I failed my 3rd test due to nervous; the lesson before was awful and i think my brain was exhausted when I was in my test! I only failed one thing though so hoping it’s 4th time lucky for tomorrow 🙂 Just need to keep positive.

  19. Totally agree with all of you I am a good driver and when I get in the car I’m a complete wreck ! I’ve failed 3 times now I’m going to try calms as I have my test again at the end of April and try a few of these things mentioned fingers crossed for you all xxx

  20. I’m going for my 4th test on Monday,have failed 3 times due to nerves and I’m a fifty something male ex boxer.
    So everybody gets nervous. Come to far to quit now should I have to go 4 times or 104 times.
    All I can say is, every time you get knocked down dust yourself off, get back up again and come out swinging!
    God loves a trier.
    Good luck to everyone ,Chin up.

  21. I’m going for my 4th test on Monday,have failed 3 times due to nerves and I’m a fifty something male ex boxer.
    So everybody gets nervous. Come to far to quit now should I have to go 4 times or 104 times.
    All I can say is, every time you get knocked down dust yourself off, get back up again and come out swinging!
    God loves a trier.
    Good luck to everyone ,Chin up.

  22. I have my PCV test tomorrow and the nerves kicked in this morning!
    Shall be doing some breathing exercises tonight and tomorrow. Years ago, before my car test, my cousin passed her test straight away, so I thought, if she could pass first time, then so could I.
    My breathing exercise is as follows:
    Breath deeply in through the nose, the tongue up against the roof of the mouth (relaxed – not tightly pressed.) Then breathe out through slightly opened mouth, tongue now lower and not on roof of mouth. Each breath out is blowing the tension out and away. Each breath in for a count to 4 or 5 and same for the exhale. Don’t rush it. Shrug the shoulders several times and relax each time. Roll the shoulders back and forth and relax.

  23. Hi my first driving test tomoro really nervous but trying to keep calm and not think too much about it have suffered with confidence issue’s in past and really wish you didn’t need an examiner and your instructor could just take you out and go….ok yeh…your fine now carry on kirsty!! Want it so badly never did it in my youth now 36 and much more fearful of things….ooooh fingers crossed!! And good luck everybody else I have faith in everyone…we can do this!!!

  24. I’ve got my test in 5 days I’m a bit nervous but I’m trying not to get my self all worked up I just keep telling my self I will pass but hopefully I will fly through it

  25. I’ve also just failed my 10th test due to nerves. I’m so utterly disheartened by the whole experience.
    Like many of you i drive without fault during lessons but go to pieces in a test situation. I’ve tried kalms and rescue remedy but still fail.
    Any advice?

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