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Your path to a full driving licence...


driving school car

Step one: Get a provisional licence

You must be at least 17 and have a provisional licence to drive on public roads but you can apply for your licence up to three months before its start date.

You can apply for a provisional licence online for £34 or by post for £43. To apply by post complete driving licence application form D1 (available from most post offices). You can expect to receive your licence within two weeks.

Further information about driving licences is available on the Directgov website.

Step two: Check your eyesight

You must be able to read a new-style UK number plate at a distance of at least 20 metres (or 20.5m for number plates that are pre-September 2001). If glasses or contact lenses are needed for this, they must always be worn when driving.

Step three: Take driving lessons

L-platesThe Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency advises "The best way to learn is by having regular planned lessons with a good driving instructor and as much practice as possible."

We hope you will choose to learn with Wycombe Driving School and if you are lucky enough to have private practice, you should be accompanied by a motorist who is at least 21 years old and has had a full British car licence for at least three years.

You can check out our prices or book a trial lesson here. The number of lessons you need to have will depend on your natural ability, relevent experience and, to a degree, your age.


Step four: Pass your theory test

Highway CodeYou can start driving lessons before you pass your theory test but you will not be eligible to book the practical test without a theory test pass certificate number. The theory test is a computerised exam in two parts. If you fail either part you must take both parts again.

In the first part of the theory test you must answer 50 multiple choice questions in 57 minutes on road procedure, traffic signs, road markings, road sense, rules and regulations etc. You must answer at least 43 correctly to pass this part of the test.

In the second part your hazard perception skills are tested when 14 video clips of real road scenes are displayed on the computer and you have to click the mouse when you see a hazard developing. One of the clips will contain two hazards, the others contain one each.

Each clip is about one minute long and you can score a maximum of five points for each of the 15 hazards shown - the earlier you spot the hazard the higher your score. You must score 44 out of 75 to pass. You will receive your result within 30 minutes of finishing the test.

See the official DVSA video on the theory test.

We recommend you study for the theory test at the same time as taking practical lessons as this will allow you to put the theory into practice and so aid understanding. As a WDS customer you will be entitled to free theory test software on our website

How to apply for the theory test:

The nearest theory test centres to High Wycombe are at Slough and Uxbridge.

You can pay the £23 exam fee by debit or credit card for a telephone or online booking, or by cheque or postal order with a written application.

For a telephone booking, call 0300 200 1122. For online bookings: click here. If you wish to book by post, application forms are available by calling 0300 200 1122.


Step five: Pass your practical driving test

driving school pupil at steering wheelThe practical driving test is about 40 minutes long, during which time you will be asked to carry out one set manoeuvre.

The possible manoeuvres are reversing around a corner to the left or right; turning the car around in the road; and reverse parking behind a car or into a parking bay. You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.

You will also be asked to drive independently for about ten minutes. For this part of the test you will need to follow roadsigns or a series of directions given at once.

You will fail the driving test if you make more than 15 minor errors or a single serious, dangerous or potentially dangerous error. You will be told your result at the end of the test.

See the official DVSA video on the driving test.


How to apply for a driving test:

We recommend that you get your instructor to book the test for you so they can ensure their car will be available when you need it. Simply offer them a number of possible times and dates. Local test centres are at High Wycombe, Aylesbury and Slough.

You can pay the £62 fee (£75 for Sat or weekday eves) by debit or credit card for an online or telephone booking, or by cheque or postal order with a written application.

For a telephone booking, call 0300 200 1122. For online bookings: click here. If you wish to book by post, application forms are available by calling 0300 200 1122.


Step six: Claim your full driving licence

car cartoonWhen you pass your driving test your examiner will give you a test pass certificate and ask you to hand over your provisional licence so he/she can arrange for it to be exchanged for a full licence, which you will receive in the post.

Alternatively, you can choose to do the paperwork yourself, by sending off your pass certificate and provisional licence to the DVLA. But you must claim your full licence within two years or your pass certificate will become invalid and you will have to take the exams again.