Driving Test (TP)First things first, as said in my previous guide to getting your driving licence, this is just a sharing and I am NOT professional or qualified. Not even close. Even so, I still hope my guide will help you guys understand some of the mistakes testers always look out for, how not to commit them and good habits to have when practising driving.
Get a Marking Scheme
First of all, as mentioned in the previous guide, it is highly recommended to get yourself a copy of the marking scheme used for the TP test. It is the same no matter which school you are from. Ask from your instructor, friends, family, or even camp in school, wait for some stranger who just took his/her test and borrow it to take a picture of it. This is your cheat-sheet and is also the same rubric you will be tested on.
With the cheat-sheet, read through everything and know the common mistakes to take note and not commit them. So how do you know the common mistakes? You have friends, Google, and most importantly you have your instructor. All you have to do is ASK. You do not want to commit stupid mistakes that you do not even know of, that maybe your instructor did not teach you (this applies especially to private). Like my instructor who never ever told me anything about changing lane at bends and I wasted precious points for nothing. Some other common mistakes are checking of blind-spots, failure to conform to safety, etc. (the most common mistakes are the failure to check ________)
Understanding the mistakes is simply not enough, because TP is a practical and not a theory test. As you try to understand all the mistakes on the cheat-sheet, the most important thing is to practice. Practice makes perfect (yeah cliché). Make it a habit to do the necessary actions to avoid any mistakes. practice it on every driving lesson, practice it in the toilet, practice on the bus or taxi, etc. Trust me. Most people fail because of that extra few points from these small actions.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
• Before changing lanes or turning, even though it is stupid, you have to turn your head to check 3 spots – your rear mirror, side mirror and then your blind spot. And you have to make it really obvious
Fun Fact: did you know that your face is being recorded as you take your test?
• Also, for checking for safety as you park, you have to check 3 important points – the 2 side mirrors, turn your body to the sides and look out the back window. You have to do this twice – before you start reversing into the parking lot, and when you are halfway into the parking lot.
• Another easy way to lose points is by not checking the rearview mirror before you stop (seems stupid but do yourself a big favour and save those points!). It is important to make it second nature to you as you already have a lot of things to focus on plus the stress during your TP test. There are many more mistakes, but these are the few really common ones.
Practice makes perfect, but make sure that your perfect is the right way. So, be very sure to ask your instructor what is the proper way to check and how obvious do you have to make it, etc. You do not want to have done all the checking of blind-spots or safety, but end up being marked down for “incorrect checking of blind-spot/mirror” (yeah it’s in the cheat-sheet) and fail anyway.
Once you have made it a habit to drive without making mistakes, make sure you do it confidently. The more confident you are (without mistakes of course), the faster your instructor will think you are ready for your test. But more importantly, the confidence will show your tester that you are ready to be a driver. You will definitely be stressed during your test, but with your checks being second nature to you, you will not minus unnecessary points, which makes it not difficult to pass.
This is not a must but good to have. Try to book a test date strategically that will benefit you in several ways. What I mean is to book your test on a weekday, way out of the peak period time. Less traffic means smoother lane changes, less indecisive moments, less angry drivers and fewer people dashing across zebra crossings to catch their stupid bus because they snoozed their alarm twice. Many times candidates fail their tests just because of an @$!? driver who just do not like people changing into their lanes.
The other bonus tip is a shorter queue to get your…… qualified driving license! It’s not going to be easy getting a good slot because you are not the only one dying to get a licence. So, what you need to do is to be more kiasu than them by checking the website more frequently for updated slots. Some people might not make it for their driving test dates and will use the “try-sell” feature and sell the much earlier time-slot to you. It might be painful, but trust me it’s worth it. And on the test day, remember to wear like a safe young man/woman so the tester will feel safe in your hands.
1. Get a cheat-sheet
2. Understand all the mistakes listed on the cheat-sheet. Make sure that what you understand is really what it means and not commit the mistake.
3. Pick out the common mistakes to focus more so that it becomes your second nature
4. Make sure your instructor catches you each time you commit a mistake. Or alternatively, every time you execute a safety check or if you are unsure whether you just committed a mistake, ask your instructor if it’s right.
5. Practice everywhere, not just in your driving lessons. Get used to it.
6. Be confident. Do not let stress affect you during your test.
7. Optional – Book a strategic test date
8. Dress like a safe young man/woman
Even more Bonus Tips:
1. When the tester says “we will be turning right in front” or something similar, KEEP LEFT. Even if you are in the right lane, keep left first, because when it is about time to keep right he/she will tell you to turn right here.
2. Please don’t memorize the test route because you have more things on your mind to worry about.
3. Do not keep focusing on keeping left right after a right turn. Wait until the road is straight.
4. Keep practising your safety checks. It is the easiest points to waste but also the easiest points to avoid. Always check the mirror before you stop, check check check (the 3 checks) before you change lane/turn, check check check times 2 when you park (parallel and vertical same), etc.
5. Always stop at stop lines even during your practice.
6. Some instructors are out to cheat your money
Note: Private Instructors can easily earn at least another S$300++ from you if you fail.
How do you tell? These cheats don’t catch you for a lot of mistakes or not teach you proper procedures. This is a big red flag. Find another instructor or keep asking him/her based on the checklist so he/she knows that you know your stuff.
7. Slow down whenever you encounter any situations on the road that are not normal. Situations could be random plastic bags, random people standing at the side of the road looking suicidal etc. The possibilities are limitless on the road. Slow down even when you are near traffic junctions. Testers are usually old and have weak hearts. They really want you to slow down that’s why they install brakes too because they like to slow down.
Okay, this is really the end of my sharing session. Once again, I ain’t no master in this game but I’d still like to share some of my experience which I hope will help some of you out in passing your TP test. Good luck and remember to have confidence! Your turn to share it with your friends.