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Sitting In On Tests

April 9, 20140 Comments

This week Blaine talks about sitting in on tests.

As an instructor your pupil’s will ultimately be taking a test. Regardless of whether this is a learner test or a Part 3 are you sure you know exactly what the Examiner thinks is important?

How up to date is your knowledge of the requirements for the tests you send your pupils to?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments box at the bottom of this page.


Video Transcription


So why am I up at 5 o’clock in the morning tomorrow to get on a train to go to Scotland and then coming back the next day (6 and a half hours each way)?  The reason I am doing this is to sit in on a new Standards Check.    The day I come back I will be sitting in on another Standards Check and some more next week.  So why do I do this?  This to me is my development; it’s my learning; this is what I learn from.  I have sat in on over 800 Part 3s now and I’ve sat in on hundreds of Check Tests.

I do this because I learn what the Examiners are looking for whether it be how they mark the sheet, what they mark, how they weight the fault (driving fault, serious fault or dangerous fault) and what the Examiner doesn’t think is important.  I think that as an instructor ultimately your pupils are going to be tested and we need to know what is required for them to pass.  It is not about areas or test routes as I am going to different places in the country to see how the tests are standardised.

I believe it is really important for you, as trainers, whether you are training learners, PDIs or training people to be ORDIT, that you sit in the back of some of the tests to learn what is required, what is important and what is not important.  For example, you will learn on a learner test that the push – pull is not important and you learn that if they stall they should apply the hand break, clutch down and start up the engine again which is fine as long as they are in an appropriate gear as you do not want them to be mucking around and take too long to get going again.  You will also learn that touching the curb isn’t important.  You will learn where your pupils’ fall apart, what makes them fall apart on a test and how they recover.  I have been on tests and on the independent drive the pupil has gone the wrong way but they have made this error correctly.  For example, they have indicated to turn left and gone left when they were meant to go straight on.  Whilst sitting in on the test you realise that these errors are not wrong.  What is wrong is when they try and correct it and muck it up.

This gives us the tools to discuss with our pupils and get them test prepared.  We can prepared them for the Examiner to pull them up a lot, pulling them up at an angle,  asking them to pull away at an angle and starting up and down hills.  We can practice all of these things with our pupils.

I believe it is really important to get a really good rounding of knowledge of what happens on tests including Part 3s.  I hear PDIs all of the time saying that their trainers don’t like this or that but unless you are sitting in on the tests your PDIs are taking you cannot be sure of what is required.  With regards to the Standards Check, I am going to sit in, see what is required, see how they are marking the sheet and exactly what is a 1, 2, 3 or 0 and how does it weight itself.

So whatever level of test your pupil has coming up please take the time to go and sit in.  I am sure you will find it very useful.

Author: Blaine Walsh

Filed in: Teaching Learners
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About the Author ()

Blaine Walsh is the owner of, has been a driving instructor trainer for 15 years and a driving instructor for over 20 years. When he first qualified Blaine admits his was not a very good instructor, became disillusioned, was not retaining pupils and not making any money, so he quit full time teaching. After spending time self-reflecting, he had a light bulb moment and realised that he needed to put more explanation, effort and enthusiasm into teaching learners. Since then he has not looked back and is now regarded as one of the top trainers in the country.

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