Pass Your Driving Test the First Time

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: December 19, 2021  •  5 min read  •  Driving
Approved Course is reader-supported. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission.

For a new driver, behind-the-wheel test day is a day filled with excitement and anxiety. If today is the date for you, it’s important to remember that you are not alone and that everyone you will see today at the DMV feels the same as you. Set yourself up for success by being prepared to pass your driving test the first time. Use this list of steps to help get yourself ready for the big day.

9 Tips to Help Build Test-Day Confidence:

  1. While it is a skill you may never in real life, practice parallel parking every chance you get. Your examiner may not ask you to do it by, if you don’t practice, they probably will.
  2. Practice starting and stopping smoothly. Tossing and examiner back and forth by punching the accelerator and stopping the brakes is a sure way to lose points.
  3. Make sure your turning skills are sharp. Always into the lane closest to you and get that signal turned on well in advance.
  4. Before turns or lane changes, practice turning your head completely as you check your surroundings. While you can see everything about your surroundings in a properly adjusted mirror, your examiner can’t see what direction your eyes are pointing so turn your head that way, too.
  5. If you have time before test day, spend some time driving the streets and neighborhoods around your test center. Make mental notes about any street signs, speed limits, dips in the road, etc. Your test will be happening on these very roads, so it is a plus if you feel comfortable driving there.
  6. On test day, as with any time you get behind the wheel, make sure you are adequately rested and have done all you can to eliminate distractions.
  7. When you get to the testing location, remember that first impressions Make sure you arrive punctually and treat everyone you encounter with politeness and respect.
  8. When the examiner enters your car, take an extra moment to double check your seatbelts and the adjustment of your mirrors and seat. Since it will probably be the car you brought to the testing center, all these things will be okay, but this quick double check will assure the examiner that you are serious about operating a car safely.
  9. Confidence, even just for show, can make you and your special passenger more comfortable. Genuine confidence is important but, if you’re still nervous, simply putting on your “I got this” face for the test can make things much easier.

The key to passing your test (and driving in the future) is always to be prepared for what lies ahead. Understand that the average driver will make 2 ½ mistakes for every mile that he or she drives. Keeping this in mind, remember to spend less time beating yourself up and more time paying attention to and compensating for the 2 ½ mistakes the drivers around you are making

The freedom and responsibility that comes with being a licensed driver will change your day to day life dramatically. Good luck and we will see you on the road!

You’ve done everything to prepare and the big day is here, time for your driving test. You aced your permit test, and now it’s time to show that all those hours practice driving with it have you ready to hit the road solo. Before you head out, look over this checklist to make sure that you are good to go. Make sure to keep calm and relaxed. It is not as bad as it might seem. As long as you have practiced safe driving habits during practice, there’s no reason you can’t show them off come game time.

If you are nervous about your road test, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The problem with this understandable fear is that it can result in mistakes because you are concentrating on your feelings and not on the road. Try to clear your mind as much as possible. If you do fail the first time, it’s not the end of the world. While there may be a small waiting period between attempts, you’ll have the opportunity to take it as many times as you need. But if you’ve made the most of your permit practice time, you shouldn’t have to worry about a thing. Good luck on your road test! If you’re not ready for your road test because you haven’t even had drivers ed, check out the online drivers ed offerings from!

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story is coming soon!