Preparing to take the drivers license exam can be a nerve-wracking experience, even for the most confident of student drivers. Driving with a permit is all about strengthening your skills as well as receiving guidance and feedback from your instructor. While there can be challenges, it’s generally fun and exhilarating to first learn how to navigate down the road.
The actual license test requires you to demonstrate those skills and prove your ability to drive independently. This can be quite a bit of pressure, as most novice drivers are eager to pass the exam the first time so that they are free to hit the road without supervision. Just like with any test, taking the time to thoroughly prepare for the license exam ahead of time is what will help a person ace it.
If you’re a student driver ready to put your skills to the test, or a parent looking to help your teen get his/her license, these tips will shed some light on how to be successful on the first try:
Know What the Drivers License Test Will Be Graded On
If you take a reputable drivers ed course or practice with a skilled supervisor, your instructor should do a good job preparing you for what the driving exam will involve. To put it simply, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’ll be able to safely change lanes, follow the speed limit, navigate intersections, use your signals/headlights, understand traffic laws and traffic signs, and observe and react to traffic and bikers/pedestrians.
If you have any questions, be sure to ask your instructor to clarify any confusion before your test begins.
Practice Driving Consistently, and Brush Up on the Drivers Handbook
This sounds obvious enough, but practicing consistently and thoroughly will help you gain the confidence and skill-building that you need to smoothly operate a vehicle. Teen drivers are often required to log a certain amount of hours before taking the license test, but more practice is always better, especially in the weeks leading up to the exam.
Even if you’re not taking a full drivers ed course ahead of getting your license, scheduling private driving lessons with a state-certified instructor will help illuminate any specific areas where you can improve. An instructor will have valuable insight into what the test examiner will be watching out for.
The more you practice driving, the more you will also be exposed to situations that could potentially arise when you’re taking the test that aren’t necessarily everyday occurrences. This can help you know what to do if an unexpected situation occurs during the exam. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to brush up on the driver manual to review special circumstances and their corresponding laws. For example, if an ambulance were to start flashing its lights behind you, Colorado law states that you must pull over as far to the right as possible, stop, and let the emergency vehicle pass.
Stay Calm and Ease Anxiety
It’s easy to let your nerves get the best of you, but try your best to stay calm. Getting worked up often leads to clouded thinking, which could lend the way to making mistakes you normally wouldn’t.
While it’s easier said than done, here are a few ways to ease your test anxiety:
- Consider making your appointment early in the day. This way, you can get it done and minimize the time spent dwelling on what could go wrong.
- Utilize an independent, state-approved drivers license test provider. DMVs are notorious for being stressful and chaotic, while using an approved third party is often faster, more convenient, and less intimidating.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Being well-rested will help ensure you’re alert and focused.
- Arrive early. Rushing to make your appointment can create an unnecessary element of stress, so give yourself extra time to get there.
- If you’re taking the test at the DMV, double check that you have all required documents and fees with you. You don’t want to make it down there only to realize you can’t take the exam.
- Stay positive, and put things in perspective. While everyone wants to pass the first time, you can always retake it if you don’t. It’s not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
- If you do make a mistake during the exam, don’t panic, and avoid becoming too preoccupied with how your examiner is reacting. You don’t have to get a perfect score to pass, so just focus on doing well with the remaining part of the test.
- Avoid telling too many people. If the possibility of telling your friends and family members that you didn’t pass consumes your mind, only tell someone if it’s necessary, such as if he/she is giving you a ride or letting you use his/her car. This will take some of the pressure off.
- Eat a nutritious meal. Feeling hungry or dizzy can lead to feelings of anxiety and inhibit focus, so make sure you eat a healthy meal beforehand.
- Practice mindfulness exercises, or talk to someone about your anxiety. If your nerves go beyond normal jitters, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
Familiarize Yourself With Common Mistakes Made During the Drivers License Test
Learning what mistakes examiners observe the most can give you an idea of what areas to be extra mindful about. Common mistakes include:
- Being unsure of who has the right of way
- Having trouble maintaining the speed limit
- Failing to come to a complete stop
- Merging into someone else’s lane
- Failing to head-check or utilize the mirrors
- Braking suddenly
- Failing to keep two hands on the wheel
- Letting nerves take over
For more detailed information on this, visit our blog on common mistakes made during the drivers license exam.
At the end of the day, taking the license exam is an exciting event, but the lead-up to it can make anyone feel a bit anxious.
If you take the time to practice and prepare, as well as take steps to calm your nerves, you should have no issue obtaining your license and feeling the unmatched freedom of driving yourself down the road.
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Whether you’re looking for a convenient, friendly provider to take the drivers license test with, or you are wanting to enroll in a full Colorado drivers ed course, we can help!
With 12 locations and more than 75,000 student drivers successfully trained, we have the experience and the reach to provide you with exactly what you’re looking for.
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