The first thing to remember is: Nerves are not necessarily a bad thing.
For the driving test, a bit of nervousness can help your performance. Any actor or performer, or anyone in a high-stress job, will tell you that some amount of adrenaline helps them achieve good results.
Being too laid-back appear to be over-confident, and this will not impress the examiner.
Too much nervousness, however, will lead to the “fright or flight” reaction, a known physiological reaction, a legacy that reminds us humans are also animals. This can lead to among other things, sweaty palms, increased heart-rate, loss of concentration, physical discomfort and a host of other symptoms. These are not helpful.
So: how can you keep your nerves at a controllable level?
Be prepared: this means not just “know your stuff”, but also think about how you are going to deal with any nerves.
Cast your mind back to other exams, the ones you failed, the ones you passed. How did you control/fail to control your nerves on those occasions? If you haven’t taken any written exams, think of other stressful situations and how you dealt with them.
Try deep breathing. Concentration on the simple action of breathing in and out not only increases the oxygen to your brain, but also helps you think about something else other than the ordeal ahead. Be careful not to “hyperventilate”! Incidentally, having a cigarette will only increase your heart rate – the “calmness” that smokers claim they feel is more to do with the action of smoking, not the nicotine.
Visualize success Some people find that imagining a successful result will make this a reality. Try not to let thought of failure slip in – even if you’ve had a nightmare. Thinking it so won’t always make it so, but it goes a very long way.
And remember, you can always talk to us at Smart Driving School – we are very experienced and have lots of sympathy!
the driving test is not a job interview or personality test.
Make sure you are confident enough to take the test and have enough lessons. Your Smart Driving School instructor will advise you this. Arrange to take a mock driving test as near to the test date as you can. Your driving instructor understands and can tell the difference between silly mistakes made under stress and genuine problems that need to be solved and will tackle both.
Choose a test date which suits you: If you’ve booked a test date and something else more stressful crops in your life, change it. Yes, learning to drive is important and a wonderful achievement, but if another part of your life has gone topsy-turvy, the chances are you won’t be able to concentrate.
Wear comfortable clothes: Look smart and neat, but do wear something comfortable. You don’t want to be distracted by shoes that pinch or a jacket with tight underarms. If you are going to sweat, try wear cooler clothes for the time of the year – and to much make-up!
Don’t be put off by an unchatty examiner: He or she is concentrating on the job in hand. Not responding to your attempts at conversation (and if you’re nervous, it will probably only be meaningless babble anyway) is not unfriendliness, its professionalism. Adopt a similar professional attitude and you’ll get fine. Examiners are human, even when they are testing you!
Try not to put off by a mistake: Many people have made a minor error in the stress of the moment. If the driving examiner can see this for what it is, and you correct it immediately, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve failed, Take a breath and continue.
MEDICATION AND OTHER DRUGS:
Alcohol: We all know the drink-driving rules, but, if you are a drinker, don’t be tempted to have a few to help you sleep the night before. Not only could you still be over the limit, but the driving examiner smells the slightest whiff of alcohol on your breath (or from your pores), the chances are you won’t be allowed to sit the test. If you have even slight hangover, you’re hardly going to perform at your best, and its probably better to cancel the test anyway.
Medication There are many herbal and prescription drugs to deal with “nerves”. These are not to be recommended, especially if you have ever used them before. And anyway, the lessons you learn about how to control nerves the “natural” way are good practice for the driving test.