When people first start learning to drive or on the day of their driving test they feel nervous some more than others, this is only natural as they don’t know what to expect or what the outcome will be. The majority of learner drivers then go on to pass their driving test. To be fair it wouldn’t be normal if you weren’t at least a little nervous before taking your test, but the DSA examiners are only expecting to see you drive as you would in a normal lesson. A lot of the current examiners are ex driving instructors themselves and therefore have taken pupils who were nervous to a driving test.

You should only take the driving test when your instructor says you are ready and he/she feels you are capable of passing it, therefore you already have one vote of confidence from someone who matters.

There are lots of different techniques and herbal remedies that are recommended to help you deal with test day nerves. Some of these are listed below:

  • Take your nerves by accepting them. Nerves can be positive. They tell the body to release adrenaline which helps keep you alert and focused. Use nerves to your advantage and they will increase your performance.
  • Turn the day to your advantage. When are you at your best? If you’re a morning person then make sure you book your driving test for a morning start. If it takes you until noon to “wake-up” make sure you book an afternoon test.
  • Never book a driving test during a time when you are feeling stressed.
  • Arrive at the driving test centre in plenty of time – at least 10 minutes before your test is due to start to allow time for a toilet break or to focus on the task ahead.
  • Be positive, don’t overthink the test and worry about negative outcomes. Focus on your successes in life, not your failure.

One recommended technique is 4-7-8 breathing. Breathing correctly can have a profound effect on the way you feel. It is widely considered to be the most effective and time-efficient relaxation method that exists.

The standard breathing relaxation method recommended for your natural breathing pattern is

  1. Breathe into your diaphragm, (the bottom of your stomach), not shallow chest breathing
  2. Inhale through the nose
  3. Exhale through the mouth
  4. Take longer to exhale than to inhale
  5. Slow your breathing down (less breaths-per-minute)

4-7-8 breathing

  1. Begin by slowly breathing in through your nose for a count of 4.
  2. Hold the breath for a count of 7.
  3. Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. When you exhale, try to make a soft whoosh sound by holding the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth (or lightly clench your teeth) as you exhale slowly.
  4. Repeat this process for three more times (for a total of four breaths.) Do not do more than four breaths at first – with practice, you can work your way up to eight breaths. Do this twice each day.

4-7-8 breathing shouldn’t be your natural breathing pattern but should be used to calm nerves and find a more relaxed state of mind at or before times of increased anxiety.

The herbal remedies that are currently recommended are Kalms or the Bach relax remedy which you can get as droplets, in sweet form or as chewing gum. It‚’s also a good idea to try some form of exercise before going out on the test like visiting your local gym or going for a walk or a jog to help settle your nerves.

Hypnotherapy Directory

Try this really helpful page on exam nerves.



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