Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) Test Part 3: The Ultimate Guide

Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) Test Part 3: The Ultimate Guide


If you are looking for a rewarding career path with a flexible work schedule and competitive wages, learning to become a driving instructor could be the perfect choice!

As part of your driving instructor training, you’ll build on advanced-level driving skills and develop an in-depth knowledge of the Highway Code, alongside learning how to teach beginners to safely navigate UK road systems.

Once qualified, driving tuition is one of the most rewarding careers out there. Learning to drive gives people invaluable freedom and independence, and you’ll be there every step of the way to watch their confidence grow.

Discover what it takes to become a driving instructor and find out more about the final step in your ADI tests below.

Becoming a driving instructor

The most common way that people become a driving instructor is by taking a specialist course. These courses are run by private organisations, so finding a reputable one is essential.

Bill Plant Driving School is a multi-award-winning driving instructor training school. We offer extensive driving instructor training courses that will help to prepare you for every aspect of driving instruction.

In order to become a driving instructor in the UK, you must:

  • Pass motor conviction checks
  • Pass background checks
  • Read a licence plate from at least 27.5m / 90 feet
  • Have held a full EU or UK driving licence for a minimum of 3 years
  • Be over 21

Potential driving instructors must possess good driving skills and road knowledge, and our course will help you improve these skills and also help with instructional improvement.

The road to becoming a driving instructor

The driving instructor training process

The driving instructor training process will help you to develop your existing skills. It will also help by providing the education and training resources required to pass the three ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) tests.

Driving instructor training is split into three parts. This allows you to focus and improve the required skills for each ADI examination. The first part of Bill Plant Driving School’s training course provides study materials and resources that will help you with the ADI Part 1 theory and hazard perception test.

The second part of the training course helps to improve your driving skills. This is essential for the ADI Part 2 practical driving test. You will also gain car maintenance knowledge in this section; this is essential for the ‘Show me, Tell me’ section of the test.

The third part of driving instructor training is the most intensive. It requires potential driving instructors (PDIs) to thoroughly demonstrate their ability to teach driving as an instructor. Due to the nature of this section of the exam process, many choose to take a trainee licence or PDI licence to hone their skills after completing 40 hours of part 3 training with an ADI.

During these training sessions, an expert will help to improve your instructional skills. After the  40 hours, you will have developed key skills to carry out your future role, including:

  • How to plan lessons
  • Core competencies
  • Risk management
  • Teaching and learning strategies

We have compiled detailed guides exploring what each part of the ADI test consists of. We recommend you read each of these to get a better understanding of what is required to become a driving instructor.

What is the ADI Part 3 test?

The ADI Part 3 test focuses solely on instructional ability, this is the part where you’ve already proven yourself as a competent driver and you have to apply your skills in a teaching environment. This is an essential part of becoming a driving instructor, as you must be able to properly teach your pupils to thrive in this profession.

Learner drivers require a knowledgeable instructor that can use effective teaching and learning strategies to help them pass their driving test.

The training you receive will help you to provide the information in a way that is easy for learner drivers to understand. This is important as they will often learn while driving. In order to ensure they can do this safely, a competent instructor is required.

Working under a trainee (PDI) licence

Between tests 2 and 3 of the driving instructor training journey, trainee instructors have the option to apply for a PDI licence, and work as a potential driving instructor for up to 6 months with real pupils. This gives you that all-important contact time with learner drivers, as well as the opportunity to earn money as a trainee instructor.

The experience gained in these six months is invaluable and will help to further develop your planning driving lessons and instructional skills. It will give you the opportunity to hone your teaching style and see how you can adapt it to suit certain students.

You do not have to apply for a trainee licence – you can go straight to the ADI Test Part 3, if you wish. However, many find it to be a beneficial experience. Your trainer should be able to help you make this decision, as well as give you top tips for passing your driving instructor test.

What does the ADI Part 3 test involve?

The ADI Part 3 test consists of the prospective instructor leading a real lesson. This can be with a real pupil or a full licence holder. The examiner will sit in the back of the car during this lesson.

During the test, the examiner marks you across 17 areas of competence that are split into three categories:

  • Lesson planning
  • Teaching and learning strategies
  • Risk management

During the test, you must provide the examiner with the lesson plan and introduce the pupil to them.

You will need to explain to your pupil that it is you who is being tested and not them. However, you should go over this outside the test centre before you begin and check if there is anything they are keen to go over in the lesson.

You should then conduct the lesson as planned. The examiner will be looking for you to deliver clear and concise instructions. The lesson must also be conducted as safely as possible.

After the lesson, you will need to debrief your pupil, and you will then be provided with your test results by the examiner.

You will be scored out of 51. Each competency will be scored from 0 to 3. If you score between 43 and 51, you will be awarded a Grade A; a score of between 31 and 42 will be awarded a Grade B; if you score anything below 31 out of 50 then you will not pass the test and, as such, will not be added to the register of approved driving instructors.

driving lesson safety

How to prepare for your ADI Part 3 test

You should prepare for your ADI Part 3 test by getting as much practice as possible. This can be done with real pupils, if you opt to work under a PDI licence, or you can role-play with friends and family at home. You should also take extra care when creating the lesson plan to ensure it a fully meets the needs of the pupil which will then allow you to demonstrate your teaching competence to the examiner. 

Take time to familiarise yourself with the test marking sheet, as it will show you exactly what you are being marked on. This will help you create your lesson plan and ensure you meet all of the required criteria.

Furthermore, learning the roads around the test centre will help ensure that you are able to plan ahead and provide accurate directions to your pupil. You should also always try to make a good first impression with your examiner. Making sure that your car is clean and that you are well-presented can help with this.

Plan ahead and ensure you have everything you need on hand. You can even plan role-play sessions prior to the test. If this is carried out around the area where you are taking your test it will also help you get used to the traffic conditions and any road disruptions.

During the test, you should appear in control and friendly. You want to put your pupil at ease and ensure you stick to the point when teaching them. Think about it this way, if you were nervous about a task and unsure of how to get it done, how would you want to be treated?

Finally, you can pick up on cues provided by the examiner. This may be checking mirrors or blindspots, reacting to anything they may ask and ensuring your pupil understands why a question may have been asked.

What is the average pass rate of the ADI Part 3 test?

Government statistics show that the pass rate for the Part 3 test in the year ending March 2022 was 35.3%.

This is the lowest pass rate of any ADI test. The highest pass rate is for the Part 2 practical driving test with 59.6%. The Part 1 theory test has a pass rate of 45.2%.

This highlights the need to take this section of the driving instructor test seriously and to prepare accordingly. While this pass rate looks low, it is still very manageable – and the final hurdle on your road to becoming an approved driving instructor.

What happens if you fail the ADI Part 3 test?

Don’t worry; failing the Part 3 test is not the end of the road for those that want to become driving instructors. You are allowed three attempts at the test. You will also have gained valuable experience and feedback from the senior examiner each time you take the test.

If you do fail three times, you will then have to resit all three ADI tests again. You would have to wait two years from your original pass date for the ADI part 1 test to reapply. You will also have the expense of retaking the tests.

Final thoughts

The ADI Part 3 test may be the toughest one to pass, but getting lots of practice and tuition from experts at the Bill Plant Driving School will put you in the best position to pass with flying colours when the big day arrives.

You will be able to gain valuable experience in teaching and learning strategies by applying for your trainee licence. This will also give you the opportunity to plan lessons and gain real-life instructing experience,  in a client-centred learning environment. 

Taking the time to evaluate a lesson structure and test it out in a real driving lesson before taking the ADI Part 3 driving tests can be helpful.

Once you’ve passed this, you’re free to start working and earning as a fully qualified driving instructor!

Take your driving instructor training up a gear by joining an award-winning franchise like Bill Plant Driving School. Explore our range of flexible, affordable training programs with guaranteed franchise invitations upon successful completion.

FAQs about the ADI Test Part 3

How much does the ADI Part 3 test cost?

The ADI Part 3 test costs £111. This amount is the same as the ADI test Part 2 and is set by the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency).

What kind of car can I sit the ADI Part 3 test in?

The criteria for a car used for the ADI Part 3 test states it must:

  • Be fully taxed
  • Have a valid MOT
  • Be insured
  • Be roadworthy
  • Be an estate, saloon, or hatchback
  • Have working seatbelts and full-sized back seat
  • Have an adjustable head restraint and driver’s seat
  • Display L-plates

Is lesson planning part of the ADI Part 3 test of instructional ability?

Lesson planning is a vital part of the third part of the ADI test. You must create a well-structured lesson that can be delivered safely. Risk management is also an important part of the test. Being well prepared can help to mitigate risks on the road.

How long is the ADI Part 3 test?

The ADI Part 3 test is typically around 1 hour long and consists of a full driving lesson with your pupil.