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How to Pass Your Driving Instructor Test: Top Tips

Driving test

To become a driving instructor, you must demonstrate excellent road safety knowledge, driving skills, and the ability to teach and provide clear instructions to learner drivers

The DVSA ADI (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor) test is designed to ensure potential new driving instructors have the skills and knowledge to help learners become proficient enough to pass both their theory and practical driving tests.

This article will explore the three DVSA driving tests that prospective new instructors need to pass, what they include, and tips on the best ways to pass them.

The Three DVSA Tests

Three assessments make up the overall DVSA ADI test, including a theory and hazard perception examination and a practical driving test. These are similar to the tests that learner instructors must pass to obtain a UK driving licence, but they are assessed at a more challenging level.

In addition to the advanced driving and theory and hazard test, there is an instructional ability test to assess the candidate’s suitability for the role of a driving instructor.

Test One – Theory and Hazard Perception

The theory and hazard perception test, otherwise known as the ADI Part 1 test, is usually carried out at a designated test centre and comprises two sections. Trainees have unlimited attempts.

How does the DVSA ADI Part 1 test work?

The test will be split into two portions, with the first  a multiple choice question section, and the second  a review section of a selection of CGI video clips where you will have to identify developing hazards.

Theory test

There will be 100 multiple-choice questions during the theory portion of the test. This is further split into four sections, each containing 25 questions. These include;

  • Band 1 – Road procedure.
  • Band 2 – Traffic signs, signals, pedestrians, mechanical knowledge, and car control.
  • Band 3 – The law, disabilities, and the driving test.
  • Band 4 – Instructional techniques and publications.

During the test, you will have the opportunity to go back and change any answers you’ve already added. You will also be able to flag any questions you might want to return to later.

Candidates must complete the test within the 1 hour and 30-minute time limit.

To pass, you must get a minimum of 85% of the questions correct, and each band requires a minimum of 20 questions to be answered correctly.

This means it is possible to achieve a score of 85% or more and still fail by getting fewer than 20 questions correct in any given band.

Hazard perception

The hazard perception test contains 13 video clips of everyday driving scenarios, each containing a developing hazard. One additional clip will contain two developing hazards.

Points are awarded for clicking the mouse when you see the hazard developing. Trainee instructors can get a maximum of 5 points for each developing hazard they identify, with the highest score awarded for clicking as soon as the hazard begins to develop, with the score dropping as time continues.

Clicking at the wrong time does not incur a loss of points. However, continuous clicking or clicking in patterns to try and cheat the system will be penalised.

You will not have the opportunity to change or review your responses to the hazard perception clips.

Those taking the assessment will  pass if they achieve a minimum of 57 points out of 75. This scoring system is significantly higher than hazard perception tests for ordinary learner drivers.

How to prepare for the DVSA ADI Theory and Hazard Perception test

Preparing for the multiple choice theory section of your test can be straightforward with the right level of application and support. Reading materials such as ‘Qualified’, written by our Head of Training, Peter Brabin, the Highway Code, traffic signs, the official DVSA Guide to Driving, and The Driving Instructor’s Handbook will help.

Additionally, you should also undertake some practice using online resources that include official DVSA questions and CGI hazard perception clips, alongside taking mock tests to understand the types of multiple choice questions andtheir wording. Using these resources, alongside the support of a subject matter expert, can be a great way to learn how to pass these driving instructor test questions.

Fully understanding how the hazard perception test works is essential to scoring well. Using the online resources available with Bill Plant Driving School will also benefit you.

Tips on how to pass the DVSA ADI Theory and Hazard Perception test

Studying hard and practising are the best ways to pass the theory test. Ensuring you understand the source material by studying the books we’ve advised and practising mock test questions using the online e-learning platform we provide as part of our training courses will help you understand the types of questions to expect. Being well-prepared will improve your confidence and put you in the right mindset to tackle the test.

Flagging questions you are unsure of is an excellent way of making sure that you don’t run out of time before you have had a chance to answer everything. Always go through the test with the mindset to answer the ones you know, then go back to the ones you have left unanswered or flagged because you are not 100% sure. 

Take your time answering multiple-choice questions. Ensure you have read and understood the question before answering and use a process of elimination to reduce the number of potential options. 

Often you’ll find several of the potential answers to be clearly incorrect or improbable, and so by removing these from the get go, you’ll increase your chances of picking the right choice. You will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the test, which is typically long enough for most candidates.

The best technique to adopt during the hazard perception test is to click a couple of  times for each hazard. As we mentioned, continuous clicking will be penalised but clicking when you first see  the hazard developing alongside when you might start to change your speed or direction, will give you a good chance of landing within the right place.

Test Two – Driving Ability

The driving ability test, otherwise known as the ADI Part 2 test,is a practical driving assessment similar to your typical practical driving test, but the standards will be at a significantly advanced level and the room for error much lower.

You must take your driving licence and your pass certificate from the ADI Part 1 test with you.

You can use your own car as long as it has a valid MOT, is taxed, and insured. The vehicle must be in good working order, be right-hand drive, and be an estate, hatchback, or saloon car. It can be either an automatic or manual transmission vehicle.

The examiner will give you your test result at the end of the test and you are allowed up to six faults. Exceeding this will result in failure, and you are allowed a total of three attempts.

How does the DVSA ADI Driving Ability test work?

The test will typically last for around one hour and consists of the following:

Eye check – Wearing glasses or contacts if needed, the trainee will need to clearly read a new style number plate from 26.5 m, or 27.5 m if it is one of the old style number plates. Failure to complete this will result in an instant failure.

Safety questions – You will be questioned about safety checks on three of the vehicle’s components before driving, known as ‘Show me’ questions, and a further two, known as ‘Tell me’ questions after you begin.

Driving ability test – You must demonstrate a high standard of driving skills and show your ability to drive in a professional business-like manner. You must demonstrate that you are a competent driver in various conditions.

You will be tested on all of the following by your examiner;

  • Car control handling
  • Road procedures
  • The anticipation and reaction of other road users
  • Judgement of timing, speed, and distance
  • Considerate and safe driving in regard to other road users and pedestrians
  • Environmentally friendly and efficient driving

Manoeuvres – You will be expected to perform two of the following manoeuvres while carrying out the relevant effective observations, alongside a possible Emergency Stop:

  • Parallel parking
  • Reversing into parking bays and driving out
  • Driving into parking bays and reversing out
  • Pulling up to the road’s right-hand side, reversing for around two car lengths, and rejoining traffic

Independent driving – The independent driving section of the test will require you to follow road signs or sat nav instructions set by the examiner for 20 minutes.

Going off route by accident will only affect the overall test result if you make no faults.

How to prepare for the DVSA ADI Driving Ability test

Bill Plant Driving School provides expert driving instructor training that includes 10 hours of in-car tuition to improve driving skills and weed out bad habits.

The training will also include the ‘Show me, Tell me’ questions around car maintenance that will be part of the test.

Tips on how to pass the DVSA ADI Driving Ability test

Practising before taking your ADI Part 2 test by focusing on your driving ability is essential. There is no substitute for in-car training for this part of the qualification process. Practising in the area around the driving test centre will help you understand the roads, which can be helpful in making you feel more prepared when it comes to driving in the actual test.

Refresher driving lessons are beneficial in helping to improve anticipation and awareness, ironing out the common mistakes that result in faults during a driving test, and maximising existing skills to ensure you drive to a high standard. Many of our trainers offer mock ADI Part 2 assessments.

Test Three – Instructional Ability

The ADI Part 3 exam tests your ability to demonstrate your instructional abilities. As well as being able to drive to a high standard, you must be competent at passing your knowledge on to your pupils and instructing them using a client centred approach.

How does the DVSA ADI Instructional Ability test work?

The test is carried out by delivering an actual 45 minute lesson with a learner driver, withthe examiner sitting in on this.

Trainee instructors are marked against 17 lower level competencies, which together make up the 3 main areas of competence: 

  • Lesson Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Teaching and Learning Strategies

You must take your driving licence and the pass certificate from your ADI Part 2 test.

The car must be fully insured, and you will also have to bring the pupil.

The same car criteria is required from the ADI Part 2 test and the necessity for full-sized back seats with fully working seat belts, L-plates, and an adjustable driver’s seat with heat restraint.

During the test, you should provide the examiner with an appropriate lesson plan and subject that is suitable for your selected student’s level of ability. The lesson should thereafter be conducted appropriately , adapting where necessary. You must demonstrate you can give clear and concise directions and, by the end of the session, show that learning has taken place using a client centred approach. 

Throughout the assessment, which must not be with a complete beginner or a static lesson (i.e. a session on car controls),  you must ensure risk/responsibility is transferred effectively between instructor and pupil to ensure safety for all parties.  After the lesson, you will debrief your pupil for roughly five minutes, reviewing the driving lesson and any key points.

You will be graded out of 51 and must achieve from 31 to 42 for a Grade B pass and from 43 to 51 for a Grade A pass. You will have 3 attempts at the ADI Part 3 test.

How to prepare for the DVSA ADI Instructional Ability test

Take time to study the brief of the ADI part 3 and use your lessons with pupils to practice.

With Bill Plant Driving School, an Official Registered Driving Instructor Training (ORDIT) registered establishment,  you will benefit from up to 42 hours of expert training for this part of the test. This will help you ace the main areas of competence, lesson planning, risk management, and teaching and learning strategies, alongside the core competencies (fault identification, analysis and rectification).

Tips on how to pass the DVSA ADI Instructional Ability test

Preparing your lesson plan well in advance and ensuring good communication with your pupil is essential to passing the ADI Part 3 test.

It is wise not to book other lessons on the day of the practical test so you can fully concentrate on the assessment Picking the right pupil, who is engaged enough to communicate with you and demonstrate learning, but is not too advanced such that they don’t come away with new skills or knowledge, is critical.

Planning suitable training circuits for the lesson plan you are preparing will help to eliminate any surprises and help you to find suitable areas for the lesson. Finally, statistically, the single biggest reason trainees fail this part of the qualification process is because they fail to adapt while delivering a lesson. If your student makes an error, or if road traffic prevents you from getting sufficient practise on the roundabouts you were trying to reach, you should always look to tweak your lesson plan accordingly.

Preparing for a Driving Instructor Test with Bill Plant Driving School

Becoming a fully qualified driving instructor takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

Taking a high-quality driving instructor course with Bill Plant Driving School will help you build your skills and give you all the tools you need to become an effective driving instructor after passing your driving instructor tests.

The advanced tests you will need to pass can be difficult, so getting the best training is essential to ensure you pass. Contact us today via [email protected], or use our handy contact form to get more information on how to ace those tests!


Are driving instructor courses expensive?

The cost of driving instructor training courses differs between companies. Bill Plant Driving School strives to offer competitive rates that make training courses accessible to more people.

How much do the driving instructor tests cost?

The cost of the ADI Part 1 test is £81. ADI Part 2 and Part 3 tests cost £111 each.

Aside from the cost of the tests themselves, you will also have to factor in the general running costs of your vehicle to make sure that it is equipped to meet the standards set by the DVSA ADI if you are using your own.

How long does it take to become a fully qualified driving instructor?

It typically takes between 6 and 12 months to become a driving instructor, which depends on whether you are working other jobs and how much time you can dedicate to training and driving lessons.Intensive training courses and pass-plus training courses are also available to improve skills and speed up the process.