So many of my recent posts have been about people who were a) female, b) nervous
We do get males too! And yes, some of those are nervous as well, but it seems that our reputation is built upon giving people with little self belief what they need to become confident and competent drivers.
So congratulations to Dean, from Wallasey. I did something simple with Dean. I drew a line with “0” (never driven before) on one end and “100” (able to drive properly on your own) on the other. Then I wrote down a number (my honest appraisal of his ability) without letting him see it, and asked him where he thought he was on the scale. He put himself at somewhere around 35-40. I’d written 85. That vote of confidence made a big difference to him, and gave me an insight into his thoughts. Dean went on to get a first time pass, with only two minor faults.
Some people have a pretty good idea of how far along the process of learning they are. Their self perception matches my assessment of their ability.
Some people though, think they’re far better than they actually are, and when I get them to drive independently, they make a lot of mistakes, and have to re-evaluate their opinion. They can occasionally be the hardest people to teach, as they feel that they already know what they are doing, and are reluctant to take on board the changes I feel they need to make.
The flipside, of course, is that some people are actually a lot better than they think they are. When they’re given the chance to find they have the control and understanding they need, their confidence generally follows.
So it was with Emma, from Wallasey, who passed her test this morning. Emma came to us needing to pass her test quite quickly. She had a lot of experience, but was very nervous. I quickly found that she was actually a very good driver – someone who drove to a high standard as a matter of course. She was very worried about being tested, both for her theory test and her practical driving test. There were a few small issues to be resolved, but most of the work we did was aimed at getting her to do what she could do, when under pressure.
It worked beautifully. She was in tears during her pre-test lesson. I put a lot of space into that session, and did my best to reassure her that she was more than good enough, but she still approached it like it was a firing squad.
And then she went out on her test, and got on really well with the examiner, and came back, not just with a first time pass, but with just a single minor fault.
This is Lois, from Wallasey.
Lois had serious doubts about driving. She needed to, but didn’t think she’d be able to learn. She ended up coming to us for lessons because she’d searched online for “Lessons for nervous pupils”. She was originally taught by my colleague, Helen, but when Helen had to take a break from teaching for a month or two, she came to me, rather than go with a different school. Since I trained Helen, she got continuity in what and how she was being taught, and despite being nervous about meeting me, we got on really well, and after our first session, she had no further doubts. Lois passed on her second attempt. Those nerves meant she made one serious mistake on test day. She was unsure why she had failed, but after we took the same route on her next lesson, we were able to pinpoint exactly why she had picked up a serious fault – It wasn’t where she thought it had happened!
Lois passed comfortably after this. Her experience of doing a test before helped her to be a little bit calmer, although she didn’t eat anything on the morning of the test. Or sleep the night before.
This is Cassie from Wallasey.
Cassie took her test a good few years ago. It didn’t go well, and she put driving on hold for a long time. When I first met her, she was very nervous, and her opinion of her own abilities was a long way short of my assessment of her driving.
Over the weeks and months we were together, I put more and more responsibility into her hands, and pushed her gently into areas she found challenging. Hills. Roundabouts. Reversing.
Time after time she found she could do what was required, despite her doubts. That’s where confidence comes from. Feeling that you’re in control, and that you know what you’re doing.
Cassie expected the driving test itself to be very scary, but on the day, she found that she got on really well with the examiner (“Kev was lovely. He really put me at my ease” is what she said) and apart from a few minor things, she passed comfortably.
We have partnered with the Theory Test Pro website.
Anyone can use a limited version of this site, but as a Paul Sharp School of Motoring pupil, you can get access to the full site. It contains an extensive question set, and close to 50 practice hazard perception clips. It also allows us to monitor your progress, and to help you in areas where you’re struggling. This service is free to our pupils, but if you want or need more, we can do theory work in car.
The best advice we can give you about the theory test is…
Take it seriously! It’s not just common sense. Many of the questions you will be asked will require knowledge of the rules of the road. Knowing those rules will not only make it more likely that you will pass your test, they will help you to become a better driver too. The more self motivated revision you put in, the more your scores wlll improve.
The rules are changing. From June the 4th, learner drivers will be able to drive on motorways. This has to be with a qualified instructor, and it has to be in a dual controlled car. These limitations are exactly what I’d have suggested, and I agree both with the changes in the rules, and with the limitations that go with those changes.
We would like to make sure you’re at a reasonable standard before you do motorway driving, so if we’ve not met you before, please be aware that if we feel it wouldn’t be safe to get onto the motorway, we may have to spend a bit of time making sure you had both the control, the understanding, and enough confidence to do it without scaring anyone.
These lessons will be charged at our normal rate. Ideally either a 90 minute or 2 hour session.
The M53 is a brilliant resource for people wanting to learn how to drive on motorways. It’s big and wide, with freeflowing junctions, and apart from rush hour, is quite lightly used. Until you get towards Ellesmere Port anyway.
You’re driving down a road at 30 mph. Ahead of you, you see two squirrels chasing each other around a tree and the grass verge. Suddenly, first one then the other run across the road right in front of you.
This happened to my pupil the other day. She hit the brakes and stopped. It wasn’t the best thing to do, although apart from some raised adrenaline levels, nothing bad happened.
So what would you do?