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Techniques to Eliminate Driving Test Nerves

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 3 Nov 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
Driving Test Nerves Learners Nervous

A driving test can be one of the most nerve wracking experiences - and those nerves can start as soon as the test date is given. But there are certain techniques that can be used to help calm those driving test jitters.

Driving Test Nerves

Taking numerous lessons and the cost of driving test itself can take a financial toll on any learner. Failing a test due to nerves will mean additional tests and additional costs. Nerves are one issue that won’t usually be covered by the driving instructor but for many learners can actually mean the difference between pass and fail. For many learners, nerves usually come into play during the practical rather than the theory test. For nervous learners it may be beneficial to use some of the following techniques before and during the test.

Don’t Sit the Test if Unprepared

For many learners, especially young learners, the ultimate goal is receive their new driving licence as quickly as possible. Impatience can mean multiple resits and it will take longer to pass the test. Being fully prepared is one of the best ways to help combat nerves. Listen to the driving instructor; if he or she states that it’s too early for the test then take this as the voice of experience. Being fully prepared before a test will increase confidence levels and help to keep those nerves at bay.

Avoid Scare Stories from Other Drivers

Learners who announce that they are about to sit their test will soon hear numerous test scare stories and be given advice by others. Ignore the scare stories; many of these stories will be myths passed on from person to person and will do nothing to help calm nerves. Popular stories of driving examiners only passing so many learners per day should be discounted. Advice from long term drivers should also be avoided as many will have forgotten the exam standards and have their own driving habits. The only person a learner driver should listen to and take advice from is their driving instructor.

Medication and Food to Calm Driving Test Nerves

It is not unusual for extremely nervous drivers to be prescribed medication from a doctor before a driving test. Doctors can prescribe anxiety medication such as low dosage beta-blockers. There is over the counter medication available that is designed specifically to ease anxiety although this medication may not work for everyone. A natural way to help ease nerves is to eat a banana before the test. Eating a banana will not only increase serotonin levels but also help to calm the nerves due to the banana’s potassium and vitamin B content.

Visualisation and Breathing to Beat Nerves

Using visualisation before a driving test is a popular technique to help combat nerves and prepare for daunting tests. Simply imagining the test and trying out different driving manoeuvres regularly is actually preparing subconsciously for the test. Breathing exercises are also advised for those who are nervous, and the simple act of deep breathing to receive oxygen before and during a test can be beneficial. Focusing on inhalation and exhalation helps calm the nerves; some people actually use this technique to help fall asleep at night.

What to Avoid Before a Driving Test

Knowing what to avoid before and during a test will be just as beneficial when it comes to being calm and collected on the big day. This can include:

  • Smokers should avoid cigarettes before a test as this will actually increase the heart rate and calm nerves only momentarily
  • If taking any medication to calm nerves ensure that the medication does not cause drowsiness
  • Do not drink the night before the test; being hungover or smelling of alcohol may mean that examiner will cancel the test
  • Stop thinking of the driving test as a test; imagine you are simply driving a passenger to a destination and they are supplying the route
  • Do not turn up to the test centre late as this will only increase anxiety
  • Do not be disturbed by a driving examiner’s silence; they are simply concentrating on their job and the learner’s driving
  • Do not be put off by a driving error, this does not automatically mean the test has been failed

There is nothing wrong with a learner suffering from nerves before or during a driving test, this is completely natural. In fact not being a little nervous may mean that the learner is overly laid back about the test. Being fully prepared and taking advice from an instructor on whether or not to take the test will be beneficial. Using some of the techniques outlined above should also help give learners with excess nerves a fighting chance of test success.

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