Shortly before your test, eat a banana. It’s well-known among driving instructors as the driving test superfood, for the following reasons – bananas are full of B vitamins, which help calm the nerves. They contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into seratonin, the ‘happy hormone’ – which will keep your mood upbeat.
The most effective ways to combat driving test nerves
1. Tell yourself you’re ready
You wouldn’t be taking your driving test if you weren’t good enough to pass it. A good driving instructor won’t put you forward for your test until you’re at test standard. Knowing you’re just doing something you’ve done before many, many times before can really help. Embrace the power of Positive Thought!
2. Keep it a secret
Don’t tell everyone you’re taking your test. Keeping quiet about it takes some of the pressure off, so only tell the people you want or need to tell.
3. Don’t skip meals
Eating might be the last thing on your mind but without food, you haven’t the brain fuel you need for your test. Eating something before your test will help you concentrate. A full English isn’t necessary; a banana will do.
4. Pretend it’s a mock
The examiner may be in a hi-viz jacket and holding a clipboard but try to regard this as just another mock test. You’ll still put on your best performance but you’re less likely to panic about it all going wrong. Remember: no one is asking you to do anything you haven’t already done in your lessons.
5. Arrive at the test centre in good time and make sure your diary is free
Normally you should aim to get to the test centre about 15 minutes beforehand, so you’re not hurried or waiting too long, but during coronavirus the government says do not arrive more than five minutes before the appointment time. If you can, try to make sure it’s a day and a period in your life when you have no other stressful things happening.
6. Don’t do too much on test day
You’ve spent the last few days, weeks and months preparing for your test, so there’s no need to beat yourself up about parallel parking now. By all means, have a drive around beforehand, but don’t convince yourself you need to do the perfect turn in the road just before you get to the test centre.
7. Stay off the caffeine
You might think you need all the coffee in the world after being awake all night worrying but drinking too much caffeine before your test can make you feel more agitated and nervous. Instead, drink plenty of water or something naturally calming such as a camomile tea.
8. Go to the lavatory
We don’t have to elaborate, do we? Suffice to say, you don’t want any distractions during your test.
9. Remember, there’s no rush
Your driving test isn’t designed to determine how fast you can reverse around a corner. Take your time when it comes to the manoeuvres, and remember that you can always correct yourself. The examiner will want to make sure that you make the right checks and complete the manoeuvre safely, so take your time.
Remember the driving examiner isn’t the enemy.
The Chief Driving Examiner, even has some helpful advice.
“It’s normal to be nervous before your test, but if you’re properly prepared and your instructor thinks you’re ready, then there’s really no reason to worry.
“Your examiner’s not trying to catch you out; they just want to make sure that you can drive safely.”
If you fancy doing so, she says it’s OK to listen to the radio during your test — as long as it’s at a low volume and not a distraction. A piece of soothing music may be just the thing to calm your nerves.
“If it makes you more comfortable then it’s fine to listen to the radio. And there aren’t any rules against talking to the examiner – just make sure you keep your concentration.”