Driving Examiner’s Marking Sheet

A driving examiner’s marking sheet is no longer an actual sheet. They now use iPads to record everything that happens on a driving test. Although on rare occasions, they may still conduct a test using a paper form if there is a technical problem with the device.

driving examiner's marking sheetYou won’t be able to see the screen of the iPad while you are driving. So don’t be tempted to try and look down at it. There is a privacy screen which prevents you from seeing the display from an angle. This is for safety reasons, as the screen could prove an unwanted distraction for you.

What does the ‘driving examiner’s marking sheet’ contain?

The first thing you will see is a declaration which you must read and sign. The wording is a bit confusing, but all you are signing for is to say that the vehicle you are using is insured for the test. You also need to confirm that you have lived in the UK for at least 185 days during the past year.

Your examiner will then move onto the next screen. This will bring up a photo of you which they will compare to the one on your driving licence, in addition to making sure that it’s a true likeness of you.

Following that, you will see another screen on which you must confirm that your email address is correct. This is the address at which you will receive your test report. If you prefer however, you can choose to have your report sent through the post.

The Marking Begins

On the way to your car, and when the examiner first get in, they will make a few notes on the iPad. These are just basic details including:

Before you set off, the examiner will bring up the marking sheet on the screen, ready for them to make notes on your driving. You should not allow yourself to be distracted by anything they do on the screen while you are driving. Sometimes, they will simply be ticking a box to record that you have completed a manoeuvre, or that you have completed one of the required stops. It does not necessarily mean that you have made a mistake.

There are several areas that the examiner will assess during your drive. Most of these are broken down into sub sections. The following will show you what these are, including a brief description of some of the things that they are looking for.

Manoeuvres:

  • reverse right
  • reverse park (road)
  • reverse park (car park)
  • forward park

For all of these, the questions are – do you carry out the required exercise with reasonable accuracy and control? And also, do you take proper observation all around the vehicle? If someone else approaches who you may affect, do you react safely?

Vehicle check

You will need to demonstrate the use of one ancillary control whilst on the move. Typically you may need to wash the windscreen for instance, or to turn on the rear screen heater. They will assess whether you know how to operate the control, and to see that you do not lose control of the vehicle whilst doing so.

Controlled stop

This is only carried in one third of driving tests. When carrying out the ‘emergency stop’, the examiner will be looking for a quick response. And also that you can stop the car quickly without causing a skid.

Control:

  • accelerator
  • clutch
  • gears
  • footbrake
  • parking brake
  • steering

You should know how and when to use each control, and operate them reasonably smoothly. Your assessor will look at any loss of control and decide whether or not this could seriously affect another road user. Also, they will check to see if any faults are repeated and become a pattern of your driving. The driving examiner’s marking sheet will automatically add up faults marked in the same area.

Precautions

This would only be looked at if you fail to secure the vehicle properly before starting the engine. Particularly if you should cause the car to jerk forward by starting it when in gear.

Ancillary controls

See, Vehicle check.

Move off:

  • safety
  • control

Several times throughout the test, the examiner will ask you to pull up on the left. When you move again, they will assess whether you can pull away without rolling back or stalling. Also, they will check to see that you take proper observation, and that you can move off without causing others to brake or change direction.

Use of mirrors:

  • signalling
  • change direction
  • change speed

Mirrors are one of the most important aspects of safe driving. But it is not just about looking at them. You must use them at the right time, and more importantly you must act safely on what you see. Your examiner will be watching you carefully throughout the test to ensure that you are not only checking mirrors, but exercising sound judgement.

Signals

  • necessary
  • correctly
  • timed

You need to satisfy your observer, that you know when, and also when not to give signals. Sometimes excessive signalling can do more harm than good. So be careful not to give unnecessary signals which may mislead. Any signal you do give, should in good time, but not so early that they cause confusion.

Junctions

  • approach speed
  • observation
  • turning right
  • turning left
  • cutting corners

Many test failures are as a result of candidates showing poor judgment at junctions. Your assessment here will include making sure that you don’t approach too fast, in addition to checking your position. Whether you are turning left or right, you should take up your position in reasonable time. You also need to ensure that you don’t needlessly obstruct other drivers by being in the wrong position or lane.

When emerging from junctions, good observation means checking effectively in all directions. Also, when you decide to set off, your priority is to accurately judge the speed and distance of any approaching vehicles. If you cause others to change speed or direction when you emerge, then you will probably earn a fault.

Judgement:

  • overtaking
  • meeting
  • crossing

It is unlikely that you will overtake anything other than a cyclist or horse rider during your test. When you do this however, you must be careful to give the rider plenty of clearance. Also, be aware that you do not cut in too soon after passing.

Meeting is when you have a road narrowed, probably by parked cars, and oncoming traffic. You should approach such situations at the right kind of speed, and know when to give way. If you do have to wait for oncoming drivers, ensure that you react in good time and leave them enough space to safely pass.

When turning right at junctions, you may be crossing the path of oncoming traffic. You need to judge their speed and distance, and be able to cross their path safely. It is particularly important to look out for cyclists in this situation. Larger vehicles can often hide them from view.

Positioning:

  • normal driving
  • lane discipline

Your examiner will watch to see that you are careful not to obstruct others by thoughtless positioning. If there are lanes marked then you should keep between the lines of those lanes. You should also keep to the left during normal driving (but not in the gutter!). You may sometimes encounter a bus lane, if the signs tell you that it is not currently in use, then that is where you should be driving.

pedestrian crossingsPedestrian crossings

These include all types of crossings, zebra crossings and those controlled by lights. When approaching any type of crossing, your approach speed should enable you to stop comfortably should you need to. You must give way to anyone on a zebra crossing, and react correctly to any pedestrian controlled lights. When in queueing traffic, be careful not to stop on and block a crossing.

Position / normal stop

The examiner will ask you to stop several times. When you pull up, think about your position. Avoid stopping anywhere where you would needlessly narrow the road, or block someone from emerging from a junctions. In addition, look out for any signs or road marking to ensure that you are not breaking any rules.

Awareness planning

There is often a lot going on around you when you are driving, but you do need to be aware of your surroundings. Look well ahead, and plan your driving so that you are not taken by surprise. Try to anticipate what other people are going do. This includes all road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. Watch out for them, think about what they may be about to do, and make allowances for this.

Clearance

When passing stationary obstructions such as parked cars, you should try to give them clearance of an open car door. When you can’t do this, either stop or slow down before going through. Your examiner will take into account both speed and distance when assessing your safety here.

Following distance

Always stay far enough back from other vehicles so that you can stop safely should they brake or stop. This is particularly important in bad weather when stopping distances will increase. If you intend to overtake a cyclist or horse rider but can’t immediately get past, follow at a safe distance until you can.

Use of speed

The Highway Code says, always drive at a speed that enables you to stop within the distance you can see is clear. You must assess each situation and drive at a speed which leaves you time to react safely. You must also be aware of the speed limit for the roads you are driving on.

Progress:

  • appropriate speed
  • undue hesitation

The driving examiner’s marking sheet has two boxes for assessing progress. Although you should show caution with your speed; you should also avoid driving unnecessarily slowly. The marking for this would be heavier on roads where you are likely to hinder and frustrate other drivers.

When moving on from situations where you have stopped, again you should show caution but not hesitation. There is a difference. It’s a case of missing a gap where you could have gone, to missing one where you should have gone. More often than not, this fault would appear at junctions.

signs and signalsResponse to signs / signals

  • traffic signs
  • road markings
  • traffic lights
  • traffic controllers
  • other road users

Reacting late to traffic signs may attract a driving (minor) fault; but fail to react at all and it is more likely to be serious. For instance, if you don’t come to a halt at a stop sign, or you try to drive through a no-entry sign.

Road marking faults are also often serious errors. These are mistakes such as blocking a yellow box junction or keep clear marking. They also, include errors such as needlessly crossing solid white lines, or driving ahead from a lane marked with a left turn only arrow.

Similar to traffic signs, you may get away with a late reaction to traffic lights (unless you are very late). But serious errors will result from not moving on at a green light when safe, or through not reacting to a stop light.

The only traffic controllers you are likely to meet are school crossing patrols. If you see one holding up the stop sign then you must obey this. And they do not need to be stood in the middle of the road!

Responding to the signals of other road users, in a way could come under the ‘awareness & planning’ heading. However, it is when someone indicates to change position or stop that this would occur. One of the most common is when bus drivers stop or start to pull out. Make sure that you are aware of their signals and be ready to go past or give way, whichever is appropriate.

For much more detailed advice about the driving examiner’s marking sheet, including how faults are assessed, see The Driving Test & How to Pass.

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