Test day nerves are natural: you’ve put in a lot of time, effort and money to get to this stage and you want to pass your test, but are your nerves going to scupper your chances?
You’ve put in the miles with your driving instructor.
You’ve read every book available for your theory test.
Now, test day is here, and the butterflies are kicking in.
So, how do you get rid of driving test nerves or use it to your benefit?
1. Eat light, stay hydrated and go for a walk.
You’ve most likely heard many driving instructors, friends and family telling you to eat a banana for breakfast on the day of your driving test.
And there’s some evidence behind the claim.
Bananas are full of B Vitamins and contain tryptophan, which your body converts into serotonin, also known as “the happy hormone”.
Hydration is vital too as it will help maximise your focus during your test.
On the flip side, dehydration causes tiredness, affects concentration and alertness as well as causing headaches.
Avoid your usual cup of coffee on the morning of your test; caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it can make you need to go to the toilet a lot more frequently.
New Driver’s Stephen Savage says exercise can also help. “Go for a walk on the day of your driving test too to calm yourself in advance.”
He added, “Walking has been proved time and again in research to help improve your mood, balance and coordination.”
2. Be prepared.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
And although you don’t need an axe to pass your driving test, you need to be methodical in your preparation.
On the day of your test, make sure you have all of your documents prepared.
It’s such a simple thing yet a lot of Irish drivers arrive at their test having forgotten essential documents.
Read the Road Safety Authority’s helpful ‘Checklist for your driving test’ guide.
3. Arrive early to the test centre.
American author Lemony Snicket said, “Morning is an important time of day because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
And you can get rid of a lot of test day nerves by merely arriving at the test centre early.
This means you aren’t fretting in a traffic jam or frantically searching for documents minutes before your test is due to start.
Arriving at the test centre early gives you time to gather your thoughts, settle yourself and observe your surroundings.
Check out the full list of DVA Test Centres here so that you can work out how long it will take you to get to the test centre.
4. Don’t over-analyse mistakes during your test.
“Oh that’s it, I have definitely failed after doing that!”
It’s surprising how many times people who pass their test recount the above, assuming they’ve failed.
The only way you’ll know for sure you’ve failed after a mistake is if your examiner asks you to return to the test centre if you’ve made a serious or dangerous mistake.
If not, quickly forget about mistakes and focus on what comes next in your test.
For more learner driver advice see our getting started section, theory test help or practical test help to get you started. We also offer advice on buying a car, explain different insurance types and tips on staying safe.