I Passed!!!

You are looking at the ecstatic face of someone who just passed their UK driving test! I’m now a licensed manual car driver in the UK and I couldn’t be happier!!

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The journey to get to this point has been a long one. I took my first manual driving lessons in the UK back in August 2011. Back then, I was splitting my time between the US and UK and hadn’t officially moved here as a UK resident. It was a stressful period of my life and learning to drive a new type of car on the other side of the road was just too much. The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth and made me lose a lot of confidence in my driving.

Last Spring, I decided it was time to work on getting my license again. The first step to doing so in the UK is to pass the Theory Test. The Theory Test is a written exam with multiple choice questions and a hazard perception section that requires you to identify road hazards while watching a series of videos. I studied like crazy for a few weeks and was able to pass the test on my first try in May.

After the Theory Test, you need to pass a Practical Driving Test which is a 40 minute drive with an examiner. The test includes questions about car maintenance and at least one maneuver like parallel parking, a three point turn, reversing into a parking space, or reversing around a corner. The Practical Test is notoriously challenging and many people need to take it several times. Needless to say, it was a pretty daunting prospect and I found it easy to put off that part of the process.

Finally in February this year, I was ready to start driving lessons again. I lucked out this time around and was assigned a wonderful instructor named Jon. He was patient and really helped me feel more confident on the road. After my first lesson, he told me I should go ahead and book my test since there is usually about a month lead time. So I booked today’s test date and started the preparations!

On the weekends, Peter and I went out practicing and one evening a week I had a lesson with Jon. During that time, my driving was all over the place. Sometimes I’d be great, other times it was a really rocky ride. Even last night, I had a two hour lesson to smooth out the minor issues and just practice more.

Going into today’s test, I knew I could pass it if I kept my nerves at bay and demonstrated everything I was taught. It was a stressful experience but it all ended so well! I’m absolutely thrilled to have accomplished this huge step toward becoming even more ingrained in life here in the UK – not to mention the freedom I know have. Woohoo!!

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