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#1 27-06-13 22:43:47

Freedomseeker
Member
Registered: 27-06-13
Posts: 2

Disappointed

Hello. I have just failed my driving test (first attempt) and I am feeling completely deflated. I've started learning 2 years ago and had 2 driving instructors. The first one gave up on me after 3 months because I couldn't get the steering right and I struggled with roundabouts. He told me I should give up driving as he was a highly qualified instructor and if he had run out of options to make me overcome my weaknesses then so would anyone else.

My self-esteem hit rock bottom as a result and I decided not to drive again for a year. Eventually I made up my mind to go back to driving and I found a new instructor with a better attitude and more enthusiasm. We worked hard on my weaknesses and I have eventually managed to overcome my fear of roundabounts. There were loads more areas for improvement, I had a serious problem with direction/orientation and would as a result misunderstand simple instructions. But my willingness to learn and his determination have helped me achieve great milestones and I went from being terrified on the road and hating driving to enjoying and looking forward to my lessons. He was very focused on the roads and roundabounts and has consequently neglected the manoeuvres. We probably spent 2 hours on manoeuvres out of 45 hours. He kept telling me not to worry and that these are easy and we shouldn't waste too much on them. After 9 months driving I was really keen to sit on the test and he hasn't tried to stop me. We did intensify the lessons on the week before the test but when we tried the manoeuvres I struggled massively. Reversing around the corner was an absolute disaster. We kept trying and trying but there was no variety in his way of teaching. He only had one technique which I clearly wasn't getting and that was frustrating. I watched some online videos which demonstrated several ways and found them a lot easier to grasp. On the way to the test I tried again the manoeuvres and kept failing them. I didn't feel confident at all and was a ball of nerves by the time we got to the centre. My examiner was a nice guy which should have helped except it didn't. I made several minor mistakes but kept hoping I'd make it. We did 10 minutes of independant driving which went brilliantly well. I was in my element and felt very confident. We then got to a quiet residential road, up on a hill and that's where he asked me to perform a manoeuvre which was, yes you guessed it, reverse around a corner!! I usually get it wrong on normal roads, let alone on a hill. Anyway, it was so bad I am not going to get into the embarrassing details. I knew instantly I had failed but had to carry on which was a complete agony. On the way back, I had to drive through a dual carriegeway and I forgot to increase the speed so kept driving at 40. This actually happened twice. It was such a relief when we got to the center as I was so embarrassed I just wanted to get out of the car and run away. I failed with 2 majors (manoeuvre and speed) and 17 minors so would have failed even if I had no majors. His last word was that I wasn't ready for the test.

I feel demotivated, angry and don't know what do. I know I don't want to give up this time as I worked so hard and spent so much money and time it would be stupid to throw it all, but I don't want to spend another 30 hours on lessons. I am tempted to change instructors again but I don't know if this is a good idea. I have gotten used to driving the same car and it would feel weird driving a new car and getting used to it. Plus I would need several lessons before the new instructor gets to know my strenghts and weaknesses..at the same time I am not sure I want to see my current instructor again. It's a real dilemma and I would hugely appreciate some advice or suggestions.

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27-06-13 22:43:47

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Re: Disappointed




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#2 28-06-13 06:09:22

ExAdiNigel
Member
From: Plymouth, Devon
Registered: 13-12-04
Posts: 4,739

Re: Disappointed

Freedomseeker wrote:

He told me I should give up driving as he was a highly qualified instructor and if he had run out of options to make me overcome my weaknesses then so would anyone else.

Jeez!  It makes me so annoyed when people find it hard to accept responsibility and try to put the blame onto someone else!  Your first instructor was, in my opinion, VERY wrong to have told you this.  What had really happened was that he was unable to come up with a method that would work for you!  When I was instructing I had one pupil that took nearly 2 years, she would put in loads of effort but some things we struggled on, especially left reverse.  In teh end, since I wasn't managing to get that bit sorted, we arranged for her to have a couple of lessons with another instructor on left reverse.  It worked!  She came back to a lesson with me very excited and wanting to show me she had cracked it - she had!

It sounds as if your second instructor was a lot better though, with hindsight, maybe he should have suggested you delay teh test until you were comfortable with the manoeuvres.  he seemed to be far better suited to helping YOU than the first one though.

Where are you based?  Is there an instructor on here that may be able to help?

Do you have access to a car so that you can have private practise too?


National Standards Cycling Instructor, Ex Adi

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#3 28-06-13 06:43:09

Evan
Administrator
Registered: 27-12-09
Posts: 2,058

Re: Disappointed

The most important qualities a pupil needs to bring into the car is enthusiasm and commitment, if you add self belief then you are on a winner. You seem to have these qualities so that's a plus.

Agree with Nigel's comments above. With regards to your initial problems with steering this is something a lot of students struggle with, also the fear of roundabouts, but practice makes perfect.

Be assertive with your instructor tell him/her what you want to work on. Write down on a piece of paper every week what you need to get done and tick them off as you feel happy with them.

A lot of instructors fall short on lessons because they tell rather than ask their pupils what they feel they need to work on.

Remember to focus on what you are doing well, too many pupils just look at the weaknesses in their drive and this can create a negative feeling about everything. If you analyse your lessons you will find you are getting more things right than wrong.

With regards to failing your first test, ok it was disappointing but grit your teeth and make sure you crack it next time.

Good luck.

Last edited by Evan (28-06-13 06:49:44)

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#4 28-06-13 06:51:49

kaf
Verified Member
From: Wiltshire
Registered: 05-08-07
Posts: 3,325
Website

Re: Disappointed

I agree with you instructor concentrating on your general driving first, that is where accidents happen.
However, trying to go for test before you can do all the manoeuvres consistently is a fatal error.
I am very surprised, if your instructor advised you,that you were ready for test, was this a decision that you made because you had already spent so much time and money on it?

From you result, you were clearly not a safe enough driver for test.

It will,take as long as it takes to make you a safe driver, if you are not prepared to,make the commitment then by all means give up

But if you are here looking for a shortcut, sorry there is not one.

My advice is to go back to your instructor and trust him, your story that he sent you for test with no skill,in the manoeuvres, frankly does not ring true.  If it was his decision, then dump,him, if it was yours, well next time listen to his advice.

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#5 28-06-13 07:38:50

la.monikita
Verified Member
From: SE LONDON / KENT
Registered: 12-03-05
Posts: 3,064

Re: Disappointed

This week I had a 19 year old man start lessons. He's been driving for 2 years and failed two tests. I would not allow him anywhere near the test centre the way he drives at the moment.  Lucky he failed, as he might have ended up with a memorial of flowers on a lamppost. Learning to drive (with someone who actually teaches you properly!), gives you skill for your entire life. Do it well and it will pay you dividends, if not it will cost you so much in insurance claims or worse still loss of your health which no amount of money will replace.

Also worth comparing the actual cost of motoring and learning to drive; Crap 1st car 1500 + 1st 1 year insurance if you lucky 1500= 3k That will be 120h of lessons at 25 Some people need 150 hours to learn.

What makes me wonder is why people rather invest money in a metal box, (that eventually will be scrapped anyway) but not in the proper fundamental skills?  hmm


"What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself."
Abraham Maslow

21st Century Women http://www.loisontheloose.com/my-advent … /the-team/

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#6 28-06-13 12:34:19

Freedomseeker
Member
Registered: 27-06-13
Posts: 2

Re: Disappointed

Nigel, my first instructor was very wrong indeed! The proof is that I no longer have issues with the steering and I feel very confident on roundabouts. smile

Evan, you are right, my second instructor was far better. He has invested a lot of energy in helping me overcome my fears and believe in myself, and we have achieved good results. He would admit there was a lot I needed to improve on but he would also praise me and give me a fair assessment at the end of each session. Thank you for your encouragements.

Kaf, you are obviously assuming I am some 18 year old teenager who would cheekily tell a lie just to gain sympathy.  For info, I am 30 and a PHD student but even if were 18, your attitude is very defeatist and not helpful to someone who has just failed their test. My instructor encouraged me because (in his words) he had thought me everything there was to learn and I should just bite the bullet and give the test a go. Yes I have hinted that I had spent a lot of money and didn't have much left but that wasn't the only reason. I had been learning for a long time, there were days when I didn't make a single mistake, days when I lost the plot completely and others when my driving was average. There aren't any major issues with my driving, just silly mistakes that keep happening from time to time and would get improved with experience. According to him, on a good day I would nail the test with no issues so we thought why not, let's give it a go. I knew I had 50% chance of failing but thought if that happened it would be on minor faults. Having the 2 majors is what knocked down my confidence. But yes he got it completely wrong on the manoeuvres and I know he felt guilty even thoug we haven't talked about it after the test. It's this feeling that he has let me down which is making me question whether I should go back with him or change.

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#7 28-06-13 14:59:07

Evan
Administrator
Registered: 27-12-09
Posts: 2,058

Re: Disappointed

Firstly you should go into a test 100% confident in your ability 50% just isn't good enough. Now I am not criticising here but the fact is most candidates find their drive drops a bit due to test nerves. With that in mind you cannot be successful if you have reservations about your ability on any aspect of your driving.

I have and will carry on stopping my pupils taking their test if they are not ready, the reasons for this are simple there is nothing to be gained from failing a driving test.

I have had pupils who have said: "I just want to have a go", well they can but not in my car.
I would like you to re-read your opening post it illustrates all the negatives that come out of a test attempted by someone who is not ready. Some of the responsibility does fall on the shoulders of your instructor, it is not hard to give a pupil a demonstration of how a real test is carried out and expose them to the nerves and mistakes that test day can bring.

Many on here probably feel that some of my posts seem a bit cold and unfeeling on occasions, but I am a realist, I talk very candidly to my pupils, I don't allow them to just lull themselves into a false belief about themselves. Straight talk in an honest mature way, saves the heartache, disappointment and loss of self belief you have at the moment.

Contrary to what many believe driving for a large proportion of people is a very difficult skill to pick up, that's just the way it is I'm afraid. It may take 20, 30 or a hundred hours to pass a test, it will take you the rest of your life to compleat the process.

Get your instructor to be brutally honest with you before your next test, more than that be brutally honest with yourself. I have a reputation locally for being tough, thorough and not cutting corners, my pupils appreciate my honesty even if sometimes it's not what they want to hear.

Save yourself any more heartache and be 100% ready next time, feel in your heart that you are and you will do it.

Best of luck.

Last edited by Evan (28-06-13 15:03:07)

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#8 28-06-13 16:37:40

kaf
Verified Member
From: Wiltshire
Registered: 05-08-07
Posts: 3,325
Website

Re: Disappointed

You may be 30 with a Phd but by looking to blame others you are not displaying that.

There with the result you had, there is clearly a lot,of work to,be done, I stand by my comments of it will,take as long as it takes and cost what it costs. It is up to,you,to,decide if you,have the will to do,it. There is Nothing defeatist in what I said, just honest.

From your latest post, there is no way on this earth you would have been cleared for test by me.

Don't for one second, dismiss things as 'silly mistakes' it is this which costs lives, 3000 every year in the UK.
Such a comment is immature.
Unless you can drive well and safely EVERY time you drive, then you are not fit to be released onto the road.
I think you underestimate the competence level that many of us demand of our students.

Take control of your situation, set yourself the goal of being highly competent in everything before you sit the test again. Your life and the lives of others depend on it.

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#9 28-06-13 16:57:28

Loopy Lou
Verified Member
From: Berkshire
Registered: 03-11-07
Posts: 554

Re: Disappointed

I wish we could hear your instructor's side of this story!

You can cancel or move the date of a driving test up to three working days beforehand...personally if I found myself in a situation where I was  "struggling massively" to master something new and I had the means to defer the date on which I had to demonstrate this new skill and thus allow myself time to get to grips with it properly, I'd take that opportunity!

If the financial cost of learning to drive is an issue, why waste the GBP62 Practical test fee by attempting something you seem to feel that you had little chance of succeeding in?

I can (sort of) understand "having a go" just for the experience and the fact that your instructor let you do that must mean that he felt your driving was safe enough for him to risk his livelihood (and by that I mean his car coming back from your test in one piece!), but you come across as having wanted to "have a go" and when things didn't work out, you now want to heap all the blame on your instructor. Remember you're on a forum here where virtually ALL the regular posters are driving instructors and they know from personal experience that there's always two sides to every story when it comes to a failed test!

You came here asking for advice on what to do now...my advice is that you stop apportioning blame. Life is full of things that don't go the way we want them to...sometimes it's fair and square "someone else's fault" but usually it's not and that's the case here. It was YOUR test, YOUR decision to take it and YOUR performance that determined the result.

Don't cast yourself in the role of a victim in a situation over which you had most of the control...

I'm sorry to be harsh, but a LONG time ago I was in a similar position to you. When I was 17, my brother bought me driving lessons for my birthday. My instructor was a miserable grumpy git who grunted instructions at me and when I got it wrong (which was most of the time!) made me feel useless. I dreaded every lesson. For reasons which I have never been able to comprehend, he let me apply for my test, although I knew my driving was nowhere near up to standard. I was 17 though and back in those days I did what I was told and I took my test even though I knew I'd fail as I didn't want my brother to feel he'd wasted his money...I failed dismally and I felt so bad and so inadequate I didn't even attempt to start learning to drive again until I was 27.

So I know how you feel...really I do  ...and I sympathise with you  wink  wink ...BUT I always accepted that while my instructor may have been a moron it was ME that went ahead with the test and ME that failed it...not him.

Accept it...and move on. You're a grown up. Blaming someone else is what kids do  tongue

For what it's worth, I think that given that you seem to have a good relationship with your current instructor and you're used to his car etc and you have said yourself that up until "Manoeuvregate", things between you were all hunky dory, get back in touch with him, tell him how you feel and take things from there...as I said, I'm sure if we could hear his version of events, we'd hear a different story.

Good luck...and you'll get there in the end...be the master of your own destiny, not a defeatist  wink


It's too bad that stupidity isn't painful...

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#10 28-06-13 19:21:53

Paulski
Verified Member
From: Aylesbury
Registered: 27-01-05
Posts: 203
Website

Re: Disappointed

From nearly eight years in the job, I would say virtually anything a pupil could do could be explained away by 'test nerves' or just 'silly mistakes'.

It's a cop out and when I hear it from pre-trained pupils who have failed a test I imediately think what's really wrong. After all it's far easier to look at it from that perspective, rather than think 'heh I don't know this well enough I need to be better.'

At least you are looking for advice but as has been stated there is no quick fix. Anyone can take a test and those who take it well before they are ready are the hardest to retrain their mindset. 'what do you mean I'm not ready I've already taken a test!'

Any novice driver can make mistakes. We all can and do! That's not the issue. Ask yourself am I driving my instructor round as my first passenger? Can I do my reversing excercises in any area, when my instructor says nothing? If I got lost or was in the wrong lane, would I be composed?

I would guess, if you're honest from your test report, it would be no. But pick yourself up and follow all the advice.


www.redminidrivingschool.co.uk
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