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Your practical driving test isn’t just about the physical act of driving. Before you even get in the car you’ll be asked some questions which we call Tell Me questions. You’ll be asked one Tell Me question before you start driving and one Show Me questions when you’re in the car.

Knowing the answers to all these questions isn’t just important to pass your test but it’s important for your everyday driving.

We’ve broken down the questions for you, so read on to prepare yourself for the official Tell Me questions and answers.


Be a driving pro -

Make sure you know how to open the bonnet of the car and close it safely

  • Make sure ties, hair, necklaces etc. do NOT get caught in the engine!
  • If it’s in a clear plastic container, it’s meant to be checked visually
  • Different parts of the engine are coloured to draw attention to them so familiarise yourself with your car and it’s colours (remember each car is different!)
  • Oil and brakes have a red warning lights on the dashboard inside the car and engine coolant has a temperature gauge
  • Red means danger! (Pull over as soon as you can safely)
  • Make sure the engine is off before opening the bonnet.

TOP TIP: Every car is different, in these pictures we have used a Vauxhall Corsa as this is a very popular first car. However, ALWAYS check your handbook to see where things are and how to maintain them properly and if you’re not sure...pop to your friendly local garage and they’ll be happy to help you out!

1.Examiner: Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.

Pupil: On a flat and level surface, having let the oil settle, you identify the dipstick/oil level indicator and check the oil level against the minimum and maximum markers by removing the dipstick, wiping it clean putting it back in and pulling it back out again.

Impress your examiner: Know exactly where to put the oil and what kind of oil you need.

Be safe:
Remember there is an oil warning light on your dashboard and if it goes red, pull over (as soon as you can safely)!



2) Examiner: Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

Pupil: You identify the correct reservoir and check that the level is between the minimum and maximum.


Top Tip: Your handbrake is linked to the warning light on your dashboard. You need to make sure your handbrake is completely off when you’re driving as, if it’s not, the car can still move but the warning light can mask any danger if your handbrake is partially on.



3)   Examiner: Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that your engine has sufficient engine coolant.


Pupil: You would identify the correct reservoir, check the level against the markings or the radiator filler cap and describe how you would fill to the correct level.

Top tip: If the coolant level is low, add the correct coolant to the reservoir (not the radiator itself). You can use diluted coolant by itself, or a 50/50 mixture of concentrated coolant and distilled water. When the coolant rises to the cold fill line, replace the cap and tighten it until you feel it click. But always check your handbook oh and if you take the top off when it’s still hot and under pressure, you’ll be covered in boiling hot engine coolant, so be careful!



Be safe:
Remember, your engine coolant is connected to a temperature gauge on your dashboard!




Next week we’ll be looking at more Tell Me questions (yes, there’s more) but you’ll be a Tell Me Pro in no time!


For driving lessons in Gosport, Portsmouth , Southsea and the surrounding area with patient professional Instructors, Contact us on 02393 75 25 25 or use our  online contact form.


Most experienced drivers as well as learners have feeling of panic when confronted with an emergency vehicle, during lessons this is something your instructor will explain. To help it is worth visiting the official video “Blue Light Aware” on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btRHvQEIkcU) but always remember you not expected to break the law in order to get out of the way







For most people the driving test is a fairly unique experience. One of the things that makes it unique, is being marked as you actually do the test. If you remember when you were doing your exams at school, when the teacher looked over you shoulder you went tense.

This is a natural reaction to being marked as you perform. This pressure can lead to a loss of performance leaving both parties disappointed and frustrated. One knowing that they can do better and the other believing that it did not live up to what was promised.

Now there are some exams that are marked as you perform. Music, medical and martial art grading are some that come to mind. So unless you are a musical martial artist who is medically trained you are going to be up against it. So the real question is how do you know you are ready to take your Driving Test? This we will look at in the next post.

Are you ready for your test? Do you practice safe driving? How can you make sure your first time is really good?

As a front seat passenger if you have found yourself going for the imaginary footbrake, it was not a very nice feeling. It meant the driver was going to fast.

On a driving test the examiner will be that front seat passenger and will be mentally driving the car with you. He will look and see what you are doing and compare it to what you should be doing, but making allowance for the fact you are a learner.

The advice from the test people (The DVSA) is you must be driving consistently well, with confidence and without assistance. So what does this mean?

The aim should be to go to the driving test where you are unlucky to fail rather than lucky to pass.

The DVSA say you have to be a 'level 5'. This means you drive without prompting or assistance.

So what are the levels?
1. Introduced.
2. Done under instruction.
3. Done when prompted.
4. Seldom prompted.
5. No prompting at all.

Besides driving without prompting another way of viewing if you are a level 5 and ready for your test is. If you have you reached something called unconscious competence. This means you do not think about how to do something, you just do it.

Writing can be a good example of unconscious competence. You do not think about how to write, but rather what you are writing about. The parallel with driving is you do not think about how to control the car but what you want to do with the car.

So are there other levels of competence? And if so what are these other levels and what do they mean.

1. Unconscious Incompetence:
You do not even know what it is let alone how to do it.
You have no idea what driving is.

2. Conscious Incompetence:
You know what it is but you certainty can not do it.
You know what driving is but you can not drive.

3. Conscious Competence:
You are thinking about doing it properly.
You are now learning to drive, but still thinking about how to do it.

4. Unconscious Competence:

You do not think about it any more you just do it.

In driving terms you are not thinking about how to drive but rather where you are going to drive.

What all this is saying is that if you have internalised the practice of safe driving you are ready for your test.

Problems with speed.

A problem with speed is the faster the speed the greater the likelihood of death if you hit a pedestrian. The source of this idea is two studies: one UK and the other Australian.

The UK study found that the chance of death from being hit by a car at 30 mph was 45%. And the Australian study reports that the chance of death from being hit at 30 mph was 37%.

At 40 mph both studies showed that the chance of death was over 80%.
And at 20 mph it dropped to 5% in both studies.

The reason it jumps from 5% at 20 mph to over 80% at 40 mph is down to the laws of physics. As the impact speed doubles the energy imparted to a collision quadruples. Blame Sir Isaac Newton for that one.

A more interesting question is why the difference between the UK and Australia. A 45% chance of death in the UK, compared to 37% chance in Australia.

The Australians might believe that this is because they are tougher, where as the English could retort that this is because drunks sustain less damage. A more likely explanation is that with wider roads and pavements Australian children are less likely to be run over.

All this brings us back to why 30 mph, and it is all to do with people surviving their mistakes. Children do run out into the road, old people wander out and drunks stumble out.

At some point in our lives we all make mistakes. Without a speed limit these mistakes could be a death sentence.