Clontarf Driving Academy

Pre-Test Home

Pre-Test

What is the driving test?

The driving test is your chance to prove to a tester you know what you're doing behind the wheel and that you're safe and confident on the roads.

What's the test like?

If you're well prepared, the test should be very straightforward. It'll last around 30-40 minutes and is conducted by a RSA tester. They'll tell you where to drive and what manoeuvres to do.

What you're tested on – First off in the office, the tester will then ask you questions on the rules of the road and to identify road signs, (your instructor will give you a list of the sample test questions.)

When you are out at your car you will be asked to carry out technical checks on any three of the following:

Tyres, lights, reflectors, indicators, engine oil, engine coolant, windscreen washing fluid, power steering fluid, brakes or car horn.

Access to some of these will necessitate you being able to open the bonnet and closing it securely.

You must know where all the secondary controls of your car are situated. Your tester will ask you questions on controls and how to operate any three of the following: heater, rear view demister, air intake control, hazard warning lights, parking/side lights, dipped head lights, full headlights, flash lights, fog lights, headlight range control , wipers, spray for front and back window. Failure to know these may lead to a grade 2 fault on your test.

Also on the test you will be asked to

Demonstrate hand signals

Left reverse round a corner

A turnabout

A hill start

Drive approximately 8km in a variety of road and traffic conditions


But mostly the test will be about showing you can drive competently and safely.

About your test car

A test car has to be reliable and meet a series of legal requirements. When you take your test with Clontarf Driving Academy, all this is taken care of. But if you decide to use your own car, you'll have to make sure it's roadworthy, with a full NCT certificate if it's over four years old, taxed and it must be fully insured.

If your car doesn't meet the standard, the test will be cancelled and you'll lose your test fee. Find out more at rsa.ie

Preparing for your driving test

Once you have started your lessons with us, our instructor will tell you how ready you are for your driving test. Naturally, we want you to pass first time. So here are a few ways we can give you that extra edge. Your Track Record log book keeps tabs on your progress – showing you where your strengths are and what skills you'll need to brush up on.

How to pass

Make the most of your practice.

We recommend plenty of practice between lessons on all types of roads and driving in different situations, including driving at night. Ask our instructor which manoeuvres you should run through and remember if you're practicing with friends or family; make sure you're covered on their car insurance policy.

Take a mock driving test

A Clontarf Driving Academy mock test shares exactly the same format as the real thing – think of it as a trial run.

Top 10 things to look out for

The RSA (Road Safety Authority) published the top 10 reasons why learners fail their driving test. To maximise your chances of passing first time, here are some of the big things to look out for:

The following are the most common reasons why people fail their driving tests:

Inadequate observation moving off, at junctions, at roundabouts and when changing lanes.

Failure to anticipate the actions of other drivers.

Incorrect road position on the straight, on bends, turning left, turning right, at roundabouts and when overtaking.

Inadequate progress at junctions, roundabouts, on the straight and when overtaking.

Incorrect or inadequate use of mirrors and signals.

Non-compliance with traffic controls, e.g. road signs and markings and traffic lights.

Incorrect, inadequate or inappropriate use of vehicle controls, including gears, clutch, accelerator, steering, handbrake, footbrake and secondary controls.

Excessive speed for the road or traffic conditions.

Failure to yield the right of way to others.

Lack of competence in the reverse and turnabout manoeuvre.

Booking your driving test

If you're with Clontarf Driving Academy our instructor will let you know whether The Raheny or Finglas Test Centre is best for you. You can book online at rsa.ie if you prefer, you can book your own driving test directly with the RSA, Monday – Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm by calling 1890 40 60 40.

When you book your test

Verify that you are eligible to sit your test (must hold a learner permit for 6 months)

Your current valid driver number

Your PPS number

Details of any special requirements

A debit or credit card for payment


The driving test for car drivers costs €85. The waiting list is approximately 8-12 weeks.

You can cancel your test for any reason, but you'll need to give ten working days' notice to keep your fee. You will lose your fee if you have already cancelled two test appointments.

What to expect on test day?

Knowing what to expect when you get to the test centre can boost your confidence and your chances of passing. Here's how the driving test works.

Preparing for the test

Immediately before your test you should have at least an hour's lesson with our instructor to warm up and feel comfortable in the car. It'll also help to calm any last minute nerves.

NB: Remember to bring along your test appointment letter and your learner permit.

What happens on test day?

You’ll be called from the waiting room and brought through to the office. There the tester will check your learner permit and you will then be asked to read and sign a statement confirming that the vehicle is insured, taxed and that the vehicle is also in roadworthy condition. The tester will then ask you questions on the rules of the road (including identifying road signs.) Then you will head out to your car and the tester will ask you some technical checks, to demonstrate the left and right indicator, the brake lights and how to use the secondary controls. Also on the test you will be asked to

Demonstrate hand signals

Left reverse round a corner

A turnabout

A hill start

Drive approximately 8km in a variety of road and traffic conditions


Your driving will be assessed in the following situations:

Moving off

Driving in traffic

Reversing around a corner

Turning about, to face in the opposite direction

Starting on a hill


Aspects of your driving assessed will include:

Road positioning

Overtaking and passing

Anticipation and observation

Use of mirrors and signals

Progress speed

Compliance with traffic lights, road signs and markings

Use of the vehicle controls (accelerator, clutch, gears, brakes and steering)

Use of secondary controls such as wipers, de-misters, etc

During the Practical test

The tester will be looking to see that you're a competent and safe driver – responding to situations sensibly and making sound judgments.

Your tester wants you to do well and does not want to fail you! The examiner won't say much in case it puts you off. Put any mistakes behind you and just concentrate on what's happening in the present. One minor error doesn't mean a fail.

Despite what you might have heard – there's no quota for test passes or fails. If you've reached the required standard, you'll pass your test. It actually takes 8 driving grade two faults or 1 serious or dangerous fault to fail the test.

Getting your result

When you finish your driving test you will be brought into the office and the tester will tell you whether you’ve passed or failed.

If you have passed, CONGRATULATIONS. You can now enjoy driving yourself around without the need to have someone else in the car. The tester will issue you with a Certificate of Competency, which you can then exchange for a Full Driving Licence at your local motor tax office.

If you have failed, hard luck. Do not get down about it. The tester will give you a report detailing aspects of your driving that caused you to fail. The tester is not permitted to discuss your test results with you.

You will also receive a certificate indicating that you failed the test; keep it in a safe place as you may need it to renew your learner permit.