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What do the PSLE, ‘O’ Levels, and driving tests have in common? They are all mind-shatteringly nerve-wrecking, and we know just how easy it is to freak out when you’re in the hot seat. Which is why we’re here to help: Get your seat belts on and your mirrors in the right position – Here are 12 tips for passing your practical driving test in Singapore.

1. Don’t practice at night

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You want to make sure your practice circumstances are as close to your test as possible, so instead of practicing at night, try clocking in some hours in the morning instead. This will help you especially when it comes to changing lanes, which is a totally different experience in the daytime.

2. Try hitting or mounting a curb before your test

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Do you remember learning how to ride your bicycle for the first time? Part of learning to cycle is learning how to fall. In the same way, you’ll want to learn how hitting a curb feels like before you take your test. Having an idea of how hitting or mounting a curb is like will give you some much-needed confidence, and teach you how to prevent making one of the most killer mistakes of the TP.

3. Forget about memorising routes

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Testers sometimes change routes, so don’t bother trying to memorise your supposed route – you want to avoid feeling like you’ve studied the wrong chapter for a test, don’t you? Instead, spend more time practicing your turns and lane-changing skills instead. 

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4. Be punctual and polite, and be in the waiting room

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Unlike the ‘O’ Levels where you willl be judged by several markers, you only have one tester for your TP, so please, pretty please, make a good impression. Be in the waiting room early, or on time at the very least, and do not wait outside like a belligerent teenager – Your tester might not take very kindly to that. Of course, it goes without saying that you want to be as polite as possible to your examiner from start to finish, which means greeting them with a smile, and saying thank you with a good attitude at the end. If you feel a reverent bow, by all means.

5. Switch off your handphone and stay focused

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Picking up your phone while driving is a big no-no, so don’t even think about answering bae’s call while doing your test. While it’s good to keep your phone on silent or airplane mode during the entire TP process, what’s even better is switching it off – You don’t want a rogue alarm to go off during your test and startle you (or your tester), do you?

6. Exaggerate actions such as checking your mirrors

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Whether you’re checking your mirrors or looking out for blind spots, make sure your actions are blatantly obvious, and remember to turn your head enough so you can’t be faulted for not looking properly. It helps if you say “Check!” clearly each time you do so, so that your entire process is undoubtedly clear to your driving test instructor.

7. Choose a strategic time and location

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Would you rather take your driving test in a highly congested area like Ubi or Bukit Batok, or on an empty road around the SSDC (Singapore Safety Driving Center) around Woodlands? If your answer is the former, we salute your bravery and madness. If you’re strategic about the location and timing of your test, you’ll be able to make use of bus lanes (in the early morning) and won’t have to worry about changing lanes and a host of other vehicles during peak hours.    

8. Don’t be obsessed with forgivable mistakes

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If you’re on a slope and accidentally roll back, don’t give up just yet – You’ll only get an immediate failure if you roll back a metre, which is a lot of distance, so don’t get despondent  if you roll back just a ruler’s worth. In the same way, if you go slow, you’ll only get marked down for “insufficient acceleration”. which is better than the risk of failing immediately by speeding. However, we highly recommend not going 10km/h on a 50km/h road.

9. Stay away from taxis

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Taxi drivers are infamous for being unpredictable, and while there are countless responsible taxi drivers around, some have a tendency to speed unpredictably, while others tend to skip signalling altogether whilst on the road. This means one thing and one thing only for you: Stay far away from them if you want to pass with flying colours.

10. Jam the emergency brake hard when called for

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There might not be a jam brake test, but if your tester calls for it and does a small tap on your dashboard, don’t panic. You’ll just need to make sure your jam brake is obvious and that your tester can tell that you’re not doing a normal brake, so put some power in that leg and foot of yours! PS. It’s okay to let your glasses and saliva fly when you jam brake, just make sure you don’t get any drool on your instructor… tee hee.

11. Choose to drive automatic with a driving school

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If time is of the essence, and you don’t need a manual license, we’re sure you already know that passing your driving test in an automatic car is much easier. If you’d like to increase your chances of passing even further, sign up with a driving school, as their passing rate is higher due to their need to meet a quota. If you’re going manual, make sure you’re “one with the car” before you take your test, meaning you’re able to change gear without thinking too much.

12. Stop before the stop line using your right-side mirror

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When you look to your right, the stop line should either be above the side of your mirror, or just below it. If it’s too low, you’ve crossed it. This also means that if you’re due for a visit to the optometrist, go get your glasses before you sit for your driving test. If your tester sees you squinting at the road, it’s not going to bode well for you, honey. With these 12 tips for passing your practical driving test in Singapore, and some diligent practice, we’re positive you’ll be able to completely ace your TP. And in case you don’t make it on your first try, don’t give up! Practice makes perfect, and failure makes for success. Best of luck, young Jedi.

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