Irish car experts give tips on passing your driving test first time amid major backlog

Ireland’s backlog of people waiting to sit both their theory and driving tests continues to be disrupted by Covid – with only essential drivers being given lessons and tests at the moment.

If you’re one of the 100,000 people currently waiting to sit your driving test, on the bright side, at least you have ample time to prepare and pass your test the first time around – and avoid having to re-enter that queue.

Irish car experts over at have put together a guide of top tips to give you the best chance at passing your test the first time around – and we’ve thrown in some extra advice from experience:

Preparation is key

The first step to getting to sit your driving test is to pass the Theory.

To give yourself the best chance of passing the written exam for the first time, pick up the Rules of the Road and buy the Official Driver Theory Test Revision Material – online or on CD.

But remember, once you’ve passed the theory test, it’s only valid for two years, so don’t wait too long to apply for your learner permit.

Licence timeframe

As with the theory test, your learner permit is also valid for just two years, and so you should to have completed your full set of lessons, and passed your driving test in this space of time.

You must have held it for six months and conducted the required 12 one-hour EDT sessions with an ADI before you can actually take your test.

If you need to reapply for your learner permit, that will be valid for another two years, but a third application (or later) is only valid for 12 months.

Irish car experts give tips on passing your driving test first time amid major backlog

Practice, practice, practice

While an ADI will have a car for you to take the practical test in, having your own to practice in will be a big bonus.

The more time you can spend practising away from your driving lessons, the more comfortable and confident you will become with the car.

Doing your test in a car that’s familiar to you will also mean you’re more likely to be calm despite nerves.

Make sure ‘L’ plates are in good nick

You’ll need L plates when you’re learning to drive, and they will need to be displayed on the car you’re sitting your test in.

While an ADI will have a car that’s properly signposted, you need to add them to any private vehicle that you will be practising in – it will ensure that others on the road will give you some extra space.

Make sure they’re clearly visible, but without obscuring the car’s lights or registration plate or your view out the windows.

And remember, you could earn penalty points for not displaying L plates as a Learner.


The RSA recommends nominating a sponsor that will help you to learn how to drive outside of any ADI-assisted instruction.

However, bear in mind that they should be offering additional assistance – your ADI is the person who is actually teaching you how to drive and pass your test, so whatever advice they give you should overrule anything your sponsor might say.

Your sponsor might think they know better, but it’s the ADI that’s responsible for getting you prepared for your test and a life of safe driving.

Remember to only drive with a passenger who is fully insured on your car and who holds a full license.

Irish car experts give tips on passing your driving test first time amid major backlog
Irish car experts give tips on passing your driving test first time amid major backlog

Check every aspect of the car

Before heading up to sit your test, ensure that absolutely everything is in check on the car you plan to use – any little discrepancy can stop you from being eligible to test.

Ensure all of your display discs are in date, from NCT to road tax, check every light on the car, and make sure there are no yellow or red lights on the dashboard.

It can be something as simple as tyre pressure, but if there is a yellow light on the dash, your tester has grounds to send you home.

Before you get in the car

Make sure you brush up on your road rules and signs because before you head out in the car, you will be asked a number of questions – similar to those on the theory test.

Ensure you know the ins and outs of what’s under the bonnet – you’re expected to know how to check the water and oil levels at a minimum.

Stay in line

Once you’ve passed your test, it’s essential that you stick to the rules of the road.

Driving with N plates is a period of probation, and if you’re caught speeding, driving while not displaying N plates, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or any other offence, the penalties can be harsher – such as a 6-month ban.

The best way to avoid having to sit your test again is to make sure your car is roadworthy and stick to speed limits religiously.