Monthly Archives: February 2016

Driving Test Result Form

The aim of this blog is to encourage a Learner driver to reflect on their driving ability by referring to the form that the driving examiner uses on the driving test as a point of reference. If you find yourself confused about what the assessment criteria is then this blog will make things a bit clearer.

Here is a sample form that gets used to assess a driving test in the UK. The actual markings on this particular one are pretty irrelevant but knowing what it actually means can be important.


At BIG TOM Driving School, on the 5 Day Intensive Driving Course (0800 689 4174), our customers are encouraged to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, and identify what areas of their driving need to be improved upon; in terms of their confidence levels, their technical ability, how much they affect other road users, how ready they will be to drive unsupervised once they pass their driving test. If a Learner driver pays no attention to this, if they have little regard for the standard of driving that is expected of them, then they will be less willing and able to assess how well they are able to achieve it. Being able to reflect and raise the awareness levels of your competence is a life skill and if a learner driver can start getting into the habit of raising self-awareness early on, then they will be more inclined to continue doing so even after they pass their driving test – there is a whole lot of learning that still takes place after a person passes the driving test. If a learner driver gets into the habit of just complying with a Driving Instructor (and sometimes begrudgingly) then they will not be developing this essential skill that will help to keep them safe on the roads once they have passed the test and are driving around on their own.

Getting back to the form. You will see that there are a whole bunch of things being assessed on the driving test. The range is quite deceptive on first glance of that form. You will see the manoeuvres listed over on the left, along with the controlled stop. But spread across the form are driving fault headings that have quite varied consequences. Some faults are about what literally happens to the car, some are based on how well the driver observes what is happening around the car, and there are even faults that can be picked up based on the decision making of the driver and how good the driver is at anticipating what might happen or planning what needs to be done for a given situation.

The large white boxes next to the assessment subject are where an examiner will put a diagonal mark if they observe an error. If however, the consequence of the error resulted in either actual danger or even potential danger then the mark instead gets placed under the column “S”erious or “D”angerous. Making other drivers brake hard, or swerve, or being in the wrong position in the road that affects others are examples of these type of faults.   Bear in mind also, that if an examiner observes a group of faults which on their own would not be classed as serious, but because of the high number of them that have occurred over the 38 minute test, that group then becomes a serious fault. To pass the driving test, you are not allowed one serious or dangerous fault. This collecting of non-serious driving faults is often under-estimated – failing to check mirrors would be one such example, if an examiner observes this fault coming up repeatedly on the driving test, how can they give a pass? The candidate on test is repeatedly not checking mirrors on their driving test, they are very unlikely to inexplicably start doing so when they have passed the driving test. So my advice would be to completely ignore the amount of non-serious driving faults that can occur and still get a pass; although the number is 15, it is extremely rare for a test to have 15 driving faults recorded and still result in a pass, very rare indeed, because more often than not, in amongst those 15 faults will be a repetition of a fault that the examiner can simply not ignore, and so the theme becomes a serious fault.

Any driving fault that has implications to do with breaking the law will always be marked as serious – speeding, not giving way to pedestrians, going through red traffic lights, crossing solid white lines etc

As you can see, there are a great many aspects of the drive being assessed. It is a common and mistaken belief that once a learner driver has got the basics of car control then they should be putting in for the driving test. It is this constant under-estimating of the standard required that is contributing to the very low national first time pass rate of 21%. Coupled with the fact that with driving tests, unlike academic exams, the test is very much fluid, changing all the time. An exam paper is very much standard, and unchanging, but on test, there are a great deal of situations that can crop up, often initiated by the poor driving of others around, that can cause many candidates to fail the test as they were unable to accommodate that situation.   And this brings me on to the last point I wanted to share with you, and I will shortly be providing a video on my driving channel to emphasise this point.

The difference between a mediocre driver and a good driver, is the ability to adapt to changing situations. Changing situations can be to do with driving on unfamiliar roads with the need for effective forward planning despite making instant decisions on direction, unexpected behaviour by drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, it may be with changing driving conditions relating to weather or road surface, it can be related to the environment inside the car with friends causing distractions and it can be to do with how we as humans have differing ability to drive relating to mood, drugs, alcohol, stress, fatigue.

Re-visiting what was said at the very start of this blog about self-awareness, if you want to get an idea of how well you are learning to drive, go drive somewhere unfamiliar. Pick a route that you have no idea how to get to, make it include some town driving, dual-carraigeway and rural roads. Try and observe if you affect others on the journey, be critical with yourself, if you feel uncertain that you can do that, get yourself a good driving instructor who can provide you with consistently accurate feedback that is based on the assessment criteria on the green form, rather than his/her personal opinion. In the years that we have been providing intensive driving courses it has been our experience that when learners aim for a high standard, and are prepared to critically assess their ability, and have an attitude that allows them to continue to perfect their driving, these learners tend to pass the driving test first time, with typically between 3 and 5 driving faults committed on the driving test.

BIG TOM Driving School 5 Day Intensive Driving Course (0800 689 4174)



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Bespoke driving training for b2b

This blog is aimed at Human Resources personnel and business owners who have urgent need to train up employee(s) to pass the car (category B) driving test. It will describe the benefits that can be delivered on the BIG TOM Intensive Driving Courses for business customers when training up employees to learn to drive.*

  • Duration: The duration of the sessions can be tailor made to fit in to the business hours eg 9-5 with a lunch break in between, 4 hour morning sessions, variable durations split over different days, it is even possible to have training arranged on night duty shifts.
  • All-inclusive package: The course can be set up with no pre-determined end date. So rather than stressing an employee that they must be ready by a specific date because that is all the training they will be provided with, a course can keep running until the time is right to go to test. This can also include attempts at the driving test – whilst every effort is made to secure a first time pass, it can be very effective for some employer/employee relationships to remove that pressure by removing that “expectation”.
  • Hassle free: This one is not to be under-estimated. From payment terms, to administration, to learning resources it is all covered to have the minimal impact on the running of our customers business. It is set up so that there is not a need for a repeated and irritating exchange of phone calls or emails to the business.
  • Risk free: The employer and the employee(s) are offered the opportunity for the driving school to attend the business premises for a no-obligation, informal visit, to allow relevant personnel to meet each other face to face, and even for the employee to take a look at the car they will train in. No contract, no obligation, and entirely no risk involved.
  • Fast response: One of the absolute key benefits that our business customer feedback confirms is the speed of response that BIG TOM can provide. Whether it be a very quick start to the course after the initial contact, or quick responses to questions, or even a fast turn round to have the employee pass the driving test; the fast response that business customers receive is very important because they have their own organisational needs in mind.

Of course, the business needs differ between our customers, so the benefits above can be tailored to suit. It is this flexibility that makes our service a winning formula. B2b customers want effective communication, reliability, and a driving course that can be adapted to fit the schedule and demands of the business.

BIG TOM Driving School provides intensive driving courses for b2b customers in and around Grantham, Sleaford, Stamford, Spalding, Lincoln, Peterborough and Bourne.

Call us now on 0800 689 4174

*DVSA Roles 1-5 of National Standard for Category B & DVSA Car and Light Van Driving Syllabus. Training provided to DVSA Role 6 of National Standard for Category B.


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Driving Training for Businesses

The need for driving training is often urgent to resolve a painful operational bottleneck that is affecting the business. This blog shows how BIG TOM Driving School (0800 689 4174) can provide good quality, trusted driving training in quick turnaround timescales with flexibility to reflect the working hours of modern day business.

Lloyd Pretlove from an engineering based organisation in Grantham passed his driving test first time within 1 month of his employers initially contacting BIG TOM. Veronica Burnett (from Harlaxton Engineering) who booked up his BIG TOM Intensive Driving Course in Grantham said:

“Fantastic work Tom. I would be very pleased to endorse any recommendation for the service you have provided and we would certainly utilise your services if the need arises in the future.”

The service we provide to businesses includes:

  • A bespoke driving course that is aligned to the operational needs: duration of driving sessions and the course itself, start/end hours to suit, pick up/drop off as needed
  • A bank of resources that has everything covered: pre-course preparation, variety of theory study aids, test booking service, options for course payments
  • Trust and reliability to ensure the package that is arranged, is guaranteed to be delivered

BIG TOM Driving School
5 Day Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough, Grantham, Sleaford, Stamford, Spalding and Bourne
Tel: 0800 689 4174 or get instant availability via HERE.


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Count me in!

The way we learn to drive is changing. Driving test waiting times are huge! The delays are so long that the fear of failing the driving test with the resultant wait for another test can make you fail the driving test! This blog announces an alternative approach that instantly removes these obstacles that are delaying you getting your full driving licence.

As the traditional approach to learning to drive involves taking a driving lesson every week or so, it can take a long time to reach your goal, and with the driving test waiting times being as long as they are (in some parts of the UK up to 16 weeks), it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict when is the correct time to book a driving test that will be well timed for your driving ability in say 4 months time.

What to do? Do you gamble and book a driving test ignoring the possibility that you might not be ready and fail it, do you book a driving test so far in advance in the hope that you are not wasting time and money taking driving lessons that are not needed?

The answer is to consolidate the period of time taken to learn to drive by using an intensive driving course so that it is more manageable and easier to work around. Literally thousands of learners are doing this across the UK – BIG TOM Driving School who has been providing this service for years is expanding to meet the demand in Peterborough, Grantham, Sleaford, Stamford, Bourne and Spalding.

It is typically the older generation who raise obstacles to learning to drive in this manner, and that invariably is because the option was not available to them when they learnt to drive. Some will say, “I think you need to learn at a slower pace, so that you take it all in”. Are they talking about YOUR inability to learn quicker, or is it the fear of the unknown in their OWN mind that raises these perceived problems?

The fact is that Intensive Driving Courses have been in existence for several years, they offer busy people, who have specific deadlines an alternative approach to learning to drive, and is proven to get results.

Now is the time to shake yourself free of those boring, weekly driving lessons, that go on, and on, and on, and instead, discover a new approach that offers increased motivation, focus, goal grabbing and takes less time to obtain your driving licence.   You want the here and now approach, or the approach that your parents took 30 years ago?

Contact us NOW to get inspired, and make sure you have the smiley face for a change!

BIG TOM Driving School
5 Day Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough, Grantham, Sleaford, Stamford, Spalding and Bourne
Tel: 0800 689 4174 or get instant availability via HERE.


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Local Bourne builder gets his UK Driving Licence

vinko passHere is Vinko Bosnjak from Bourne who has just passed his driving test in Grantham

Vinko is very pleased to have now got hold of his UK licence as he is a busy and popular builder in Bourne. He did not need the BIG TOM 5 Day Intensive Driving Course because he has been driving for many years over in Croatia, but he did want to get his UK driving licence fast.

He has plenty of jobs on the go around Bourne, Deeping and surrounding areas, and he can now add the job of getting himself a new vehicle to add to his list!

BIG TOM Driving School
5 Day Intensive Driving Course in Bourne, Grantham, Peterborough, Sleaford, Stamford and Spalding.
Tel: 0800 689 4174


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BIG TOM Driving Videos for Learners

BIG TOM Driving Videos for LearnersHere are some of the driving video comments received by the 1000 learners on my BIG TOM YouTube Channel “Tom Ingram” for 2016

Hi Tom, your driving blog which details a thoughtful and practical approach to the mentality behind driving was very helpful for me and helped me to pass my test on the 15th of this month, the “Top tips for your driving test” was particularly useful. N.K.

Ok Tom,  got my test on Monday and I will definitely be taking your ‘;thinking driver’ with me. Not feeling too nervous at the moment because I am not letting it dominate my mind to much as that will maybe cause me to be nervous etc…….in meantime I will be on u tube more than usual between now and Monday just drawing inspiration from videos such as this. – Melina

Hi Tom lol I passed!! so happy!! examiners feedback… he was telling me off it seems and I feel like I was at back at school… but passed me…so I am extremely happy about that. – Melina

This is extremely helpful! i go for my license in 5 days and i actually feel like i will pass – Samantha

I passed! again thank you so much your video helped me stay calm – Samantha

Good explanations, thanks. Agree, not everyone knows or respects priority. Just had an idiot try to turn right from a minor road into our major road whilst we were turning right into the opposite minor road at a crossroads…

Did this correct 3 times today. struggled so much on the previous lesson. Thanks –  Nat

I’m trying to the first method but the lines behind me are not straight so I half turn to one of the sides but can’t seem to get the hang of it – Andrea

Great tips for learners thanks a lot – Kashif

This has helped me so much. My knowledge of this and the rate of which I need to bring my clutch up is much better. I will put this into practice a little bit later thank you!!! – Jade

I failed yesterday, I got two majors and five minors. One major was for lane discipline right at the start of the test where there was a left or straight on and a right turn at the traffic lights, I got asked to go right so I went into the right lane 50+ yards prior to the lights then I noticed a side road just before the lights. I saw a right arrow on the floor so I assumed I was in the wrong lane and panicked so I moved to the left lane, then I realised it the right lane was the correct one so I quickly went over to the right. Is that just nerves or a confidence issue? My other major is for use of mirrors when changing speed, I completely forgot to check my mirrors when pulling over during the test and a van was waiting behind me to see what I was doing according to the examiner so what I am trying to ask essentially is are my mistakes just a one time thing because of nerves and confidence? as I have never done anything like that in my test. I’ve now managed to book my test for the 1st of March but am constantly looking for cancellations!

Found the video very informative, thanks in advance for the reply 🙂 – Matt

Had my test today and had convinced myself half way though i had failed (which i hadnt) but because i was convinced i had fail it caused my to make a mistake – too close to a horse and then too close to a stationary car) so ended up with 2 serious and 5 faults. both the serious happened in 2 minutes the rest of the test was good. any ideas on how to solve that? – Lizzi

Love the videos tom, I passed my test but I’m still watching. Thank u 😀  Pycho Activ

All of the posters of the comments above are not BIG TOM 5 Day Intensive Driving Course customers. But they all receive a response, it does go to show how beneficial these driving videos are. For my own customers the videos are presented in a systematic way, to prepare for their intensive driving course in Peterborough, Grantham, Bourne, Spalding, Lincoln, Boston, Stamford or Sleaford. They are also provided access to a bank of driving videos that go into much greater length and are restricted to BIG TOM customers viewing only.  Customers are also offered the opportunity to reflect on driving training sessions, with the benefit of seeing them driving while viewing in the comfort of their own home.

The real key for understanding why so many non-BIG TOM customers are getting value from watching the videos, is that learning to drive should not be all about where you learn to drive. Once you have passed your driving test, you are then able to drive anywhere, so it really matters not where the particular video is filmed. More important are the key driving tips and techniques that promote road safety and good standards of driving, and when practised, these can be learnt on any roads, in any location….. this is why these videos have been viewed more than 450,000 + times!

If you are learning to drive at the moment, it really does make sense to subscribe up to the BIG TOM channel, and also post away with any questions and comments. Please keep it constructive, as others reading will then be able to read and learn by the experiences posted up – this is also another key learning opportunity; to absorb the experiences of others, reflect, engage and enjoy the interaction.

BIG TOM Driving School 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses in Grantham, Peterborough, Sleaford, Lincoln, Boston, Stamford, Bourne, and Spalding     Tel: 0800 689 4174



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Driving Assessment For Elderly Drivers

BIG TOM Driving School provides a no stress, driving assessment for elderly drivers, and there are loads of benefits as can be seen in this blog, to remove any uncertainty in your driving ability.

Our driving assessment service (0800 689 4174) is really useful for providing a non-pressured opportunity for a professional driving trainer to take a look at the ability to drive in the driving conditions of today. Things change over time; our roads are getting busier, the volume and the pace of traffic is increasing, road law evolves, the nature of the road design change and with regards to us, our reactions, ability to forward plan, eyesight, hearing and spatial awareness can alter over time. This can cause uncertainty, loss of confidence, anxiety and can even stop some people from driving anymore so they lose their freedom, independence and mobility.

It is natural that some drivers will have concerns about how well they are able to drive safely and efficiently on the roads of today. It can be very reassuring to our customers and their family members, that an expert on safe driving techniques and modern driving methodology provides an assessment and points out the good aspects of driving as well as the areas for improvement. This is not a test, our customers have no desire to feel like they are being tested, and we respect that point of view. However, it should not be under-estimated how beneficial it is for a non-family member or friend, to have an entirely independent but professional observation of the driving competences.

In the assessment, time is set aside for an instant de-brief of the assessment, this is usually done over a cup of tea or coffee, and the key points that are raised are later sent through to the customer via a report which is either posted or emailed. The end result is that our customers are reminded of any details that may have been forgotten over time such as how to set up the side mirrors for effective observations, or ideal distances between vehicles and they are also kept right up to date with more modern driving requirements such as how to deal with large roundabouts, or new rules relating to the Highway Code.

The route taken on the assessment is carefully selected to offer a range of driving conditions, and there is time factored in to the session for a convenience break.

Call BIG TOM Driving School on 0800 689 4174.

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