Learning to drive can be rewarding for all sorts of reasons. It can provide you with an enjoyable way to spend your free time. It can open you up to new opportunities in your professional life. And it can give you the freedom to travel to wherever you’d like to go.

Before you’re allowed to drive alone on UK roads, however, you’ll need to first pass your driving test. This can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’ve been waiting for the opportunity for a while. Failure means having to take the test again – which can be, if not disastrous, then at least annoying.

Let’s take a look at some of the steps you might take to ensure you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of success.

Practice, practice, practice

The more miles you’ve gotten under your belt, the less likely you’ll be to make a mistake. Make sure that you practice under a range of different conditions. Drive when it’s busy, and when it’s quiet. Drive in the evening, and in the morning. Drive around the local ring road, and in quiet cul-de-sacs.

Place special emphasis on those difficult maneuvers. You should be able to perform all of them flawlessly before the test arrives. Arrange to go out early on a Sunday morning with a volunteer. You can get some temporary learner driver insurance, and practice reverse-parking in a suitable local car park.

During these practice sessions, you won’t be taking on board new information – you’ll just be refining your skills, until they’re second nature. When you actually come to do the test, you don’t want to be thinking about where you put your hands on the wheel – any more than a pianist thinks about which fingers go where. With enough practice, it will become instinctive.

Revisit your theory test

You’ve already successfully passed your theory test, which should give you a little bit of extra confidence. Make sure that you’re aware of all of the theory by brushing up a little bit, here and there. This will help to keep your mindset centred around the world of driving!

Look after yourself

If you arrive to the test hungry or tired, your performance will be affected. Make sure that you get a good night’s sleep, and that you get a decent breakfast before you arrive. By this point, you won’t be able to do any more to improve your skills before the test, so be sure that you let go, psychologically speaking. Focus on the task immediately in front of you.

If you’re really worried about the test, then the quality of your sleep might suffer. Don’t beat yourself up about that – that will only make the problem worse. Just give yourself the best possible opportunity to get a good night’s sleep.