Category Archives: Driving Lessons

Want to pass the driving test quicker

Do you want to become a safe driver and pass the driving test as soon as you can? Well if you are prepared to do some studying and research at home in between your driving lessons then you can. I always encourage my pupils to follow this advice and the ones that do, always pass their driving test quicker than average! So can you!

Learning to drive is basically two things – car control and knowledge.  The quicker you master these, the sooner you pass your diving test.  Don’t just leave this to your instructor, work with them and help yourself.

car control

car control is being able to operate the clutch, brakes, gears, and steering smoothly and efficiently and being in full control of the car. When you are in a car with someone who can drive they make it look incredibly easy.  When you first start to learn, this can feel totally alien and confusing  but don’t worry, this is normal and it takes time and practice. Obviously your instructor will be helping and teaching you how to operate the controls. It will help you to understand the car control more quickly by reading books such as Driving the essential skills and there are some great videos on u tube. For example if it is clutch control that you would like a better understanding of, type in “driving lesson clutch control”  The more time you spend researching about car control yourself, the quicker you will learn.


You may be studying for, or already have passed the theory test, so you should have a good understanding of the rules and regulations, road marking and signs but it’s more than that.  For example, knowing how to approach a roundabout and having the knowledge and understanding to be able to negotiate the roundabout correctly and safely.  The theory will not necessarily help you to fully understand this, so let’s say your next lesson is going to be roundabouts. Read up on this and/or check videos on u tube.  If you prepare for each lesson in this way, the sooner you will pass the driving test.


The Driving Test

The driving test is around 40 minutes long including the eyesight check and the show me tell me questions. You will be asked one question at the beginning of the test and one on the move.


The independent part of the driving test lasts around 40 minutes and you will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. The examiner will set this up for you.  1 out of every 5 tests will be asked to follow direction signs and you are allowed to ask the examiner if you are not sure of where you are going when following the sat nav or signs and don’t worry if you go the wrong way providing it’s safe.

The manoeuvres consist of you being asked to carry out one of the following:-Bay parking which is reversing into a bay and driving out or driving in and reversing out, parallel park or pulling up on the right and reversing for two car lengths.  You may also be asked to carry out the emergency stop. Check out driving test videos for more details

Taking The Driving Test in Your Car

You can take the driving test in your own car, or a parents’, or a family member’s or a friend’s car if you prefer.  It does not need to be a driving school’s car, but the car must be roadworthy and meet the standard required.


Don’t forget to take your provisional driving licence.

The accompanying driver must be over 21 and have held a full licence in the relevant vehicle category for at least three years.

The car must display L plates on the front and rear (L or D plates if you are in Wales).

You will need a extra interior mirror for the examiner to use. The stick on type accessory shops sell these.

All lights must be working with no warning lights on.  The tyres must be the same size, legal and in good condition.  You can’t have a space saver wheel fitted.

The car will need to be mot’d if over 3 years old, taxed and insured.  Check with the insurance company that you are covered on the driving test.

Make sure that the car you use meets all the standards required or the Examiner will not carry out the test and you will lose your fee.  For more details go to this link

Also check you understand the show-me-tell-me questions and you feel fully prepared for the driving test.  Check out the link below





Automatic Driving Lessons

autoLooking for automatic driving lessons in Stockport or the surrounding area? Well maybe I can help.   I have had a lot of enquiries lately for automatic driving lessons, but I only teach in a manual car myself.  I know a really good automatic driving instructor, Phil Bray.  He has run his automatic driving school for many years and has a great reputation within the driving school industry.  So if learning to drive in a automatic car is for you, give me a ring and I will put you in touch with Phil.

John   A Star Driving School   0161 480 2210 or email me

Driving Lesson Videos

There are lots of great videos on You Tube that will help you on your driving lessons  – here are just a few to get you started. Let me know if there are any driving lesson videos you would like to watch and I will download the video to this page for you.








Driving test nerves


Driving test booked! You feel ready, and importantly – your Driving Instructor feels you’re ready! But now the thought of taking your driving  test is scaring the life out of you.  This is entirely normal, you’re only human.  Most people feel nervous and indeed being a little nervous will help you to stay focused on your test.  However, you do need to be realistic. If you are overly nervous this could affect the outcome.   ( Main reasons for failing )

If you are feeling very nervous at the thought of the driving test, talk to your instructor about how you feel and if your test is close it may be a good idea to put it back a bit.

You should have already done some mock tests with your instructor.  You could ask your instructor to arrange a mock test with another instructor.   Remember, the “driving test is just like a mock test” and this will help you to feel a lot more relaxed and confident on the big day.

Its also a good idea to have someone sit in the back of the car on a lesson or two  (a friend or one of your parents).  Normally you will probably only have had your instructor sat next to on your lessons, so by having someone in the car as well as yourself and your Instructor, this will help you to feel more at ease with a different pair of eyes watching you.  Occasionally during the driving tests there could be a supervising  examiner sitting in the back of the car.  There is no need to worry if this happening on your test as they take no part at all in your test and they’re only there to make sure the examiner is carrying out the test correctly.

Don’t worry about the driving examiner they may look official with their clip board and the high vis vests (which they have to wear for safety reasons only).  Ignore the stories you may have heard such as “the examiner did not like me” or they are only allowed to let so many pass a day/week etc.  This is just not true and probably used as an excuse by someone who had failed their test.  The examiner may not talk to you much apart for giving you directions.  This is only to allow you to concentrate on your driving.  They are there to assess you driving just like your instructor will do when you are doing a mock test.  Don’t change your driving, just drive as you would with your instructor and try not to think on it as a test.  Try to  imagine that you are with a friend who you are giving a lift to and you are following their directions and instructions to your destination. Or, you could imagine the examiners voice is a satnat voice giving instructions to get to your destination.  In my experience, the driving examiners want you to pass and they would sooner give you good news that you have passed the test.  So long as you are driving to the standard required, which you should already be doing if you are taking the driving test then you will pass

  • Booking a morning test means that you will not have as long to think about it.
  • Don’t tell too many of your friends when you going to take the test as this could but you under more pressure.
  • Breathing exercises can help to keep you calm  –  breathe slowly in through your nose and then breath out through your mouth.
  • Don’t eat a big meal before your test as this can make you tired and sluggish.
  • Eat a banana as apparently they can help to keep you calm as they contain tryptophan (whatever that is)! Its a protein that your body turns into serotonin which helps you to relax and feel happier!!
  • Get a few good nights sleeps on the run up to your test so as to feel at your best on test day.

if you have any suggestions that work for you or you think may help other people to keep calm then please help by e -mailing the suggestions from the home page and I will include them to this post. Thanks John A Star


Main reasons for failing the driving test

On the link below are listed the top reasons for failing the driving test as a guide from the DVSA

(Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) but the main reason for failing the driving test is not being fully prepared. If you are prepared, you are far less likely to make any of the mistakes on the list.  You have to be honest with yourself. Do you feel confident when you drive on roundabouts, or on busy roads and are you confident doing manoeuvres without any help from your instructor? if not, work on any the parts of your driving that you feel you are weak on.  Have a few mock tests with your instructor and that way you will feel more confident and far less nervous on test day.  Please remember there is no such thing as a perfect driver and that is why you are allowed to make up to 15 minor faults (driver errors) on the driving test. Do be guided by your instructor but above all, be honest with yourself and you will then know when you feel ready to take your driving test.


If you have any questions or need advice about the driving test or driving lessons give me a ring John 0161 480 2210  A Star Driving School



Mature Lessons

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Are you in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 60s and would like to learn to drive for the first time? ( Beginners lessons)  Already had some lessons and would like to restart?(Refresher lessons)  Failed your driving test? (Test rescue) or would like to brush up your driving skills?

Are you concerned you’re a little too old to learn?

You are never too old to learn.  As a Driving Instructor, I have helped lots of mature people to learn to drive and go on to pass the driving test –  many, the first time; the oldest to date was aged 63.  In my experience as an Approved Driving Instructor, teaching the more mature learner, being older can be a big advantage. You often have better road sense and judgment skills, recognise potential hazards and take road safety more seriously. You may have been a passenger for many years and picked up more then you think.  If you have any concerns or worries about learning to drive, at any age, then give me a ring.

0161 480 2210

John A Star Driving School

Worried about learning to drive

Does the thought of learning to drive scare the life out of you? Well you are not alone!   Lots of people are scared or terrified.  They are worried even to the point of not  starting to learn to drive because of this fear. Just type into Google the phrase “worried or scared about driving lessons” and see how many results come up – literally thousands.

There can be lots of reasons for you feel nervous, like making a mistake, stalling the car or even the thought of crashing, or just being surrounded by all the pedals, gears, gadgets and gizmos. Rest assured, you have no reason to be nervous.  Remember you are learning to drive and may make a few mistakes or even stall the car.  If you do, I will always be patient.  I am never going to shout or get annoyed with you.  I will just explain to you why the mistake was made and help you to rectify the fault.  Also I will help with any fears or worries you have about learning to drive.  Also please remember the car you will be learning to drive in has dual controls so I can take over if things start  to go wrong to keep us and other road users safe.  By teaching and helping you in this way you will soon be enjoying your lessons and looking forward to the next one and be really glad that you did start to learn to drive.

As a qualified driving instructor with many years experience of teaching people to drive, I fully understand how you may feel.  I have helped lots of pupils just like you to get over their fears and to enjoy the lessons and go on to pass their driving test – many of them first time.  Check out my Testimonials

If you would like a chat about your fears or concerns, just give me a ring. 0161 480 2210   John             A Star Driving School

Warning Learner Drivers

Police warning over unlicensed driving instructors

Police are warning learner drivers to ensure instructors are properly qualified, after roadside checks found some giving lessons were unlicensed.

The Metropolitan Police told the BBC that if people were not taught properly it could impact long-term road safety.

The Driving Standards Agency has undertaken 30 roadside operations since 2011 to target illegal instructors in England, Scotland and Wales.

On average a suspected illegal instructor is reported to it daily.

They are defrauding people who believe they are a licensed instructor”

Vince Brady Metropolitan Police roads unit

Vasim Choudhary, a DSA fraud investigator, said: “They sticker up their car to look like reputable driving schools, and candidates presume they are legal when they are not.

A qualified instructor will teach you skills which will set you off on your driving career, so you can be a safe driver for life, as opposed to someone who might just teach you skills which are very limited,” he said.

The police are also worried that illegal driving instructors may not have been through the obligatory criminal background

A green badge shows that the instructor is fully qualified and undergoes regular DSA checks.

A pink badge indicates a trainee who can teach for six months while acquiring teaching experience.

The badges should carry the instructor’s photograph, a unique reference number and an expiry date.

Learner drivers are now being urged to check their instructor’s qualifications before getting into the car.


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