The Qualifying Process

Before embarking on any educational course it’s useful to have an idea of what qualification involves and an accurate overview of the process before you begin so that you can ascertain whether training to become an ADI is right for you or not.

To become an ADI you have got to take three exams. These are known as Part 1 (Theory) Part 2 (Driving) Part 3 (Instructional). Below we will give you an overview of the 3 tests, including a brief description of what you can expect from each and how they are marked.

Part 1 Theory Test

This test will take around 1 hour and 45 minutes and will include:

  • Multiple choice questions
  • Hazard perception
  • Multiple choice questions

You will be asked to answer 100 questions in total. There will be 4 categories, each with 25 questions. The categories are as follows:

  • Road procedure
  • Traffic signs and signals, car control, pedestrians, and mechanical knowledge
  • Driving test, disabilities and the law
  • Publications and instructional techniques

The question and several possible answers will appear on the computer screen. Some will require more than one answer. You can move between questions and flag any which you feel you want to come back to later. You will be allowed 90 minutes in total to complete the multiple choice section.

How the multiple choice scores work

To pass the multiple choice part of the test you must get both:

  • An overall score of more than 85 out of 100
  • At least 20 out of 25 in each of the 4 categories

Hazard perception

You will be shown a clip of how the hazard perception test works. You will then be shown 14 clips that feature every day road scenes. There will be:

  • 1 developing hazard in 13 clips
  • 2 developing hazards in 1 of the clips. A developing hazard is something that may cause you to take some sort of action, such as a change of speed or direction.

How the scoring works

You can get up to 5 points for each hazard. You will need to score at least 57 point out of 75 to pass this part – and the earlier you notice a hazard and respond, the higher you will score.

Part 2 Driving Test

The part 2 driving ability test includes:

  • An eyesight test
  • Vehicle safety questions
  • A test of your driving ability


The eyesight test

You will have to read a number plate from a distance of:

– 26.5 metres for vehicles with the new style number plate

– 27.5 metres for vehicles with the old style number plate

You must use glasses or contact lenses during the whole test if you require them to read the number plate. You will fail the test if you don’t pass the eyesight test. This will count as 1 of your 3 attempts you are allowed at the Part 2 test.


Vehicle safety questions

You will be asked 5 vehicle safety questions, these are also known as ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

The examiner will ask you:

  • 3 ‘show me’ questions, where you will have to show how you will carry out the vehicle checks
  • 2 ‘tell me’ questions, where you will explain how you would carry out the vehicle checks

You will incur a driving fault for each incorrect answer you give. You will get a serious fault and fail the test if you answer all 5 questions incorrectly.


Driving ability

You will have to show the examiner all of the following:

  • Expert handling of the controls
  • Use of correct road procedure
  • Anticipation of the action of other road users, and then taking the appropriate action
  • Sound judgement of distance, speed and timing
  • Consideration for the convenience and safety of other road users
  • Driving in an environmentally friendly manner

You will drive in varying road and traffic conditions, including motorways and dual carriageways where possible.



  • Move away straight ahead or at an angle
  • Overtake, meet or cross the path of other vehicles
  • Turn left and right hand corners
  • Stop the vehicle as in an emergency
  • Drive in reverse and enter limited openings to the right and left
  • Reverse park the car into a space behind a parked car
  • Reverse park into a parking bay
  • Turn the car to face the opposite direction using forward and reverse gears


Independent driving

You will have to drive without turn by turn directions from the examiner for about 10 minutes.

You will have to follow either:

  • Traffic signs
  • A series of directions given to you before you set off
  • A combination of both


Your test result

There are 3 types of faults which can be marked:

  • A dangerous fault – involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
  • A serious fault – could potentially be dangerous
  • A driving fault – not potentially dangerous but if you make the same fault throughout your test it could become a serious fault

Pass mark

You will pass the test if you make:

  • No more than 6 driving faults
  • No serious or dangerous faults

You will only have 3 attempts at the test – if you fail your 3rd attempt you will have to start the process over again.

Part 3 Instructional

You will have to give practical instruction to the pupil:

  • A partly trained pupil
  • A pupil who is at test standard
  • A qualified driver taking development training


Your instruction

Your instruction should be tailored to the standard of the pupil.

You are allowed to:

  • Ask the pupil questions to find out more about their knowledge
  • Use lesson plans and training aids
  • Refer to notes or subject headings

You should:

  • Keep any briefing or stationary instruction short
  • Be prepared for the pupil to ask questions


How you are assessed in the test

You will be assessed on 3 main areas during your test:

  • Core competencies
  • Instructional techniques
  • Instructor characteristics


Core competencies

The examiner will assess how well you:

  • Identify and prioritise faults
  • Analyse and explain faults
  • Give instruction to correct faults
  • Instructional techniques

The examiner will also assess how well you:

  • Match your level of instruction to the ability and experience of the pupil
  • Plan the lesson
  • Control the lesson
  • Communicate with the pupil
  • Use question and answer techniques
  • Give feedback and encourage the pupil


Instructor characteristics

The examiner will assess whether you:

  • Have a relaxed and friendly manner, but aren’t over familiar
  • Appear confident, and are able to fill your pupil with confidence in a patient and tactful way


 Your test result

At the end of your Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) Part 3 test, the examiner will grade your performance.

The grade for your standards check will be:-

42 or above will get you a pass with an A
31 to 41 you will pass with a B
Below 31 will be deemed as an unsatisfactory performance


Part 4 Business?

So this is it – you are a fully qualified ADI. Congratulations – you now have the opportunity to become a self-employed businessperson!

You are now responsible for marketing the business, pupil recruitment, taking care of your accounts, writing business plans, in-car selling – to name just a few. These are the skills that you are not taught as part of your ADI training, as all you learn with most training companies how to teach pupils to drive.

If this all sounds rather scary then relax – as help is at hand when you train with Geoff Capes. We will start the training process of turning you into a business person as a matter of course – as we believe this is crucial to your success as a driving instructor. After all, however passionate you may be about helping others to learn to drive, the main reason you are entering this profession is to make money – and without business acumen, you can’t experience success and make a financially viable living as a driving instructor.

With us you will have sessions with Geoff alongside your Part 3 training, during which we help you develop into a savvy self-employed businessperson and enable you to start the process of running a driving school business. I will give you the benefit of my 17 years’ experience of running a driving school business – imparting my knowledge and invaluable tips and tricks gained over my time in the industry.

Interested in becoming your own boss? Learn more about qualifying with us by getting in touch – or alternatively for more about life as an ADI why not order your FREE copy of Geoff’s handy book?

Sign up for our FREE book – “Life as a working Driving Instructor”

“What is it like when you are working as a driving instructor and would it fit in with the lifestyle you are looking for?
I wrote this short book to give you a taste of what it is really like to work as a driving instructor. I created the book as a true account of life behind the wheel, giving my potential students a clear picture to help them decide whether working as a driving instructor is really for them. In this book you will learn what to expect from a career as a driving instructor, a few tips, the highs, the lows and everything in-between.” – Geoff Capes, Geoff Capes Instructor Training

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