Approved Driving Instructor Training – What is involved.


In order to become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) you are required to pass three examinations.

Part 1:

The first is the Theory Exam. This exam is 100 multiple choice questions divided into 4 bands. The pass mark is 85%, but you must achieve 80% in each of the following 4 bands:

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

Also included in the Theory Exam is a hazard perception test. This involves watching 14 clips of which there are 15 hazards. When you see a developing hazard, you have to click the mouse, and then you click the mouse once it develops again into a hazard.

Because of the wide range of subjects needed to be covered on the part 1 exam, it is essential to have some training for parts 2 & 3 before taking the part 1 exam. This will greatly help your chances of passing, and will also speed up the process of training.

Part 2:

The practical test of Driving Ability lasts for about 1 hour. It consists of the following:

The eyesight test – You must be able to read a number plate from 27.5 metre

‘Show me, tell me’ questions

You’ll be asked 5 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. These test that you know how to carry out basic safety tasks. You’ll be asked:

  • 3 ‘tell me’ questions at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • 2 ‘show me’ questions while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

You’ll get a driving fault for each incorrect answer you give.

You’ll get a serious fault and fail the test if you answer all 5 questions incorrectly, or if you lose control of the car while answering any of the ‘show me’ questions.

Your general driving ability

You’ll have to show the examiner all of the following:

  • expert handling of the controls
  • use of correct road procedure
  • anticipation of the actions of other road users and then taking 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’ll drive in varying road and traffic conditions, including motorways or dual carriageways where possible.

You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

What else must I be able to do in order to pass?”

 Reversing your vehicle

The examiner will ask you to do 2 of the following exercises:

  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • reverse into a parking bay and drive out
  • drive into a parking bay and reverse out
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic

Independent driving:

You’ll have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either:

  • directions from a sat nav
  • traffic signs

The examiner will tell you which you have to do.

“What sort of things might I fail on?”

You must drive positively in a brisk business—like way. You should aim to drive as you normally do and not try to put on an act for the examiner. You must drive safely and comply with the legal speed limits.

Some common causes of failure include:

  • failing to make progress (particularly on dual—carriageways and motorways) when safe and proper to do so
  • failure to avoid or correct skidding during the emergency stop exercise
  • failure to use effective all round observation during the manoeuvres (only using mirrors is not acceptable)
  • inconveniencing other road users
  • thoughtless or misleading use of signals
  • not taking effective observation at junctions including those controlled by traffic lights.

This is only a small selection of faults. There are many more reasons for failing the test, but these are the most common.

Part 3:

“What will I have to do to pass the Test?

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency examiner will watch you give a client-centred driving lesson lasting about an hour to one of your pupils.

  • The examiner will look for evidence that you meet the national standard for driver and rider training.

 Your pupil:

  • Your pupil can be a learner or a full licence holder.
  • They can’t be an approved driving instructor (ADI) or someone else who is preparing to take the ADI part 3 test.
  • You can take your trainer or mentor with you, but they can’t take part in the lesson.

What you’ll be marked on:

You’ll be marked on 17 areas of competence that are grouped into 3 categories:

  • lesson planning
  • risk management
  • teaching and learning strategies

The 17 areas of competence are listed in the ADI part 3 test report form, which the examiner will fill in at the end of your test.

  • You’ll get a score from 0 to 3 for each of the 17 competencies, which are added up to work out if you’ve passed the test, and what your grade will be.

Your test result:

After you give the lesson, the examiner will discuss your performance and give you your result. You’ll get your grade, along with your completed approved driving instructor (ADI) part 3 test report form.