The DSA Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) examination

In the UK you are required by Law to be licenced or registered by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to give driving instruction for money or monies worth. The DSA is part of the Department of Transport. To become registered you are required to pass the DSA’s ADI qualifying examination which is split into three parts. The DSA can also licence trainee instructors to give driving tuition for a period of six months provided they are with a driving school and provided they have passed the first two parts of the ADI examination. The trainee licence was created by the DSA to help candidates get the necessary practical experience in preparation for the third part of the examination (i.e. the instructional ability test).

Part-One, the ADI Theory test

The Part-One ADI theory test is split into two parts namely the multiple choice test and the hazard perception test.

1. The multiple choice test
This test requires you to answer 100 questions on various instructional and motoring matters. Each question has four answers. Only one of the answers is correct. To pass this test you have to select 85 correct answers overall and 20 within any of the 4 subject bands in the 90 minutes allowed for the test. Each subject band contains 25 questions. The bands are as follows:

Band 1.
Road procedure. (25 Questions)

Band 2.
Traffic signs and signals.(5 Questions)
Car control. (10 Questions)
Pedestrians. (5 Questions)
Mechanics. (5 Questions)

Band 3.
Driving test. (10 Questions)
Disabilities. (5 Questions)
Law. (10 Questions)

Band 4.
Publications. (10 Questions)
Instructional technique.(15 Questions)

Unlike Part-Two and Part-Three you can take this exam as many times as you wish. Normally a Part-One test can be organised to take place within a couple of weeks of the booking date. The Part-One test is now provided on a computer, with a touch screen. You simply select the answer by touching the button on the computer screen next to the answer you think is correct. If you change your mind you can deselect the answer by pressing the button again. For people with dyslexia or other reading difficulties special arrangements can be made to have the questions and answers read out. Below are some example questions from band 1 for you to try.

Q1: When approaching a left hand bend the vehicle should be positioned:
A: towards the right of the lane.
B: just left of the centre line
C: towards the left of the lane.
D: in the centre of the lane.

Q2: The slowing down arm signal can be used to:
A: advise an approaching driver to slow down.
B: tell the following driver to slow down.
C: show your intention to stop at the side of the road.
D: advise an approaching driver of a speed camera.

Q3: Parking on the verge or footway:
A: is permitted only if an information sign advises it.
B: is never permitted.
C: is permitted if it will ease the traffic flow.
D: is permitted if the road is narrow.

Q4: When turning right at a junction where opposing traffic is also turning right it is generally safer to:
A: turn offside to offside.
B: let the opposing traffic turn in front of you.
C: let the opposing traffic turn first.
D: turn nearside to nearside.

2. The hazard perception test

This part of the theory test will start with a short tutorial video played on the computer screen that will explain how the hazard perception test works and what you are required to do. You would then be shown 14 video clips of approximately one minute each. There will be 15 hazards to find – at least one on each clip. However, one clip will have 2 hazards. The clips will not contain any sound – just like the old silent movies.

Each clip will start with a freeze frame of the start of the video and a count down from 10 will commence. At the end of the count down the clip will start to play and you will be required to click the mouse each time you see a potential hazard. To let you know that the program has registered your click a red flag will appear on a grey band across the bottom of the screen – one flag for each click you make in any particular clip. At the end of the clip all the flags will be removed before you start the next clip. Although each clip contains several potential hazards only the one that materialises into a real hazard and involves other road users is marked (i.e. that required the driver to take some form of action to avoid the hazard).

The score you obtain will be dependant upon how quickly you spot the potential hazard as it materialises. The time from when the hazard could be potentially seen on the screen to when the vehicle arrives at the hazard is the time frame or window used to determine your score. This window of time is divided into 5 equal segments. If you click the mouse while in the first segment (i.e. just has the potential hazard appears) you will obtain the maximum score of 5 points. If you click in the second segment of this window of time you will score 4 points, then 3, then 2 and then in the last segment just 1. This is accurate to one twenty fifth of a second. If you don’t click the mouse in this window of time you will score nothing in respect to that hazard.

If you try to cheat the system by clicking the button repeatedly the program will pick this up by looking at the number of clicks over the clip as a whole and the pattern of clicks. Within the scoring window no such checks are made and if you click several times in this window only the first click will be used to determine your score (i.e. the highest scoring click). There is a certain maximum number of clicks permitted but this figure is well over the potential hazards that anybody could reasonably perceive. If the program detects that you may have been cheating a message window will appear at the end of the clip letting you know that an irregular clicking activity was detected and that as a result the score for that clip will be zero.

When the clip ends the screen will turn black for a few seconds before the freeze frame for the next video clip appears and the count down commences again warning you to get ready. This pattern is repeated until all 14 video clips have been shown.

At the end of the hazard perception part of the theory test you will be given the option to complete a customer care survey if you so wish. You will then be directed to leave the room and collect your score for the 2 parts of the exam. The maximum score that can be obtained for the hazard perception part of the theory test is 75 (i.e. 15×5). To pass the hazard perception part of the ADI’s theory test you must obtain a score of 57 or more. To pass the theory test you must pass both parts. If you fail either part you are required to take both parts of the test again.

Part-Two, the driving test
The Part-Two driving test is almost identical to the L test except that you are required to complete all of the set manoeuvres. Consequently, the exam is a little longer. You are also required to read a number plate at an extra 23 feet (with glasses if normally worn). If you make any actually or potentially dangerous mistakes you would fail either test. The difference is in the minor mistakes that you are allowed. On the L test you are allowed to make up to 15 minor driving faults before you fail. On the Part-Two test you are only allowed to make 6. Also the examiner will be more critical of what constitutes a minor driving fault.

The waiting time for a Part-Two test is usually between 6 to 8 weeks and cannot be booked until the Part-One test has been passed. Because of these waiting times there is little point in taking intensive training for this part of the examination. You are only allowed three attempts at the Part-Two test. If you fail the third attempt you are required to start again by taking the Part-One test. You are also required to wait 2 years from the date that you passed the Part-One test.

Part-Three, the instructional test
The purpose of Part-Three is to test your ability to instruct. The examiner does this by pretending to be a learner driver. He or she will give you some background information so that you can determine what needs to be taught next. The examiner will then go into role and act just like a learner driver at the stage he or she described. You are then required to give the appropriate lesson to him or her.

The examiner will in fact play two roles. During the first half hour of the test he or she will play the role of a learner driver learning a topic for the first time. Consequently, you would start the first lesson with an explanation of the task you wanted them to complete. You would then help the learner to put this into practice. After the first half hour the examiner will stop the first lesson and go on and explain what he or she wanted for the second lesson. In the second lesson the examiner always plays the role of a learner driver nearing test standard who still has some problems to sort out. It would be your job to find out precisely what those problems were. You would then proceed to cure them.

Based on the lessons given the examiner would determine whether the following criteria had been satisfied:

Instructional Points
Did the candidate cover all the necessary key points satisfactorily?

Core Competencies
Identification of faults: Did the candidate spot the majority of the faults committed?
Fault analysis: Did the candidate establish the reasons for the faults?
Remedial action: Was the candidate able to cure the faults?

Instructional Techniques
Level of instruction: Did the candidate give the right amount of support?
Planning: Was the instruction and lesson conducted in a logical manner?
Control of lesson: Did the candidate exhibit confidence?
Communication: Was the candidate easily understood?
Q/A Technique: Did the candidate use questions to help understanding?
Feedback/Encouragement: Did the candidate motivate the learner?
Instructors use of controls: Did the candidate use as necessary?

Instructor Characteristics
Attitude and approach to pupil: Was the candidate friendly but professional?

The waiting time for a Part-Three test is usually between 6 to 8 weeks and cannot be booked until the Part-Two test has been passed. Because of these waiting times there is little point in taking intensive training for this part of the examination.

You are only allowed three attempts at the Part-Three test. If you fail the third attempt you are required to start again by taking the Part-One test. You are also required to wait 2 years from the date that you passed the Part-One test. Once you have passed Part-One you are required to pass Part-Three within two years of that date otherwise you are required to start again.

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