Ashley School of Motoring - Tips and Techniques


The internet is great for finding out how to do things but there is, unfortunately, as much misinformation as there is good quality advice.   I have been asked all sorts of questions as a driving instructor over the years, everything from "How many lessons do I need?" to "Roundabouts scare me - what can I do?".   So I have created this page providing answers to common questions, useful tips and techniques for dealing with all sorts of issues.   There is a lot of information here and I hope you find it useful.   If you have any questions not answered below, drop me an email and I will do my best to answer it.



  • Do you teach automatic?
  • No. Sorry I only teach manual at the moment.    I can recommend a couple of automatic driving instructors so if you drop me a line I will text you their numbers.

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  • How long will it take to pass my test?
  • The DVSA have calculated that it takes an average of 52 hours driving to pass your test which equates to about 35 lessons.   However, that does not mean that you need to have that many driving lessons.   Driving lessons are there to teach you the correct way to drive, but any practice you take in between lessons is going to be hugely beneficial for you and will reduce the amount of paid lessons that you need.   So now is the time to call on parents, relatives, even friends to let you drive them wherever they want to go.   Make sure that you have the right insurance cover of course.   Few of my pupils has ever needed more than 52 hours of tuition, a record of which I am rightly proud.

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  • Is it difficult to learn to drive?
  • There are really two parts to learning to drive, learning the basic skills i.e., how to control the car and then learning to anticipate and react correctly to other road users - this is known as road craft.   In reality you learn both these at the same time but you will find that once the basic skills are there you can concentrate more on road craft.   By learning the basic skills you will be able to drive; by learning and practising road craft, you will be able to drive safely both for yourself and other road users.   When you pass your test, I know that you will be embarking on a safe driving career - that is what I call job satisfaction!

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  • I need to pass my test by... is that possible?
  • Apart from trying to fit in the necessary practical lessons, you also need to make sure that you book and pass your theory test as soon as possible.   This is because you cannot book your practical test until you have passed your theory and the waiting time for practical tests tends to be quite long, usually around 8 weeks, although it is sometimes possible to get an earlier test if necessary.   Therefore passing your theory test as soon as you can is in your own interests and it also helps with your practical driving!

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  • Can you guarantee that I will pass first time?
  • Oh I wish that I could!   However, unfortunately life is never that certain and driving tends to mirror life.   All I can do is give you the very best tuition and make sure that you are fully prepared for your test.   Then it is down to you!

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  • What is your pass rate?
  • Pass rates can be misleading unless you know how they are calculated.    For that reason I no longer publish mine. Many instructors cite high pass rates but as the old saying goes..."There are lies, damn lies and statistics"   You can prove anything with statistics.   Furthermore, the number of hours tuition can be as important a guide as the pass rate since a high pass rate is more achievable if you force pupils to have a hundred lessons...   So beware of pass rates that look too good to be true...they probably are!

    I am confident that our tuition will get you to test at the right time.    For that reason, if you fail your first test we will halve our fee for the second test.    In the very unlikely event that you fail your second (or subsequent) test we will waive our fee entirely.    Note: Fees payable to the DVSA will still be due.

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  • Where can I take my test?
  • It is largely up to you.   Realistically you need to take it in the test centre that is closest to where you live.   The test centre I am most familiar with is the one at Gillingham although I have been known to use those at Maidstone and Sidcup.   Whilst I have no objections to tests in other centres, it will cost you more to attend on test day.   Pass rates, published by the DVSA vary slightly between test centres but my view is that it shouldn't make any difference to you as a driver.   If you are good enough to pass your test, you will pass wherever you take it.   As part of your tuition I try to familiarise you with the tricky parts of your chosen test area to ensure that you can handle anything that crops up.   Bear in mind also that if you live far away from your chosen test centre, you will spend a lot of lesson time driving to and from the relevant area leaving less time for practicing manoeuvres.

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  • What areas do you cover?
  • I am based in Rochester and prefer to teach pupils in the Medway area. This includes, but is not limited to Allhallows, Burham, Chatham, Cliffe, Cobham, Cuxton, Gillingham, Halling, Higham, Hoo, Rochester, Rainham, Snodland, Strood, Wainscott, Walderslade, Wigmore and Wouldham.   Other areas may be available, so please contact me if you want to check.

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  • I'm a bit nervous about driving. Can you help?
  • Yes!   Whether you are a complete novice or an experienced learner and are nervous about any aspect of driving I can help.   My pupils say that I am patient and very calming...and who am I to disagree?   Seriously though, regardless of how nervous you may be, I will be able to put your mind at ease.

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  • What is Passplus?
  • Passplus is a joint initiative between the DVSA and insurance companies to help new drivers become better drivers. It does this by providing additional training over and above that already completed and covers some new aspects of driving such as motorway and night driving.   It will take a minimum of 6 hours although it can be longer if your instructor deems it necessary.   At the end of the training you receive a certificate from the DVSA which may enable you to get discounted car insurance with certain insurers.

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  • How do I pay for my lessons?
  • You can pay me by cash at the beginning of the lesson or by Paypal or direct bank transfer in advance if you wish. I must get notification of your payment at least 24 hours prior to your lesson.

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  • How qualified are you?
  • The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) takes responsibility for ensuring that all driving instructors are qualified and able to teach to a pre-determined standard.   To be fully qualified, an approved driving instructor must pass 3 tests, a theory, a test of driving ability and a test of instructional ability.   The first two tests are similar to those undertaken by the pupil but obviously to a higher standard.   When an instructor passes the instructional ability test, they are given an initial grade, which can range from 4/4 to 6/6, 6/6 being the absolute best.   From time to time an instructor must also take a test which re-evalutates their ability to instruct.   This used to be called a 'check' test and was graded as a single figure, from 4 to 6 where 6 was the best.   I am curently a grade 5.    In April 2014 the DVSA changed the test, now called a 'standards check' and this one is graded as an A or a B.    You should make a point of asking any potential instructor what the results of their last check test were.

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