How to Prepare for Your Driving Test: Top 5 Tips

Having been a qualified driving instructor ( until my illness took over) I know how difficult it can be for anyone to transition from a provisional to a full driving licence, the driving test itself can often be a very daunting prospect. Both the theory test and practical test are actually very straightforward, but the pressure often makes these tests more difficult than they should be. My son has recently passed his theory test and hopefully will do his practical test quite soon ( when he gets a break from uni).

So, If you’re taking a driving test soon, these next five tips will help you prepare better in no time.

Take Advantage of Online Mock Driving Tests

There are many ways you can prepare for a driving theory test. You can read one of the available books on the UK driving test and learn more about the highway code and other knowledge. You can also use the tests at the end of those books to practice. The best way to prepare for the actual test, however, is to take a mock test online. I always advised my pupils to do what they think will be enough ( especially with teenagers!) and then do lots more!

There are a lot of sites that offer mock driving theory tests for you to try. Taking the online tests will help you prepare for the actual test mentally too, which is why it’s the best way to get ready. You can learn from your mistakes more effectively this way.

Timing the Test

Never take a driving test at a time when you feel stressful. For instance, you shouldn’t take a driving test on the same week as a school exam or any other stressful events in life. You have all the time in the world to get the driving license you need, so time your test correctly.

Get Enough Sleep

As mentioned before, it’s the pressure of taking the test that often make you fail. The test itself is very easy to handle. It is very normal to be nervous, but do not allow the nerves to take over, think of all the people already driving on the road they have all had to pass the test! To avoid feeling stressed on the day of the actual test, get enough sleep the night before. You should also avoid drinking too much coffee (or worse, energy drinks) before the test. The high level of caffeine will make you feel more agitated than usual.

Get There Early

Arrive at the test centre early. There is nothing worse and more off putting than rushing through the test centre doors with only minutes to spare.  Give yourself at least 20 minutes to get used to the test environment and catch your breath. You will feel so much better when the test starts and you’ll have no trouble at all passing the test with flying colours.

Getting to the test centre early will also help you prepare for the test mentally. Take deep breaths and visualise completing the test. Be positive about it and you’ll feel so much better – and so much more prepared – for the driving test. The examiners are normal people ( I know it’s hard to believe!), they are not there to fail you I promise.

Take the Necessary Documents

Last but not least, make sure you have the right documents with you. Most of the time, you need your driving license and your theory test pass certificate. Don’t wait until right before you leave for the test centre to prepare these documents. Have them ready the night before. If you do not have the appropriate documents you will not be able to take the test, so please be prepared.

You are allowed to bring someone to the test. If your child is taking their driving test, it is always a good idea to go with them and sit in the back of the car during the practical test. You’ll be providing a lot of moral support and your kids will have an easier time in general.

If you have a specific tip that helped you on the day of your test please share it with us as it could help someone else who is feeling very nervous about their upcoming test.

A hidden treasure found in Greenwich!

I stumbled upon this little hidden treasure in Greenwich a week or two ago. I hadn’t been down to the market ( which I love to mooch around) for quite some time, but I was chaperoning my son on a photo shoot there and he happened to be in the next shop!

Mighty Fine Choc and Fudge!

Granted it doesn’t look too eye grabbing, however, this is a new venture after starting on a stall in Spittlefield Market. This is their 1st premises and they do make everything FRESH in their kitchen here!

This is what caught our eye initially……….

YES THAT IS A BATHTUB FULL OF MINI EGGS!!!!!

Enough to entice anyone in I should think. They have a great competition running at the moment (probably a week or two left) where you have to guess how many eggs in the tub……………BRILLIANT!

Try a guess on their Twitter feed @chocandfudge

I’m going to guess but send my OH if I win as he weighs much more than me LOL

I cheekily asked to try some of their signature makes, salted caramel fudge, milk and dark chocolate, chocolate fudge to name a few……………………………..

but check out the pics below to see some of the more unusual makes

just some of the fudge on display and freshly made
Check out some of the more unusual makes
Some freshly made just out of their kitchen!!!

I feel it is important to help promote local businesses in these far from easy economic times, especially one as ‘feel good’ as this little treasure.

The staff were VERY friendly and in fact encouraged you to come in and have a taste test before you buy- that’s how strongly they believe in their products.

Their name basically says what it is on the tin…………...Mighty Fine Choc and Fudge………in my humble opinion it totally lives up to the name. My OH totally endorses their dark chocolate saying it was much nicer than the regular Bournville! I am a total milk chocolate snob with only Galaxy and Diary milk meeting my high criteria, however, I tried their milk chocolate and biscuit slab which just melted in my mouth leaving no bitter cocoa aftertaste and absolutely went down a storm with a good ol’ cuppa.

My favourite had to be the Salted Caramel fudge, as fudge should be, sweet and sickly but oh soooooo moreish! So if you are watching your weight this probably isn’t the shop for you , but for a total treat or a great pressie for someone with a sweet tooth then this is the place to go.

I will go back, in fact I have to go back as they had told me about one of their signature makes that they unfortunately didn’t have at the time…………..CHOCOLATE BACON!!!

Yes you heard it here first, chocolate bacon??? I can see how this would work but I will DEFINITELY need to try.

Be warned @chocandfudge I will be back!

 

DISCLAIMER: I was not approached by this company for a review I simply saw it and tried and wanted to promote. I have not received any payment for this review and the opinions are totally my own view!

 

Back to earth with a bump!

Yes, the story of my Mum in Meltdown life.

I have spent the last 3 weeks swanning around looking feeling pretending to be a yummy mummy in my brand new Volvo XC60 ( on loan only).

I have enjoyed my bum being warmed by the heated seats, the fantastic CD/DVD/Digital TV, the cruise control, the comfortable leather interior the genius Blindspot indicators and even the reversing camera. I have driven safely across over 400 miles both on longer journeys and lots of urban shorts, with the standard safety that Volvo insists on (as most of the safety features, Blis, side impact, extra airbags etc coming as standard).

Yet as I look out of my window today I see this…….

YES it’s the empty space where it used to sit!! They came yesterday and took it from me………my time with it was up *weeps into my coffee*!!

As you can see I will be back to driving my regular family ‘cab’ car again, with a very cold bum and no fancy extras.

Hey, who was I kidding anyway…………..me- a yummy mummy?…………dream on!

THANK YOU VOLVO FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRY DRIVING IN STYLE AND SAFETY…………………IT’S BEEN FUN!

Live Interactive tech-IQ Test!

Go on admit it would you know what tablet does what, and I’m not talking about the kind you get at the chemist!!

I for one struggle with new technology, I am a true ‘technophobe’, always thinking that if I try something new I will probably break it! In fact it is sad to admit that I rely on my OH and my 14yr old to get me through anything I need for the blog………….ssssshhhhhhh don’t tell anyone.

So here is your chance to find out all about the latest gadgets and which one does what!

Log onto our live and interactive Tech-IQ test, with Pollyanna Woodward where she will be testing the nation’s tech savviness and advising us on the latest ‘must have’ gadgets in the run up to… Christmas!

 

Show date: Friday 16th November 

Show time: 2.30pm

Do you know what Wifi means? Or how to Tweet? Can you download music, upload photos and use an app?  Do you know the difference between a tablet and a laptop? And is it true that the younger you are the more attuned to technology you are?

The internet, smart phones, tablets and social media are now categorised as essential to millions of us, but just how much do you really know about gadgets and the big World Wide Web we orbit? Moreover, have you ever tested your Tech-IQ to figure out whether the products you buy and use are actually suited to your technical ability and lifestyle?

With gadgets such as tablets continuing to dominate our Christmas wish list this year, how many of us actually know our Nabi from our Nexus or will match the tablet with the task?

And should we be taking into account our technical ability when we are buying new products or putting them on our Christmas list? Luckily for us, one of the UK’s largest technology retailers Argos, has teamed up with Pollyanna Woodward to help match up which tablets suit what Tech IQ.

To find out how her own family compare, Pollyanna will be joined by her mother for a family tech-off.

 So how good are you?

Log onto our live and interactive Tech-IQ test with Pollyanna Woodward, where we will be testing how tech-savvy you actually are and what tablets and gadgets will suit you and your family

 

 Pollyanna Woodward joins us live online at http://www.studiotalk.tv/show/live-techiq-test on Friday 16th November at 2.30pm

Click here to submit questions before the show http://www.studiotalk.tv/show/live-techiq-test

FOR MORE INFO CHECK THE WEBSITE

argos.co.uk

 

OMG How the other half live!

No I haven’t won the Lottery ( I’m still waiting on that) however, I am getting the chance to drive something you may buy if you did win the Lottery!

Ok I will explain. I was recently offered the chance to ‘Review’ a brand new car for 3 weeks!!! YES a brand new car, from the lovely Volvo people, with a full tank of petrol( or actually diesel in this case) and both myself and my OH fully insured to drive it.

Well lets face I would have been a complete mug to turn this opportunity down- wouldn’t I?

So this car was delivered to my door yesterday evening and the driver took me through a quick brief of all the gadgets, buttons and controls.

To say this car has been pimped is an understatement!!

The car itself is a Volvo XC60……………I realise that will probably mean nothing to most of you so I thought I would show you instead:

I want you to overlook the rather BRIGHT blue colour!

This was a quick snap taken when I went out in it today……………yes I have already put it to use! This picture does not really do it justice so I will be posting better ones over the next few weeks, as I will be posting about how ‘we’ as a family find the car for town journeys, shopping and days out, how family friendly it is, and how we all get on with the gadgets…………..and believe me there are many!!!

Sat Nav

CD and DVD player

Digital TV ( I know……….AMAZING!)

Cruise control

Bluetooth technology to sync my phone ready for hands free!

Sun Roof

Tinted back windows

Heated Seats people!!! HEATED SEATS

That’s before I start on the safety elements on the car- all of which I will go into in later posts. Today on my 1st run out I happened to notice a little orange light on the inside of the door opposite the wing mirror???? Now I kept seeing this light coming on and off and couldn’t work out why!! Then the penny dropped…………………..its a warning light indicating that someone is overtaking and in my blind spot!!! GENIUS

Now as an ex driving instructor some of the available gadgets do go against the grain at first sight- the reversing camera for one! I’m a true believer that if you going to drive a car then learn to do it properly without relying on anything to do it for you!! HOWEVER, I’ve got to say I found myself looking anyway as it comes on automatically……….so I may get converted yet.

So, to say I am a happy chappy is an understatement.

Notice the BIG smile………I didn’t actually realise I had colour co-ordinated myself to the car!!!! DUH

For the next 3 weeks I will be looking as though I’m living like the other (rich) half do!! Blimey, who knows I could make a ‘Yummy Mummy’ yet……………………………………………………..OK don’t hold your breath on that one.

Would you pass your driving test again?

Answer to that for most people would be a big fat NO!

I have been driving for 20yrs now and lots of things have definitely changed in that time. The roads are much busier, some the junctions now can be very confusing and now we are sign mad to the point that it can be difficult to take in all the information!!

I recently had the ‘opportunity’ *cough* to attend a Speed Awareness course ( thanks to being snapped doing 37 in a 30mph road!). I hold my hands up and at the time didn’t really think that was that bad as I am an ex driving instructor and generally drive defensively, however I was in a rush that particular day as my youngest was nearly late for a panto performance ( but I appreciate there are no excuses).

Anyway, I’m no snob but I was really expecting a room full of chav’s and boy racers with attitude! To my surprise everyone was just like me, and by that I mean normal ( whatever that is!), a range of ages and personalities.

We met our course instructors and I was hoping that we wouldn’t be quizzed too much.

I hate to admit it but I actually enjoyed it! They weren’t condescending or asked about what you were caught doing, and they were light hearted but definitely got their point across.

One of the best things they said that I know I will never forget is

‘If you went for an operation and the surgeon last trained 20 years ago……..would you be happy for him to carry out the surgery?’

Err NO!

Even though I went through driver instructor training a few years ago as well I was amazed at how much I had already forgotten! It truly is frightening.

The driving test is so difficult now and for a good reason. They need to know that the people they are putting out on the roads are safe. Even the theory test and hazard perception test could put some of us through our paces.

There were some videos to watch on the day and they were straight to the point, and put any thoughts of further speeding to rest. Even a few miles over the 30mph could prove catastrophic.

Most people there thought that the most dangerous roads would be the motorways but they would be very much mistaken. It’s our normal urban 30mph roads that have the most horrendous statistics for accidents, injuries and fatalities!

So how much of the Highway Code could you remember? if you were asked would you know the relevant stopping distances?

Check out this video with Quentin Willson below to see that you are not alone. There are lots of us around who have been driving for many years and have fallen into all the same old bad habits.

Interactive test Web TV show with Quentin Willson

So how many of the signs would you have recognised?

It’s amazing isn’t it- actually how little we can remember!

So I would urge anyone who happens to get snapped on a speed camera to take the course instead of the points on their license. For me if I had taken the points I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But after doing the course I have slowed down for the right reasons and I realise that even a few miles over the limit could mean fatalities and that I could not live with on my conscience……………………………..COULD YOU?

World Education Games

Are you smarter than a 10-year-old?

Lets face it most of us would like to think that we are, right? Well truth be told I struggle with my son’s yr 9 maths homework ( I’m better at spelling and literacy I think!), but thankfully my OH is good at maths so we get by with helping out with home works. So do you have a bright spark at home? How do you think they would fair against school children from across the world with maths, spelling and science?

This is what the World Education Games is trying to do.

 

To celebrate the World Education Games we put Britain’s best young Maths brains to the test against the general public and then the world famous ‘Human Calculator’
This March, hundreds of thousands of school children from around Britain will pit themselves against students from around the world to find the best young Mathematicians, spellers and Science brains in the universe during the World Education Games ( 6th– 8th of March).

The three-day global competition will test students during a variety of online games set against the clock and our best young brains will be battling for honours during World Spelling Day, World Science Day and the opener –  World Maths Day.

The games are being backed by world famous Maths entertainer Scott Flansburg AKA ‘The Human Calculator’ who holds the world record for the for adding the same number to itself more times in 15 seconds than a person could do with a calculator.

So to see how our British competitors are likely to fare during the World Education Games we challenged some of the big hopefuls to a ‘calculation off’ with ‘The Human Calculator’ as well as members of the public.

This originally started in 2007 with a World Maths day but has progressed since then with popularity to include spellings and science.The World Education Games are aiming to unite children from across the world in education and learning.

So take a look at the video below to see if you can answer some of the questions posed to people in the street!

Are You Smarter Than a 10 year old?

For more information visit the website at: http://www.worldeducationgames.com/

 

A nervous day!

Yes, it’s a very nervous day in my household today. It’s the day my youngest son’s 11+ results arrive on our doorstep!!

As the day has drawn closer I have noticed him getting more and more concerned about it. He is hoping to pass but we have tried to warn him that it doesn’t always go to plan and not to be too disappointed if he doesn’t get through.

However, what makes it worse is that he is a bright boy, he has the potential to pass, he has done some work towards it………………but there is never any guarantee.

Going on his work at home, if he finished the practise papers on time he then didn’t do very well. But if he concentrated and didn’t finish the paper on time ( quality rather than quantity) then he tended to get a good score!!!
On both of the test days he came out saying that he had finished the papers…………..not a great sign!!

But you just never know. We are not holding our breath as parents however, we are trying to prepare for the meltdown that will be if he doesn’t ‘pass’ the test. I know he will feel a failure, I know he will feel resentment against his brother ( who did pass a few years ago and attends the school my youngest really wants to go to) and I know tomorrow going into school will be hellish for him!!

You see most people have the opinion that he will pass, I’m afraid that they mistake his confidence (which he has in abundance) for ability! I think he feels under pressure because of this!

These are children who are only 10 or 11 years old. They are too young to have this much pressure. I know of many parents who openly talk about it all in front of them and therefore, the pressure of not being a ‘failure’ is all too apparent.

My post does not arrive until lunchtime…………………….my nerves may not stand it!

Little does he know that I will be steaming that letter open to find out the result before he opens it on his return from school!! I need to be prepared in order to deal with any of his disappointment straight away!!

On the other hand he may pass and be overjoyed……………………………who knows what the day holds.

Either way we will be treating him to dinner out to at least celebrate the fact it will all be over!!!!

11+ nerves

It’s 11+ tests tomorrow and I don’t know who’s more nervous…….mum and dad or the son who’s taking it!!!

We have a 13 yr old who has already gone through this who comfortably passed his and attends a really nice grammar school close by. This school is perfect for him as it is mixed and because he is a sensitive soul we thought it would be better for him. He loves it there ( as much as any boy ‘loves’ school!) and has made a great set of friends that from the beginning of year 7 to today in year 9 have all stuck by each other.

However, I think this makes it more difficult for the second child. He also wants to go to the same school as his brother, he has already had a look around and loves the drama department there ( as some of you may remember he is a budding ‘actor’!!). He is also a very capable child and has been in top sets for maths and literacy in junior school. But there is no guarantee that he will get through on the test!

He has worked hard towards it with his dad ( which we did with our older son) however, we have tried not to put too much pressure on him about it. Rightly or wrongly we never sent either of our boys to a tutor in order for them to pass. Any work they have undertaken over the summer has been worked through by my OH who seems to have the patience of a saint when it comes to school work!! We live on the border of Kent so the children can also apply to do the Kent 11+ too and I know some of the kids from his year have taken that on Saturday. He decided (just like my eldest) that he didn’t want to take this test as it would possibly mean that he would end up in a school out of our borough that he would have to travel to, and therefore lots of his friends would not be living close to him. So in the end we didn’t register him for that test as there would be no point sending him to a school he didn’t want to go to.

So now all his hopes are on the test tomorrow and Wednesday. He seems confident and we have confidence in him. But is it wrong to try and prepare him in case he doesn’t get through? That is what we have been doing. Trying to tell him it isn’t the end of the world if he doesn’t pass. It doesn’t make him any less capable than his brother. There is a lot of competition between them over the silliest of things so this really would cause a major upset!!

We certainly don’t want him to feel any sort of failure. We don’t want to be seen as treating him any different from his brother if he doesn’t get through.

So the next 3 weeks waiting for the results just won’t go quick enough!!! Talk about wishing your life away. As with his older brother we have told him that the letter will arrive and we will not open it as this will be his job when he gets home from school.
( What we won’t tell him is that we will have steamed the letter open at lunchtime when it arrives so we know the outcome before he gets his grubby mits on the thing!!)

And then the drama will start!! The next day at the school playground………….kids and adults alike all eager to hear if your child has passed or not!! Whispers behind peoples backs about the shock passes and ‘fails’ ( although no child at the age of 10 and 11 should be seen as a failure!!!) But that’s what it all comes down to with a lot of parents these days.

So on that note……

A HUGE GOOD LUCK TO MY SON AND ALL THE CHILDREN TAKING THE 11+ IN THE NEXT 2 DAYS