THE PRACTICAL TEST

Congratulations, you've got your CBT and Theory Test pass certificates and now it's time for the Practical Test. Hoping to pass this without any training is forlorn because you won't be prepared for it and won't know what to expect - it'll be a waste of the fee!

Gone also are the days when this was a case of riding round the block one way whilst the examiner walked it in the opposite direction and only had you in sight for a few seconds before you disappeared around the next corner. These days it's much tougher and needs to be to ensure riders are relatively safe on our busy and congested roads.

The type of licence you will require determines what size (c.c.) bike you will use for the test. This and other formal matters should be sorted out with you by your training school before the test date. When you arrive for the Test appointment you will be expected to have your CBT and Theory Pass Certificates, your driving licence and some positive proof of identity i.e. a passport. When the paperwork is complete you will be fitted with one of the Test Centre's radios and it's off outside to start the Test. At that stage you will be expected to be able to read a standard size car number plate from the appropriate distance so don't forget your glasses or contact lenses if you need them and don't forget to wear them throughout the Test!

Somewhere around the Test course the Examiner will ask you to perform a hill start; an angled start; a u-turn and an emergency stop. These will be practised in detail during your lessons. In addition to these specific exercises the Examiner will be marking you upon smooth and correct operation of all the controls, balance and steering, observation and awareness, correct and appropriate use of indicators/signals, positioning, hazard perception as well as, aptitude and attitude.

Back at the Test Centre, the Examiner will ask you one or two basic motorcycle-related questions such as, "What effect will carrying a pillion passenger have on your bike and what adjustments may be necessary?", and you will then be advised whether you have passed the Test or failed. The Examiner will go through a test report with you drawing attention to any faults that may have been noticed and, if appropriate, the reasons why you have failed. These faults should be discussed with your instructor so that they may be rectified.

If you passed, well done! But hold on, the amount of knowledge, skill and experience necessary to pass the test is not enough. The first 12 months after the Test is when you are at your most vulnerable. For safety sake - your own and other peoples' - please go on to take further training.

If you failed, don't worry, work with your instructor on the faults picked up by the Examiner and have another go!