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Portsmouth Show & Tell Driving Test Questions

Once you have started a series of manual driving lessons, you may wonder what you should expect during your driving test. Will the test be based purely on my practical driving skills?

Yes, the DVSA (Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency) have designed the practical driving test to mainly focus and assess your driving skills. Although, they will also aim to test your knowledge of the manual vehicle as well as its various functions and general maintenance. They will aim to do this via a series of ‘Show me’ and ‘Tell me’ questions.  This is practiced throughout the UK particularly in Portsmouth and its surrounding areas of Lee on the Solent, Fareham and Waterlooville.  

There are 14 possible ‘Tell me’ questions which you can be asked at the test centre before you leave for your test:

1.  Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey. 
A) Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. The brakes should be tested as you set off and the vehicle should not pull to one side.  

2.  Tell me where you’d find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
A) You can find this in the manufacturer’s guide. You should use a reliable gauge, check and adjust pressures when the tyres are cold. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre and remember to refit the valve caps.

3. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.
A) The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or the top of the ear and as close to the back of the head as comfortable. Note: some restraints may not be adjustable.

4. Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have significant tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
A) There must be no cuts or bulges and a 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference of the tire.

5. Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
A) You need to explain that you’d operate the switch (turn on the ignition if necessary) and then walk around the vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

6. Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.
A) The warning light would illuminate if there was a fault with the anti-lock braking system.

7. Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
A) You will need to follow the same process as question 5.

8. Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.
A) Explain that you would operate the brake pedal making use of reflections in windows and doors or ask someone to help.

9. Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
A) If the steering becomes heavy, the system may not be working properly. Before starting your journey, two simple checks can be made.

Firstly, gentle pressure on the steering wheel maintained while the engine is started should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively, turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.

10. Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
A) Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check the warning light is on and explain use.

11. Tell me how you switch your headlights from dipped to main beam and explain how you know the main beam is on.
A) Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary) and check the main beam warning light.

12. Tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.
A) Identify dipstick/oil level indicator and describe the check of oil level against the minimum and maximum markers.

13. Tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.
A) Identify the high and low level markings on the header tank where fitted or the radiator filler cap and describe how to top up to the correct level.

14. Tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
A) Identify the reservoir and check against the high and low markings.

However, there are only 7 ‘Show me’ questions which you may be asked whilst you are completing your manual practical test:

1. When it is safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?

2. When it is safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?

3. When it is safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?

4. When it is safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?

5. When it is safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?

6. When it is safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?

7. When it is safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?

It looks like a lot of information to learn but please don’t panic! Your manual driving instructor will ensure that they cover this information with you and that you are comfortable answering these questions and completing the appropriate processes before your test date. Our Portsmouth driving instructors have many years’ experience and will show you where the specific controls and gauges are as they can vary from vehicle to vehicle.

It is also important to remember that your examiner will only ask you 2 of these questions, one ‘Show me’ question whilst you are on the test and one ‘Tell me’ question before you leave the test centre. You can not fail your driving test if you get one of the questions wrong but you can receive a minor fault. You can only fail your practical driving test if you gain 1 serious driving fault, more than 15 minor faults or if you get numerous faults in one particular area of your test.

Although, in the grand scheme of things, the ‘Show me/Tell me’ questions may not seem a vital part of your manual driving test, they are still an important source of information to learn. If or when you pass your practical test, these questions will help you in both your day to day driving as well as helping you identify potential problems with your vehicle and helping you to prevent possible accidents.

Please look over these questions and answers as often as you can to try and memorise as many as possible before your test!

To find out more about our manual driving lessons in Portsmouth & the surrounding areas click on our lessons page