This is the section that makes folk twitch; the Multiple Choice is a breeze if you’ve learned your stuff, but there’s a random element to the Hazard marking that can cause unnecessary anxiety.
In the Hazard section of the test, you will be able to click potential hazards as you see them, just as you observe them on the road (e.g. you ease off the gas, mirror check). So don’t hold back – you won’t be marked down for a potential hazard click, (as long as you don’t see every junction and pussycat as a hazard, mind!). You get the marks for responding to a potential hazard that changes into a developing hazard; something causing you to take action – brake, change direction, sometimes even speed up.
As mentioned before, real road time helps your judgement of these things vastly, so get a bit of time in a car before you book your Theory.
After the Multiple Choice bit, you’ll be allowed a little breather of about 3 minutes to unstick yourself and stretch before the Hazard section. Use this time to relax and then re-focus your concentration. Adjust your seat so there are no reflections from overhead lights on your screen. Most Test Centres give you the option of either mouse click (left or right button) or touch screen for the Hazard ‘clicks’, so play around with the example vids until you’re comfortable.
The real life driving translation of a high score mouse/screen click, very roughly, would be:
Spot potential hazard (First click, you’re on the way to a score 5)
Ease gas, mirror (First click score 4)
Realise hazard is developing. Decide on appropriate action, mirror (Second click, 5-4, First click score 3)
Take action (if Second click, score 4-5, First click score 2)
During action (First click score 1 to 0)
Although the DSA say the Hazard section isn’t about reaction time, but observation, some hazards in their vids have a very short score window from potential to developing hazard; concentration will do the job.
Don’t worry if you have a fit of accidental finger twitch because you’re tense, and get the ‘You dun cheat, you worm.’ screen – you’ll make up your score in the next vid. Deep breath, relax. And on to the next.
On Fire’s particular favourite Hazard Perception practice DVD is Driving Test Success (latest version) – it covers all the Test categories, and has sufficient length to ensure you don’t memorise everything too soon, hehee.
Be cautious about ‘free’ hazard perception tests online; they’re worth seeking out, bookmarking and running through occasionally to add variety. However, these folk want to sell their software, and we’re beginning to suspect that some may mark you a little lower on your ‘free’ online test to make you go ‘OMG, I’m rubbish! I must buy your DVD.’ type thing.
Don’t fuss too much about software that boasts pin-sharp resolution for their hazard clips; the clips you’ll get on your actual test are adequate for you to see signs, markings and obstructions well in advance, but are by no means high definition.
You were probably too hyped to properly read the sheet of rules the Test Centre gave you before you went into the test room. There’s a bit in the middle that says summat like; ‘We sometimes ask you to answer additional, optional questions once you’ve completed your test, which won’t count towards your score. This is so the DSA can test new questions and videos.’
If you’re asked, at the end of your test, to run these optional questions/vids, it’s probable that you’ve passed. The DSA aren’t going to test new vids/Qs on folk who’ve failed, now, are they?
You’ll likely know, in yourself, if you’ve done well, so don’t go ‘Oh noooooooooo!’ if you don’t get the optional stuff, as it seems to be randomly selected.
At the very end, they’ll probably ask you to answer a few ‘customer satisfaction’ questions. Do them – it’ll give you a few minutes to ‘come down’, and prepare yourself for your result, good or bad.
The On Fire for Driving Team