A Complete Guide to Getting your Learner’s License
Especially after experiencing an extended lockdown these past few months, you might too be grasping for any opportunity for extra freedoms. Taking the first steps to obtaining your learner’s license is not only a great pass time but an essential right of passage and life skill. I hope to give an overview of your journey to the L plates, especially in NSW. If you’re looking for specific information regarding the other states, please visit the government websites linked below.
The only requirement to book your learner’s license driver knowledge test (DKT) is that you are 16 years old on or before the test date.
1. Depending on where you live, the DKT bookings can close up very quickly. I recommend looking for an opening between one and three months before your birthday (or before when you intend to take the test).
2. Once you have booked and paid through the Service NSW website, you can start preparing for the Driver Knowledge Test. In my opinion, the test is very straightforward and should not take much study. Completing a few successful attempts of the online practice test here will be more than sufficient. There is also a bank of all questions that can be asked – this can be accessed here. While this isn’t necessary to know off by heart for the test, I found it helpful just to skim over.
3. Before the day of the test, you will need to gather the required documents. There are some guidelines provided below.
4. On the day of the test, you will need to bring your documents to the local Service NSW center, complete the DKT on their computers, pass an eye test, and finally get your photo taken. This process can vary in time, mine was relatively quick (45 minutes) but be aware that some centers have limited facilities and can take up to 3 hours. The DKT is the exact same format as the practice so there is absolutely no need to stress.
5. You will be given a temporary license paper while your actual card is shipped off. This should arrive within 10 days.
Three documents need to be brought on the day. The first is this form filled out. The second document has to be from List 1. This list can be found on the official website linked above but is usually an Australian passport or birth certificate. The final document must be from list 2. This is usually a medicare card or credit card.
If you need glasses or contacts, bring them. You need to pass the eye test and there would be nothing worse than getting through everything only to have to reschedule.
Your photo will be taken – it is completely up to you how you dress – just be aware of this. In terms of the actual requirements of the photo, hair cannot be covering your eyebrows due to the facial recognition software. Fringes should be pinned back in other words.
The last thing to remember is that you won’t be driving on the test day. This may be self-explanatory but it is a good idea to let your parents know you won’t magically be able to drive home from the test center.
Once you pass
If you don’t pass the first time around, reschedule it and try again. This is okay! When you do get your learner’s license, though, there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Download a logbook app. I use this one and find it so much easier to have everything done automatically. This also prevents the issue of losing your log book or forgetting to put in hours.
2. 100 day hours and 20 night hours are required. Start practicing driving in the dark through routes you are comfortable and familiar with
3. When you eventually get to take the provisional test, you will be in a different car with a different supervisor. It’s a good idea to switch between cars, supervisors, and routes often to keep you alert and practice for the second step towards a full license.
4. Book a keys2drive lesson to get some professional advice and experience. It is a free program run by the government and is really helpful at the 5-10 hour mark.
Not quite ready to take the wheel? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered as a passenger with our Guide to Surviving a Road Trip
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