28: The Part 3 Examination – How it works

Warning – this unit was last revised in 2007

Unit 28: The Part 3 Examination – How it works

Research Material:
The Driving Instructor’s Handbook
The examiner’s marking guidelines – ADI 1 (See Useful Links in the Instructor Training section)

First things first – you’re good at this job: you’ve been practicing, you’ve been studying, and you’ve put a hell of a lot of work in just to get this far. Well done.

On the day of the test, you should look your best, and so should your car – remember, you’ve got to teach this “new student”. There’s nothing wrong in hoping you might actually come across better than their normal instructor, so looking the part is a good place to start. Don’t have anything floating around in the back of the car that doesn’t need to be there. Have all of your teaching materials and references easily to hand. And as soon as you get to the test centre, put your L-plates on, you’ll need them for the first part of the test at least.

While you are waiting, put into practice all of those confidence techniques you suggest to your students. Don’t attempt to look through all of your PST briefings at this stage, you will know them well enough already, this is a time for making sure you feel as professional as you intend to be once you pass.

When the examiner calls your name, they will ask how you wish to be addressed, and they will ask you for:

  • Your letter of appointment
  • Your photo licence and paper counterpart
  • (if you have an old style licence, have your pink badge to hand as photo id)
    The examiner will ask you to sign the insurance declaration, and if you are working as a trainee on a pink badge, they will ask whether you have your Training Declaration (ADI21AT). If you do not have your Training Declaration, this will not be a problem for the test, but could cause problems with your Trainee Licence, so have it to hand.

    The examiner will then ask you to lead them to your car, and will take its details (registration number etc), and they may ask you a few questions about it. While they do this would be an ideal time to replace your pink badge in the windscreen if you needed it for photo id.

    The examiner will then explain how the test will be conducted, and give you the word picture describing the “customer” they will portray:

    “This is the test of your ability as an instructor, regard me as a pupil and instruct me in the same way as you would normally.
    It may be necessary for me to interrupt you from time to time. This could be because we are moving on to the next stage, or if time is running short.
    I will give you instructions and you can repeat them back to me just as you would with any other pupil. I may need to interrupt you to give a direction or to end the phase.
    Is that quite clear?”

    They will then continue to describe the customer they will be role-playing for the first phase, for example:

    “I would like you to call me dave, and I am at the partly trained stage. I would like you to instruct me on emerging at t-junctions. You should also correct any other driving faults you find. I have driven a car similar to this one before. My other instructor is on holiday. You can assume that we have already done the eyesight and licence checks. Do you have any questions?”

    During the first phase the examiner will often use their own first name, and they will then change this for the second phase.

    This is the point at which you should ask any “out of role” questions. Clarify what you understand the word picture to be, and find out the first few directions.

    At this point the handshake is usually in order! Introduce yourself, and like with any normal new customer, you’ll listen carefully to what they say. The examiner will assume the role of the “pupil” you will be teaching in the first phase of the test, usually they are a pupil who is new to you whom you are picking up from their place of work.

    The examiner will describe themselves in different ways according to which PST and Phase you are working on.

    Beginner Exercise 1: (Phase 1)
    The examiner will explain that as a pupil they have never sat in the driving seat before.

    Beginner Exercise 2: (Phase 1)
    The examiner will explain that they have had a lesson on controls, but have never moved off, and are unsure of when to use their mirrors.

    (In both of these PST’s the examiner will sit in the passenger seat, and will usually direct you to an appropriate area to undertake the “lesson”, they will usually stay in character e.g.: “everyone I know always has their first lesson on Windermere Road, I’ll tell you how to get there”.)

    Part Trained: (Phase 1)
    The examiner will explain that they have had some tuition, though the number of hours will not be quoted.

    Trained: (Phase 2)
    The examiner will explain that they may be about to take their L-test (tomorrow, in a couple of weeks, or simply thinking about it!), the precise number of lessons they have had will not be quoted, they may never have had formal lessons with an instructor.

    Full Licence Holder: (Phase 2)
    The examiner will explain that they are a full licence holder who might:
    Require development for a driving job
    Has been abroad for a couple of years
    Has not driven for some time, and now needs to commute
    Has difficulty with reverse parking as they were never taught it, and now find themselves needing to use it more often.

    Listen carefully to the word picture given to you by the examiner, and if you are at all unsure of what you need to teach, and to what level, ask questions.

    Certain PST’s, especially Meet, Cross and Overtake will be given as only a part of the PST, so be sure of what your “customer” is asking of you.

    Don’t worry about fitting a lesson which would normally take you an hour into the allocated 28 minutes. The examiner will make allowances if you over-run, and they will also pick things up quite quickly, in order to observe your teaching throughout the subject. Once the first 28 minutes is over, they will tell you the phase is complete and will tell you the next exercise, allowing you a minute or two to find your briefing and prepare yourself. During this time they will make a few notes, though they will write down nothing which has a direct impact on the outcome of the test, so just concentrate on your next subject.

    Once the phase 2 period is complete, you will be back at the test centre. The examiner will return to their office for a few minutes to write up the results of the test, and they will ask you to wait.

    When they return, they will make sure you are in a private place for your result and debrief, and they will tell you the result immediately. From here they will go through your test sheet, pointing out areas of strength and weakness. They will not try to give you training advice, but by looking at your grades and the DSA guidance included below, you will be able to find areas to practice, study, or look for training in.

    (From the DSA guidance for SEADI examiners ADI1)
    The Result:

    Column A:
    The three columns headed ‘Not Covered, Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory’ record the instructor’s response to the pupil’s progress, in other words the instruction given on each individual item relevant to the subject heading.

    Not Covered – subject not covered or grossly incorrect or dangerous instruction given

    Unsatisfactory – subject attempted, but guidance and/or training offered was assessed as incomplete or not fully satisfactory.

    Satisfactory – subject covered satisfactorily or better.
    The overall grading awarded will not be higher than, and will equate to, the lowest rating marked in the Core Competencies section.

    Column B:
    Core Competencies:
    This section of the assessment is of all faults over the whole lesson, and not individual faults. For example, some explanations may be correct, some incorrect. The rating given depends on the balance of correct to incorrect.

    Faults – Identified:
    This covers the ability of the PDI to clearly identify all the important faults committed by the pupil that require correction as part of an effective instructional process. This ability is expected to cover all aspects of control of the car and procedure on the road at all times. The fault assessment need not be immediate if this would be inappropriate at the time, but it should be given at the first opportunity.

    Fault Analysis:
    This covers the ability, having identified a fault, to accurately analyse the cause and offer an analysis as appropriate. It covers inaccurate, incomplete or omitted fault analysis.

    Remedial Action:
    This relates to offering constructive and appropriate action or advice to remedy a fault or error that has been identified and analysed.

      (Your overall marks for each phase will be the lowest mark you receive in the core competencies – this section is the key to your success.)

    Level of Instruction:
    Relates to the match (or lack of it) between the level of instruction and the level of the ability of the pupil.

    This will normally match the grade given

    Planning:
    Covers the planned and actual sequence of instruction/activity together with the appropriateness and effectiveness of teaching methods used, taking due account of the difficulty/complexity of the content covered and progress of the pupil.
    Includes the allocation of time between training activities and methods used such as the distribution between theory and practice.

    Control of Lesson:
    Deals with the overall control of the lesson and the interaction processes within it.
    Directions must be clear and given at the correct time.
    Instruction should be given in good time to help the pupil respond to the situation at hand.
    Instructions must relate to the prevailing road and traffic conditions.
    This has strong links with the ‘Core Competencies’, ‘Level of Instruction’ and ‘Feedback and Encouragement’.

    Communication:
    Is concerned with pupil’s understanding of instruction, appropriateness of language and use of jargon (with or without explanation).
    Includes the ability to adapt and to use language and terminology likely to be familiar to the particular pupil and not to overload them with over-technical and complex explanations.

    Question and Answer Technique:
    At appropriate points during the lesson the PDI should preferably ask questions that contribute towards realising the objectives of the lesson. Ideally the questions should be simply worded, well defined, reasonable and relevant.
    There is a need for questions that are thought provoking and challenging as well as ones that simply test a pupils memory.
    In addition the PDI should encourage the pupil to ask questions at appropriate times.
    Bear in mind that, whilst this is a useful technique to employ, excessive importance should not be placed on this alone as it is quite possible to give a satisfactory lesson without it.

    Feedback/Encouragement:
    Providing feedback and encouragement to the pupil relating to the performance.
    Praise, confirmation, reinforcement for effort / progress / achievement. Correction / information when errors / faults occur.
    Encouraging the pupil is part of any teaching skill. The pupil needs to know when they have done something well.
    Feedback is key to providing the necessary level of instruction and has close links with the Core Competencies.

    Instructor’s Use of Controls:
    This aspect refers to all driver operated controls. (Steering, indicators, brakes etc.)
    These should only be used when necessary.
    The pupil should be told when and why they have been used.
    The PDI must not be controlling the pupil all or most of the time.

    Attitude and Approach to Pupil:
    This aspect should be dealt with as an overall assessment of the PDI characteristics and is concerned with the skills used to create a relaxed, but supportive learning environment.
    It is not to be used as a measure of the personality characteristics of the PDI, but as a measure of how effective they are in establishing and maintaining a good rapport and creating the right atmosphere for learning to take place.
    The PDI should display a relaxed manner and be outgoing but not over-familiar.
    They should be self confident and capable of transmitting confidence to the pupil in a patient and tactful manner.
    Any unnecessary physical contact with the pupil will be reflected in the marking.

    Criteria for Grading
    A mark should be awarded on the scale from 1 to 6 for each of the two phases of the test, and the following notes should be the basis for the mark.
    6. Overall performance to a very high standard with no significant instructional weaknesses.
    5. A good overall standard of instruction with some minor weakness in instructional technique.
    4. A competent overall performance with some minor deficiencies in instructional technique.
    3. An inadequate overall performance with some deficiencies in instructional technique.
    2. A poor overall performance with numerous deficiencies in instructional technique.
    1. Overall standard of instruction extremely poor or dangerous with incorrect or even dangerous instruction.

    Your Result:
    Remember, that to achieve the grade 4 or higher pass rate in both of the phases, what you really need to do is teach the pupil something new, or see improvement in something they weren’t so good at.

    It really is as simple as that.

    All of the techniques you use, and the way they are put into action is all for the same purpose – teaching, training and coaching someone towards being a safe driver.

    There are no strict definitions for the grading for the part 3 exam, though as these examiners are the same people who will perform your check tests later in your career, the grading system from that may help you understand exactly how to get a better grade at part 3.

    If you would like a more detailed breakdown of the grading criteria, the following grading information has been taken from the Senior Examiner’s guidelines for the conduct of Check Tests. Though not all of the information is applicable to the part 3 examination, the majority is relevant.

    (From the DSA guidance to SEADI examiners in ADI1)
    GRADE 6 Overall performance to a very high standard with no significant instructional weaknesses. Concise accurate recap given on the previous lesson and realistic, attainable objectives set for the current lesson. There was dialogue, with pupil involvement. Consistently demonstrated the ability to vary/select the most appropriate instructional techniques as necessary to suit the needs, aptitude and ability of the pupil.
    Quick to recognise and address all the important driving faults and provided thoroughly sound analysis, with clear, prompt and appropriate remedial action. An appropriate route chosen for the pupil’s ability and experience and took every opportunity to develop the pupil’s driving skills and awareness using the problems presented en-route.
    Structured an appropriate learning environment that positively encouraged the pupil to further develop their skills and good driving practice. The lesson concluded with a concise recap, which was an accurate overview of the lesson. The strengths and weaknesses in the pupil’s performance identified and discussed constructively. Realistic and appropriate objectives set for the next lesson. Professional attitude and approach to the pupil throughout the lesson.

    GRADE 5 A good overall standard of instruction with some minor weakness in instructional technique. A recap given on the previous lesson and objectives set for the current lesson, with pupil involvement. Demonstrated the ability to vary/select the most appropriate instructional techniques as necessary to suit the needs, aptitude and ability of the pupil, with only minor weaknesses.
    Recognised and addressed all the important driving faults and provided sound analysis with appropriate remedial action. An appropriate route chosen for the pupil’s ability and experience taking advantage of most of the opportunities to develop the pupil’s driving skills and awareness using the problems presented en-route. Structured an appropriate learning environment in which the pupil could readily further develop their skills and good driving practice. The lesson concluded with a concise recap, which was an accurate overview of the lesson. The strengths and weaknesses in the pupil’s performance identified and discussed. Objectives set for the next lesson. Attitude and approach to the pupil was good throughout the lesson.

    GRADE 4 A satisfactory overall performance with some minor deficiencies in instructional technique. Acceptable recap with limited pupil involvement and objectives for the current lesson outlined. Demonstrated the ability to vary/select the most appropriate instructional techniques as necessary to suit most of the needs, aptitude and ability of the pupil. Recognised and addressed the important driving faults, providing generally sound analysis and remedial action. An acceptable route chosen for the pupil’s ability and experience, taking advantage of most of the opportunities to develop the pupil’s driving skills and awareness using the problems presented en-route. Structured a generally appropriate learning environment that provided opportunities for the pupil to develop their skills and good driving practice. The lesson concluded with a general summary, giving an accurate overview of the lesson. The main strengths and weaknesses in the pupil’s performance identified. Attitude and approach to the pupil was acceptable throughout the lesson.

    GRADE 3 An inadequate overall performance with some deficiencies in instructional technique. Inadequate or sketchy recap on the previous lesson. Did not adequately set out/explain the objectives for the current lesson, and did not involve the pupil. Demonstrated only a limited ability to vary/select the most appropriate instructional techniques as necessary to suit the needs, aptitude and ability of the pupil. Inconsistent identification, analysis and remedial action of driving faults. Some unnecessary retrospective instruction. A poor route chosen for the pupil’s ability and experience and missing opportunities to develop the pupil’s driving skills and awareness using the problems presented en-route. Failed to structure a learning environment to enable the pupil to develop their skills and good driving practice. Inaccurate or incomplete summary at the end of the lesson. Many of the strengths and weaknesses in the pupil’s performance not identified or treated superficially. Shortcomings in attitude and approach to the pupil.

    GRADE 2 A poor overall performance with numerous deficiencies in instructional technique. Little or no recap on previous lesson, failed to set objectives for the current lesson. Unable to vary/select instructional techniques as necessary to suit the needs, aptitude and ability of the pupil. Many problems with correct identification of driving faults and analysis and very late remedial action. An unsuitable route chosen for the pupil’s ability and experience and missed numerous opportunities to develop the pupil’s driving skills and awareness using the problems presented en-route. A poor learning environment from which the pupil would not be able to develop their skills and good driving practice. Superficial summary at the end of the lesson. Main strengths and weaknesses in the pupil’s performance not mentioned. Serious shortcomings in attitude and approach to the pupil.

    GRADE 1 An extremely poor overall standard with incorrect or even dangerous instruction. No recap on previous lesson, objectives not set for the current lesson. Unable to even recognise the need to select the most appropriate instructional techniques as necessary to suit the needs, aptitude and ability of the pupil. Failed to identify, analyse or correct driving faults, many of which were of a serious or dangerous nature. A totally unsuitable route chosen for the pupil’s ability and experience and didn’t use the opportunities presented en-route to develop the pupil’s driving skills and awareness. No attempt to structure any kind of learning environment. No summary at the end of the lesson. Very serious shortcomings in attitude and approach to the pupil.

    And before you panic….
    …much of the information above will seem quite strict and regimented, remember that this is simply the guidelines for the examiners. Compare this to the advice on the part 3 exam in ‘The Driving Instructor’s Handbook’, and you will be able to start thinking constructively about your part 3 plan.

    Simple advice just before you pull your hair out, is to remember that the examiner at the part 3 stage simply wants to see that you can teach the “pupil” something, and clean up their mistakes!

    The Beyond Driving ADI Training Syllabus is provided free of charge for all potential driving instructors. If you are a trainer we will only allow use of these materials with prior consent.

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