Understanding Driving Test Score Sheet NSW

Introduction to NSW Driving Test Score Sheet

I am a driving instructor with Learn to Drive Driving School and over the years I have met many learner drivers who do not have a basic understanding Driving Test Score Sheet NSW.

Understanding Permissible Mistakes

In a NSW driving test, the permissible number of mistakes depends on the nature of the mistake. If the mistake isn’t classified as illegal or dangerous, one to two errors are generally acceptable for a pass result. However, committing three or more of such non-critical in certain categories leads to a test failure. It’s important to understand this distinction to prepare appropriately for your driving test in NSW.

Achieving Maximum Score

Achieving a maximum score in the NSW Driving Test requires a deep understanding of driving rules and best practices. To pass, candidates must obtain a score of 90% or more, ensuring no fail items are recorded during the assessment. Prior to taking the Driving Test, candidates must successfully complete the Hazard Perception Test (HPT). Keep in mind that the HPT validation only lasts for 6 months. With a strong preparation strategy and thorough knowledge of NSW driving regulations, candidates can strive to attain the maximum score possible in the NSW Driving Test.

Diverse Student Experiences

Over the years I have met a lot of students most of whom are getting their Provisional license for the first time, some are converting an overseas license and some have to do the driving test again because they lost their drivers licenses through the courts.

Examining the Score Sheet

Regardless of their driving experience or how many times they have done the driving test before everyone has questions or is unsure of how the examiners mark the driving test. The fact is it is hard to understand the driving test score sheet.

Score Sheet Layout

The driving test score sheet consists of three sections.

  1. On the right hand side of the test score sheet is the Assessments panel. This is where the examiner records what you do or fail to do during the driving test.
  2. On the left hand side is a section called the fail and immediate fail items. This is where they record the summary details of any fail items from the Assessments Panel
  3. There are some administrative details regarding the test such as the day of the test, start time, registration details of the test vehicle, the test track you will be tested on  and your signature at the top of the page.

Real-Time Recording

When you do a driving test the examiner is using a score sheet that has been designed to record a lot of information with the least amount of writing. Because they want to be able to record the results in real time whilst they are observing your driving. Which requires a minimal amount of writing, so they use a type of short hand writing.

Reading Driving Test Score Sheet NSW

A good way to learn how to pass the driving test is by learning how to read the driving test score sheet.  Because this involves understanding what the examiners are looking for and how they record the good and bad things you do during a driving test.

Because each driving test is made up of 25 zones you will notice the assessments table consists of 25 numbered rows. Each row represents a completed zone of the driving test. Driving test zones are of varying lengths and you are marked on five elements of low risk driving in each zone of the test.

Driving Test Assessments Table

The table also shows 6 columns labelled with letters. Driving examiners use each letter to represents an element of low risk driving that you will be assessed on.

  • Speed Management
  • Road Position
  • Decision Making
  • Hazards (this is not an element of low risk driving. But you need a hazard to be present before you can demonstrate low risk driving)
  • Response to Hazards
  • Control issues

Each time you make a mistake the examiner places a circle around the appropriate letter in the zone of the test. When a hazard is present in a test zone you have to respond appropriately to that hazard. Each hazard can be responded to in different ways if you respond appropriately you get a tick on the score sheet. Respond inappropriately by doing something that increases the likelihood of an accident the examiner will circle the letter R on the test sheet.

How to improve your score in the Driving Test

Understanding Driving Test Score Sheet NSW is just the beginning. When you have a broad understanding of how the test is marked you also need to learn how to pass the test?

✅ The Safer Driver Course is a great way to learn more about Speed Management, Decision Making, hazards and responding to Hazards.

✅ Driving Lessons with a good driving instructor is an invaluable way to prepare for the driving test. In addition, you need a good driving school that has a comprehensive learning program.

Practice Driving Tests in your local area completes your preparation. Learn your local road conditions. Learn how the examiners mark the test in your area.

How Many Mistakes can you make on driving test NSW

To pass the driving test you must score at least 90% and have no fail items.

There are three types of mistakes you can make in the driving test.

  1. Something that is illegal or dangerous will result in an immediate fail for the test. This means you can score 99% in the test and still fail. Therefore it is possible to fail the driving test when you only make one mistake.
  2. Repeatedly failing to indicate correctly or make required observation checks. With this type of errors you can make two mistakes and still pass the test. But if you make three mistakes and do everything else perfectly you still fail the test. Which means you can get 97% in the test and still fail the test.
  3. The third type of error is when you fail for a low score. You need to get 90% in the test. This would mean that you made a lot of mistakes that were not immediate fail items. You might not steer properly and lose a point because you did not steer properly. You will not fail because it is not illegal to have a  poor steering technique. But you still lose a point for not steering properly. You are likely to keep repeated this type of mistake during the test and each time you do not steer properly you will lose a point. Lose enough points and you will fail the test.

Driving Test Score Sheet NSW explained

Demonstrate the appropriate low risk driving techniques and you will get a tick. But if you fail to demonstrate appropriate low risk driving you get a circle. Consequently you will notice a lot of ticks and circles on the right hand side of the page. You will need to score at least 90% to pass the driving test. Therefore you need to keep the number of mistakes to a minimum.

Driving Test Assessments Table

Zone one has a circle on the letter D which indicates a bad decision was made. The letter H in the notes column shows that the students bad decision was a head check error.

Zone two has a circle on the letter S which shows that the student had a Speed Management error and another bad decision. The only note is the letter H which means that the speed management error was not a fail item. If it was a fail item then F5 would also appear in the notes column indicating Failing for Exceeding the Speed Limit.

In Zone 25 the letter D is circled and the letter H is recorded. This means the student made three head check errors which will recorded as a fail item in the fail and immediate fail items section.

Driving test score sheet fail items


You can learn more about the driving test score sheet by reading our blog NSW Driving Test Score Sheet. Learn To Drive Driving School also offer Trial Tests at selected locations.