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The Galaxy According To BalatStar
all five horizons revolve around my soul
Getting a Non-Professional Driver's License at the LTO - Practical Exam 
29th-Jul-2013 07:14 pm
Before taking my driver's license test, I tried looking for tips and detailed information on the practical driving part, but I had a difficult time finding any. There was a lot of resources and tips on the process, as well as the written part (there's even a sample test!), but none about the actual driving part that was helpful. This is weird, because I'm sure a lot of newbie drivers out there, like me, are more unsure about the practical part than theory. So I'll share with everyone my experience and observations here. :)

The (Dreaded) Practical Exam

Don't fret, looking back at the actual driving exam from the, ehem, licensed side of the fence, I can definitely say that it's pretty easy to pass. I'm not saying the test was easy, though (it's not, especially for people who only clocked about 20ish driving hours, which I think is the standard for driving schools). But it's easy to pass. Let me explain.

The actual driving test course at LTO East Avenue is a squarish area, with roads on the four sides, and parking spaces in the middle. Three of the roads (the first three you'll drive through) are flat, and the last one is elevated, like a bridge, and then you'll be back where you started. Here's a rough diagram:

These are my observations from the longish time I sat around the waiting area for my turn at the practical test. I'm not sure if these are true for all days, but they're the basic patterns when I was there. I think I watched around 20 people take the exam before my turn came.

Course A - For those getting driving school assistance

If you're taking the exam through a driving school, you won't need to rent a vehicle from LTO because the school provides one for you to use. Those from Smart Driving school will be assigned to an oldish sedan, and I met some from Red (?) Driving School and A1, who were assigned to SUV-type vehicles (FX, etc).

The representative from your driving school will ride at the backseat, while the examiner will be on the passenger seat. The exam begins already on the road part (see A Course Start/End on the diagram).

You'll be asked to go straight ahead, take a left, and then another left into the parking bay area, and then right to exit (see arrows marked A on the diagram). After you have exited the parking bay area, you will be asked to turn left, keep to your lane, and get on the elevated road. After that is another left turn, and you're back where you started, and your test is done. :)

The most difficult parts of this exam are the tight turns (into the parking bay and out), and then the consequent immediate turn onto the elevated ramp.

My car almost stalled at the beginning of the course (the driving school rep asked the examiner to turn off the AC to give more power to the engine), was jerky at the bay parking area (the examiner suggested I press on the clutch a bit more), and completely stalled at the elevated ramp (headdesk!). But I still passed! XDDD

By the way, I applied for a manual restriction. But according to my sister, if you're getting A1 driving school assistance for an automatic, they'll also make you use a manual car, but the examiner / driving school rep will be the one operating the gears for you. LOL!

Course B - For those without driving school assistance

If you're not getting driving school assistance, you'll either have to rent a test car (a Suzuki compact), or bring your own. I didn't see anyone bring their own car, so I don't have any observations on that, but it will probably follow the same pattern as Course A.

If you've rented a test car, your course will begin with the car at a parking slot (see B Course Start/End on the diagram), so you'll need to pull out of that space first. The car will be facing the road, without any other cars beside it, so this part is relatively easy. The examiner will then ask you to drive once around the track (just through the three perpendicular roads and the elevated one, you won't be asked to go through the bay parking area). After you bring the car back to the starting point, you will be asked to reverse park onto the parking space where your test car came from.

The most difficult part of this test is the parking, obviously, so you'll need to review this one. (There won't be any other cars beside the parking slot so it won't be that hard.)

There was an examinee who took over 15 minutes just trying to park in reverse. The examiner was already rubbing his forehead hahaha! But the person still passed! :D


So, as you can see, the practical driving test is not really that easy for beginner drivers, but it IS easy to pass. I don't think there was anyone there with us who failed that day.

Good luck!!

Oh, actually, I have another tip: After your practical driving test, you'll be asked to proceed to Window 13 to wait for your license to be released. If you're hungry, you can go out and eat at this time because it will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour before your license will be ready. :)
7th-Apr-2014 01:30 am (UTC) - Question..
I'm a newbie driver. I would like to ask if is it ok to drive(practical exam) without any footwear? because I am comfortable without wearing any footwear while driving. I did not enroll also in any driving school, I just learn on my own & minimal tutor of some pro and non-pro drivers. Thanks in advance!
7th-Apr-2014 06:09 am (UTC) - Re: Question..
hi! i didn't see any dress code requirements for the test, so i think it would depend on the examiner? better ask him first before you remove your footwear, just to be sure. :D
24th-Jun-2014 11:52 am (UTC)
How much kaya yung rent kapag walang dalang car? Baka super bilis na maapakan ng clutch mahirap tantsahin. Hehe
25th-Jun-2014 04:57 am (UTC)
if i remember correctly, P200 yata or P250 yung test car rental. hindi ko lang alam yung state ng clutch niya hehe. but don't worry, namatayan ako ng makina pero i still passed, so i think hindi sila masyadong strict doon. good luck! :)
1st-Jul-2014 05:41 am (UTC)
Hi! did you park the car nung may driving school assistant ka? or not? Thank you! :)
1st-Jul-2014 05:52 am (UTC)
Nope. The car came from outside the course gate, and you drive it in, tapos you drive it out (unless may kasunod ka or may sinundan ka from the same driving school, then the car is just left idle at the course start). No parking. :)
1st-Jul-2014 06:17 am (UTC)
what driving school ka? Smart Driving School kasi ako. thank you for the info! balak ko kasi kumuha tomorrow :)
1st-Jul-2014 06:21 am (UTC)
Same, Smart Driving School rin. :)

Good luck! You'll definitely pass the practical test kung pinayagan ka na nila mag-take. Do your best na lang sa written. Make sure you read over the reviewer because most of the questions on the actual test are already there.
1st-Jul-2014 06:22 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for the info. nag try ka rin ba nung motorcycle nila or hindi?
1st-Jul-2014 06:24 am (UTC)
No, hindi ako marunong mag-motorcycle e.
25th-Sep-2014 02:57 pm (UTC) - question!
Hi! I would just like to ask, how was your driving lessons at your driving school? I am currently enrolled at a driving school, and I was a little bit frustrated on my last driving session bec I stalled a lot of times. I am nervous bec that might affect my performance at the driving school, and subsequently, they can ban me or something to get my license.
I would just like to ask if you also experienced those during your driving lessons (engine shutting off, etc?) Hope for your response and pieces of advice..
28th-Sep-2014 01:42 am (UTC) - Re: question!
I think most legit driving schools sometimes do suggest for a student to get more hours in before recommending them to get a license, especially if they only enrolled for the minimum number of hours (~5-10?). They won't ban you from getting one if you're really insistent, though. :)

But I also experienced stalling a lot during my lessons. Especially at the beginning. Hehehe. I also stalled a couple of times during the practical test at the LTO. I think, as long as they're comfortable that you're a careful driver, you're fine. :D

Good luck!
22nd-Nov-2014 09:37 pm (UTC) - Motor vehicle type
Do they have automatic vehicles. I only tried automatic and less experience on manual. Do they have?
23rd-Nov-2014 12:22 pm (UTC) - Re: Motor vehicle type
i think you need to bring your own vehicle if you're taking the test for automatic, but i'm not sure.
8th-Dec-2014 01:59 pm (UTC) - LTO Driver's License Non-Pro at East Ave Office
Nung nag practical exam ako (May 2014) kasabay ko siguro mga 30 examinees/applicants nagiintay sa waiting shed. Mas ok huwag ka mauna kasi mao-observe mo kung pano pagpapatakbo ng practical exam and you can learn from mistakes of the applicants ahead of you. Kitang kita kasi sa shed yung driving course. Kapag pasado yung applicant, paglabas ng vehicle hawak nito yung evaluation form at dadalhin nito sa may window katabi ng waiting shed. Pag bagsak either bumabalik sa office / labas na walang hawak na papel.

Pang-10 ako tinawag. Nung tinawag ako for my practical exam, pagsakay ko, umaandar na makina. nasa passenger seat yung examiner, hawak yung evaluation form/checklist.

My thoughts/observations on the practical exam:

1. Luma ang mga vehicles na ipapagamit, manual, compact type. They are easier to maneuvre. Kung magdadala ka ng sasakyan mo, siguraduhing compact type dahil...

2. Napaka liit ng area ng test course. mahirapan kang daanan ito kung masyadong malaki sasakyan mo. The turns are very tight, lalo na yung paakyat ng ramp/bridge. Halos sakto lang magkasya yung pinagamit sa kin na hyundai eon yata yun or i10 paakyat sa bridge. Dito madalas namamatayan ng makina kasi mahirap tantsahin yung paakyat sa sobrang sikip. Dapat dahan dahan lang approach. Tthe side mirrors of the vehicle I used were no more than a foot away from the side rails of the bridge. First gear lang dapat, or gaya nung ginawa ko, clutch release lang ako throughout the test course, even before the bridge, kasi napakadaling i-overshoot ng mga turns lalo na sa mga bagitong drivers na katulad ko.

3. Don't forget to use turn signals, magbusina appropriately lalo na kung may isa pang vehicle/examinee kasabay (dahil sa sobrang bagal nung sinundan ko, di nya ma park nang maayos yung sasakyan, sinabi nung examiner ko sige na umpisahan mo na, overtake mo na lang).

4. Huwag magmadali, kahit mukhang aborido yung examiner, kasi ikaw din ang mahihirapan, baka magkamali ka pa kakamadali. Avoid speeding. Yung nauna sa kin na babae, siguro sa sobrang kaba at atat, hayun, kaka umpisa pa lang, na-overshoot nya yung left turn, ang biliskasi ng takbo nya, bangketa tuloy sya. Wala pang 10sec pinababa na sya ng sasakyan. Bagsak agad.

5. Keep to your lane. Don't forget to use turn signals kahit mukhang katawa tawa ang paggamit nito sa isang napaka liit na diriving test course. Remember, you are being evaluated. Also don't forget to use hazard lights when moving out and into a parking slot. Very basic pero mukhang ang daming nakakalimot nito, based on my observation.

6. Practice reverse parking! I was surprised by this kasi hindi ko ito na practice masyado before my exam. May 2 parking slots dun sa driving test course. Yung isa katabi mismo ng ramp/bridge pagbaba, kasya lang ang isang Hyundai Eon. Yung isang slot, kasya ang dalawa. Malas ko, yung sinundan kong examinee, di matapos tapos sa parking attempt nya, pagbaba ko ng ramp/bridge nandun pa din sya trying to park in the wider parking slot, kaya no choice ako, dun ako sa masikip pina reverse park nung examiner. Naka 3 attempts ako bago ko naipasok/park nang maayos. Obvious na nairita na yung examiner kasi alas dose na nun, gutom na siguro din sya, tapos madami pang examinees nakapila sa kanya para mag practical exam. Sabi sa kin nung examiner "Di ka pa pwede sa parking! Mag practice ka pa!" Akala ko ibabagsak nya ko buti na lang pasado pa din. Score ko yata ay 75 out of 100 (passing score is 70). My test took around 15-20 minutes.

Before you begin, check the tires, adjust mirrors, wear seatbelt (remind also your examiner to wear his if he's not yet buckled up), basta be thorough. Batiin mo din ng "good morning" or "good afternoon" yung examiner, and introduce yourself para na rin gumaan kahit papaano loob sayo nung examiner. Try to relax. Kung kinakabahan, huwag ipakita. Wear comfortable clothing and driving shoes or rubber shoes. Bawal naka-paa or sandals!

Good luck!

19th-Jan-2015 03:05 am (UTC)
Hi tanong ko lang po, ung sa actual driving po sa test track, papaikotin ka lng po ba dun? Wla ngpapagawa sayu? Thank ypu din advance!
20th-Jan-2015 09:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, papaikutin ka sa track. If you're using the LTO car, ipapag-reverse park ka rin pabalik dun sa pinagkuhanan mo nung car.

Edited at 2015-01-20 09:43 pm (UTC)
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