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.
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. :)