Myths & the Part 3 Test

Part 3 myths - the stuff of legends!An awful lot of the fear of Part 3, and possibly one of the reasons for the very low pass rates, are the myths and stories of ‘doom and gloom’ propagated by both trainees and instructor trainers alike.

We regularly have trainees telling us some of the rumours that their trainers have passed on to them. Some of the tales we’ve heard from trainees on our Part 3 recovery courses are nothing less than horrendous. None of them are based in fact. All of them serve no purpose but to lower the morale and confidence of trainees. Part 3 is not beyond anyone, it is not like rolling a dice whether you pass or not, and the SE’s most certainly are not the ogres that many trainers will tell you

We’ve included this small section so that you can cut through the rubbish, see what’s real and what isn’t, and hopefully lift your spirits as you approach your final ADI test.

So, with no further ado, here’s a selection of the stories we’ve heard and our comments on them . . .

Part 3 is nothing like a ‘real’ driving lesson . . .

We start with this one, because we have to admit, this myth is the only one we actually agree with. Part 3 really is nothing like a real driving lesson. But why?

Well, because on your Part 3 test the SE will expect you to deliver a well structured driving lesson, with clearly set objectives and with you demonstrating the Core Competencies and Sub Skills that make a good instructor. Exactly how every driving lesson with every learner should be. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. Almost 50% of recently passed trainees fail to achieve a satisfactory grade in their first check test, and some 20% of experienced ADI’s suffer the same fate.

On check test training it is remarkably common to find that very many instructors have no idea at all how many lessons the learner has had, no idea what they are going to teach today, no idea of what route they will take and absolutely no idea how they will measure their learners progress. A very common introduction to the lesson is for the ADI to say words similar to “I thought we’d just go for a drive into some busy areas and take it from there . . .”. No planning. No preparation.

That is why Part 3 is nothing like a ‘normal’ driving lesson. Because a ‘normal’ driving lesson is very often of poor standard. Part 3 is the standard to aim for in every lesson you give.

There are, admittedly, some differences to a normal driving lesson. These are caused through the time constraints placed on the SE. For instance, the SE’s are very fast learners if you teach them well.

The SE will try to trick you. It’s just not fair . . .

It is fair, and the SE’s will not try to trick you. Not ever. We have heard this one so many times, yet it stems from a complete lack of understanding of the SE’s role.

For instance, one of the trainees who proclaimed this particular myth to be true had recently failed Part 3. He claimed the SE had tricked him because when the PDI said “you should be in the normal driving position”, the SE simply stayed in the same position and took no notice.

Yet the reality was that the SE was simply emulating an error that very many learners make. He was assuming that he was already in the correct position. The SE was no doubt waiting for the PDI to ask “can you tell me what the normal driving position is?” (Analysis of the fault) and then “this is the correct position. You can ensure that you remember it by . . .” (remedial action) etc etc.

No tricks. Just very common learner driver errors. In fact, far from trying to trick the trainee, the SE was actually throwing an extremely valuable life line that could have got the candidate the pass mark.

Get everything in . . . if you miss something in the Briefing, you’ll fail . . .

Must get everything in during the Briefing!Again, very common. Again, complete nonsense. There have been many successful Part 3 tests where the trainee has missed important information from the Briefing, but then covered it on the move. Always keep in mind that compared to the Sub Skills and Core Competencies of good instruction, the Briefing for Part 3 is of very little significance. Try to ensure that your Briefings cover the main points for your particular PST. They are the points listed on the left side of the SE’s Marking Sheet.

There are very, very few Part 3 failures due to the Briefing being inadequate or unsatisfactory. The vast majority of Part 3 failures are due to a lack of the skills needed for good instruction.

The areas on the Marking Sheet relating to the PST and the Briefing, on the left side of the sheet, are marked as ‘not covered’, ‘unsatisfactory’, and ‘Satisfactory’. Think about that. The highest mark you can gain for covering the knowledge areas required in the Briefing is ‘Satisfactory’. So much for the ‘get everything in’ rubbish.

The SE’s are interested in how you teach, far more than in what you teach.

The SE’s are nothing like real learners, it’s all false . . .

On a Part 3 test, the SE will simply portray the kind of errors and behaviour that your learners will. The SE’s simply base all of their actions on those that they have witnessed real learners display.

Again, there are no tricks. The only thing about Part 3 that could be seen as being false is that the test is based on role play and the time constraints placed on the SE.

Part 3 is extremely difficult, that’s why the pass rates are so low . . .

Well, what can I say about this one?

First, if a trainer ever tells you this, I would question their abilities to teach and their commitment as a trainer. I would also be deeply suspicious of their own understanding of Part 3. If a trainer truly believes this, why are they in the business of training? Are they really convinced that Part 3 is ‘difficult’, or do they really suspect their own lack of ability to teach it?

Secondly, if another trainee tells you this, how do they know? If they have failed, then it simply means that their own understanding and skills need a little more development. It’s remarkable how common it is for trainees to pass Part 3, reflect on the experience, and then comment to us that it really wasn’t that difficult after all.

If anyone tells you this ‘myth’, ask them “why is it hard? tell me exactly what is hard about it?” You’ll no doubt get a strange look as they struggle for an answer. Read our comments on vague and specific language, because phrases like ‘Part 3 is hard’ are perfect examples of vague language. Be specific.

No one ever passes Part 3 first time . . . just use your first go to see what it’s like . . .

I find it incredible that ADI trainers come out with myths such as this. There is no reason whatsoever not to pass Part 3 at your first attempt. In fact, you only have 3 attempts . . . to turn up for your first one expecting to fail is absurd. You should be fully prepared, and with good, effective training, you can confidently expect to pass first time

We are all human, and sometimes nerves do play a part, but if your training equips you with all the Sub Skills you need, you can confidently expect success

One of the main problems with myths such as this, is that trainees believe them because they have nothing else to believe . . . after all, the trainer knows what they’re talking about. The trainee feels more and more despondent and subsequently fails. He then propagates this further by telling other trainees that no one passes first time. Then, he manages to pass Part 3, and eventually becomes an ADI trainer . . . one of the first things he tells his future trainees is “No one passes first time you know . . .”

And so the negative circle turns. You have the chance to break out of it. Never believe a word of rubbish such as this. Test it instead . . . ask “why is it that the people you train never pass first time . . .?”. They’ll probably run for cover, or tell you even further rubbish such as those listed above

You’ll never pass Part 3 unless you get some experience on a ‘pink’ . . .

Mmm . . . this one is one of those myths that really worries me. First, let me say that it’s completely untrue, a fact proven by the DVSA’s own research. The DVSA are considering scrapping the pink trainee licence because it’s been conclusively shown that you have no better chance of passing Part 3 after working on a pink, than you are without it

Teaching real learners is not the most effective way of learning to teach real learners. It sounds quite contradictory, and is certainly a controversial view, but airline pilots do not learn to fly airplanes by flying airplanes! They learn and develop on simulators, before they progress to flying real planes

Teaching learners has a definite element of risk and danger involved. Your trainer or the SE will not kill you, but a learner just might. You can very effectively learn how to deal with all and every situation through effective training and effective role play

Role play allows your skill to develop in a safe learning environment

I suspect that driving schools tell trainees that “they’ll never pass Part 3 unless they go on a pink . . .” for one of two main reasons. First, because they completely misunderstand Part 3 and how to train it. Secondly, because they quite like the idea of you spending a fortune on extra franchise fees in the dubious hope of gaining extra experience towards the Part 3 test

We have known cases where the trainee licence has helped no end . . . where the situation was carefully planned and it was used to excellent effect as a training aid. Unfortunately, these instances are far outnumbered by the situations in which the pink is used to generate huge revenues for the driving schools concerned.

Please keep in mind that you and some of your fellow trainees who read this may be on a pink and may have used it to very good use indeed. I’m truly pleased, because that’s how it should be. But there are normally over 30,000 trainees throughout the UK, very many of them – if not most of them, on pinks. The simple truth is that an incredible number of them will gain no benefit from it at all. Quite the opposite in fact. We have met a great many of them, and we regularly receive calls for advice from many of them.

We do not use the pink licence, except in exceptional circumstances. There is no need for it with effective training, except in rare cases. As above, the DVSA’s own figures have proven this

Always instruct on Phase 1, never instruct on Phase 2, or you’ll fail!

We’ve heard this one many, many times. It’s nonsense, just like all the rest. You are a driving instructor, not a driving passenger, and you should pitch your instruction to match the pupil, no matter what the phase.

Remember, there is no such thing as Phase 1, and there is no such thing as Phase 2. These are terms quite sensibly used by the DVSA for the SE’s to categorise the test accordingly. They are not there to give you a definitive method of instruction. You need to remain flexible at all times, using the Sub Skills of instruction

Contrary to what many trainers will tell you . . .

you can over instruct at Phase 1, and you can under instruct at Phase 2

I’m sorry to say it, but any trainer who tells you otherwise either doesn’t understand teaching, or doesn’t understand the Part 3 test. There’s no other explanation.

We’ll continue to add to this section as time goes by and we hear ever more ridiculous stories about Part 3. Put them all behind you. Seek the truth and do not accept rumours as being facts. There is absolutely no reason at all for Part 3 not to be a very enjoyable experience.

ADIT Team.