The one flaw there used to be with the test was the fact it did not properly prepare you for driving on your own once passed. Being able to drive well whilst being clearly directed all the time is one thing, but it is quite another when you are also having to concentrate on finding your way to somewhere.
Just like when you are beginning your lessons, you may be great at something you have just learnt and had a good amount of practice at. But then a new procedure or routine is introduced which will then require most of your attention and the thing you were good at before starts to fail a little because you havent got as much time to think about it anymore. It then takes a little time to be able to do both without thinking about it.
Its the same with the independent driving. Its designed to make sure you can think about where you are going, looking for sign posts or particular roads, and still be able to correctly check your mirrors and get into the correct position or lane safely without impeding any other motorists.
The Independent Driving phase will last for approximately 10 minutes and will consist of following one of 3 possible scenarios:
A common misconception is that you will need to know the area of your test well. This isnt true so you dont need to worry. In each of these scenarios you are still direct but just in a different way.
Here you will be asked to follow signposts to a particular area. For example your examiner will say something like, I would like you to proceed ahead and then follow signposts to Guildford. You would then do just so until directed otherwise. This particular scenario is testing your ability to look out for signposts as well as continuing to follow the MSPSL procedure and get yourself into the correct lanes and positions safely.
2. A Series of Verbal Direction
Here your examiner would give you 3 verbal directions. It may be something like, I would now like you to proceed up the road and take the second left, then the 3rd right followed by a right at the roundabout. These will always be backed up with a simple diagram showing you the directions. The examiner will say it twice, and then ask you to repeat it to make sure you have understood.
3. A Combination of Both
This is just as it suggests. The examiner may use a combination of both these scenarios to fill the allotted 10 minutes.
The main thing to remember is that if you go the wrong way you will not fail. The examiner will let you know if you take an incorrect direction and will help you in getting back on track. As long as you havent committed any Driver Faults i.e. indicating left, but turning right.