How is the restricted test marked?

Want to pass your restricted test first time? Take a sneak peak into how the test is marked.

During the restricted test, the Testing Officer will be marking you on up to 10 key driving skills. Six of these skills will be assessed several times at different points throughout the test. These are the things that you should be thinking about and doing constantly when in the car.

The Testing Officer will be aiming to get a good idea of how consistently you can perform these skills while you drive.

The skills you're mainly assessed on:

  • Observation: Are you constantly aware of what's going on around your car? Are you checking over your shoulder and in your mirrors when you need to?
  • Signalling: Are you using your indicators when you should be?
  • Gap selection: Are you choosing safe gaps between vehicles when crossing or joining the traffic flow (e.g. going straight through at an intersection, or turning or changing lanes)?
  • Speed choice: Are you staying within the speed limit at all times? Are you slowing down when it’s not safe to drive at the speed limit, but also not driving too slowly if conditions are good?
  • Following distance: Are you leaving a safe gap between your car and the car in front of you? Are you applying the 2-second or 4-second rule?
  • Lateral position: Are you positioning your car safely on the road? Are you choosing the correct lane before, during and after turning?

Passing these skills

There’s no set pass-mark for how often you need to do these skills properly.  At the end of the test, the testing officer uses a sheet to tally up how many times you performed the skills correctly compared to how many times you didn’t. They then refer to a score sheet to work out if you did well enough to pass.

Other skills you're assessed on:

There are 4 other skills that the Testing Officer will be assessing you on. These are assessed only once during the test - during either the reverse parallel park or the three-point turn.

  • Parking observation: Are you checking where you're going when parking? Are you looking in your mirrors and over your shoulder?
  • Parking movement: Are you completing the park safely without moving back and forward too many times and without hitting anything or driving up onto the kerb?
  • Leaving the park: Are you signalling, checking your mirrors and looking over your shoulder before you pull out? Are you checking that you can pull out from the park without having to move back more than once?
  • Turning movement: If you are asked to do a three-point turn instead of a reverse parallel park the testing officer will check that you position the car correctly throughout the turn, avoid hitting or driving onto the kerb or hitting anything else, and that you don’t use a driveway or any other private property to complete the turn.
  • Three point turns: You’ll only be asked to do a three-point turn if there isn’t an appropriate place for you to do a reverse parallel park during your test. Check out the reverse parallel park and three-point turn lessons for more information on how to do these manouvers, and what the Testing Officer will be looking for when he asks you to do one of them.

Restricted licence test guide:

Still confused? The NZ Transport Agency’s Restricted Licence Test guide (PDF, 4.13 MB) has more detail on exactly what the Testing Officer will be looking for - look at section 4, under the subheading, 'Task Assessment items' on page 14.

How the testing officer decides if you pass

In addition to assessing you on the key driving skills listed above, the testing officer will also be keeping a close eye on whether you commit any Critical or Immediate Fail Errors.

Most people who fail the test do so because they make Critical Errors or Immediate Fail Errors. The Testing Officer will checking to see if you make these errors at any time during the test – not just during assessable tasks.

What's next?

Critical errors

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