This wasn't my first attempt at the test as I gave it a try in December. I knew that I wasn't really ready for it then and if I'm honest about it, I knew I was going to fail. I was nervous, far too shaky, close to tears and just didn't feel ready at all. However, I also knew that I just needed to give it a go so I could see what it was all about and what I could expect, This made me get into the right head space to give it a go this month and to know that I was a good enough driver and prepared enough to pass.
After I failed my first test, I genuinely felt a huge sense of relief that I wasn't going to be expected to drive on my own yet, which I think says it all. I literally failed it in the last five minutes of the test when I stalled at traffic lights and just couldn't get the car going again quick enough. This became a big deal as I impacted other cars so was an automatic fail. Even if I'd had more practice at stalling - I can only think of three or four times, including the test, when I have stalled - I might not have panicked as much as I did.
After failing - and Christmas - I gave myself a bit of a break to sort my head out, which was meant to be a week or two but turned into a month thanks to Christmas stealing all my money. Come February, I got back to it and everything just started to click.
I got over my fear of roundabouts by doing what I'm not usually very good at doing - giving myself time. I reminded myself that I can actually parallel park without needing to overthink and I ended up just enjoying driving around. The last few weeks have basically been me doing a bit of everything each lesson and seriously enjoying being behind the wheel.
On the day of my test, I woke up knowing that I was going to do it and that there was nothing I could do that would make me fail. I was still nervous, but nowhere near as bad as I was in December. I spent a lot of the day just focused on my breathing whenever I started to get a bit worked up - this has become a helpful way for me to manage the physical symptoms of my anxiety - and did as much work as I could to take my mind off it.
I drove for an hour before my test and did a few manoeuvres with everything going fine and me not feeling like I was going to throw up. The sun came out just in time for me test and the assessor was really friendly and instantly put me at ease. He also chose a nice route through a fairly countrified area, so I really did just drive around for the whole test in the sunshine, occasionally having a chat and remaining positive the entire time. It was this last thing that did it for me, as I knew I was completely prepared.
When I was told I'd passed, I couldn't stop smiling and knew that going through the first failed test was totally worth it.
I'm now looking for my first car and will hopefully be driving down to Devon in June for my nephew's christening. Before that, though, I intend to have a motorway lesson to build my confidence further and go on a few trips with the husband and friends so I feel happy in my own car. I honestly cannot wait to enjoy the freedom this is going to give me.