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From Ls to Ns: Everything you need to know about getting your driving license in Ireland

Being able to drive is one of the most useful and valuable life skills to have. It gives you a new sense of freedom, independence and newfound responsibility; it can lead to exciting opportunities and simplifies everyday tasks. As thrilling as sticking N plates onto your windscreen is, it is not an easy journey. There are a few steps that need to be taken before you're picking up the gals for the midnight McFlurry run. 

Theory Test 

First step on your to-do list is the driver theory test. The exam is made up of forty questions all chosen at random relating to different aspects of driving. These questions come from five different categories including safe driving, vehicle control and the rules of the road. To pass the test you must score 35 and over out of a possible 40. 

Book your test first and well in advance! Theory test centres are constantly busy, especially given the current climate and backlog of drivers. When booking make sure to give yourself enough time to prepare. Different test categories vary in cost, but a Category B test for a car costs €45 and you pay this online when booking. Once you have paid and booked your test, you will need to buy a form of approved NDLS study material. They offer books, CDs and an app. The book costs €17.99 is available from most bookstores - don't forget about your Eason's student discount! 

Provisional License 

Congrats on passing your test! Now you must apply for an appointment to get your physical licence. There are many NDLS centres around the country, and the process costs an additional €35. Remember you will need to have an eye test completed before your appointment! These can be obtained from most opticians, Specsavers charging €15 for the service. On the day you will need to bring your passed theory test, eye test results, an approved form of ID and a proof of address. 

Driving Lessons 

Once you receive your license you can now apply for driving lessons. In Ireland, learner drivers must complete 12 lessons with an approved instructor before you can apply for your driving test. The cost of lessons varey, but on average range between €300-€400. There are many instructors available through dedicated driving schools or independent instructors. Just make sure that your chosen instructor is approved by the RSA before paying!


Driving Test 

The moment you have all been waiting for - the long anticipated driving test. You've completed your lessons, had a pre-test or two and stalled way too many times. But how do you glow up your L plates to Ns? First step is booking your test date. Book online via the RSA's website and pay the €85 fee. 

Like the theory, there are different types of study materials available to help prepare for your drivers test. YouTube is the home to many dedicated channels giving their best tips and tricks on how to pass your test. For example, Dane Tyghe has hundreds of videos detailing different situations you might have to face during your exam. 

For test day you will need to bring your provisional license, have valid NCT and tax discs and be an insured driver on your vehicle. The test lasts between 30-40 minutes and your examiner will be giving all of the directions. L plates are still required for a driving test, so don't rip them off just yet! 

Once you have passed your test you are onto the last and final step- getting your full licence. Similar to the provisional you apply online for an appointment with a NDLS centre, bring all the relevant documents and eagerly wait for its arrival in the post. The process lasts no longer than twenty minutes and costs €55. Remember they take your photo on the day so get the glam squad in beforehand (it'll be with you for the next ten years.) 

Seatbelts on and safe driving!

Final year Communications Studies student at DCU.
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