It's different now, and possibly more difficult if statistics are anything to go by - apparently only 43% of people pass the driving test and 51% pass the theory test. The theory test (lasting a whopping 57 minutes) is in two parts - the multiple choice part, and the Hazard Perception part. The driving test is also split into two - the off-road and on-road modules. There's also a section called the "independent driving section" where you're expected to get to a destination following verbal instructions or traffic signs.
When I did it, you did the whole thing in the car - with the examiner asking questions that were seemingly half made up, and then holding up signs and asking for explanations. In my test, it seemed to go on longer than most of my A levels (3 hours), but the examiner then started asking me where I was going to university, what I was going to study etc. etc. "Surely he won't fail me after being so nice at the end" I remember thinking. And he didn't, I'm pleased to say. The relief was huge though.
Scrapping the three point turn. - Not sure whether this is good or bad since I'm known to do this maneuver a lot! However, if it shortens the test, I could probably live with the change.
Scrapping reversing round a corner - This is the one that failed me first time. I was reversing quite nicely round a wide, curved corner, and stalled the car. You can't actually fail for stalling, as long as you maintain control (put the car into neutral, switch it off and start it up again.) I managed all that very well, but automatically put it into first gear, turned around to look out the back window and moved forwards. If there had been someone crossing the road it could have all ended quite differently! Gulp!
Asking safety questions on the move - Isn't that contradictory? They're talking about asking someone to switch on the rear windscreen heater while driving. It's one thing to switch on your own heater when you know you need it, but quite another to have to take directions from the examiner when you're already perspiring with stress. On the other hand, if you have kids or a back seat driver, this might be a good reflection of reality.
Extending the independent driving section from 10 to 20 minutes. - Hmmm. If the examiner is giving verbal instructions, this might be okay although I am still unsure why it's important to know how to get from A to B in a driving test. There are many people who drive the same routes day in and day out. Why waste time testing stuff that really has little to do with actually driving the car, and that many people don't need? Especially if......
The directions are on Sat Nav (GPS). - Seriously? I avoid my Sat Nav whenever I can. I have one that comes up from the top of the dash board and half the time I can't stop it from shutting again never mind actually getting it to tell me where I am! And what about dysgraphic people who can't read maps? (They do say they will make accommodations for people with any kind of challenges like this. Hmmm...) Again, the ability to read a map isn't integral to being able to drive. People who know they can't do it make plans, like learning the route beforehand, writing down instructions in sentences, or having someone in the passenger seat who can direct them.
Anyway, it all contrasts hugely with the American driving test which, quite frankly is a joke. There's one multiple choice test, and you can fail quite a lot of the questions on it and still pass, if you get my drift. The driving portion can last as little as ten minutes total, if, like my daughter's examiner said, "you look like you know what you're doing". They don't test parking, reversing, hill starts (which would be difficult where I live), emergency stops or anything other than driving round an uncrowded area, puling in between cones that are about 50 feet apart and stopping at STOP signs.
I could say "It's no wonder......", but I won't.