How Many Mistakes Are Allowed in the Irish Driving Test?

Posted on February 27, 2024

Like every time you get behind the wheel, learning to drive is a journey. It’s a journey filled with learning, practice and, inevitably, a few mistakes along the way.

And as the test date approaches, people often find themselves worrying or stressing over driving test mistakes which leads to pre-test nerves. Understanding how mistakes are categorised and how many you’re allowed to make during your driving test can significantly ease the anxiety that comes with taking the test.

Our guide below provides the specifics of permissible mistakes in the Irish driving test and offers tips on how to avoid them.

The Driving Test in Ireland

Once you’ve passed your theory test, held a learner’s permit for at least 6-months and completed your EDT, you are eligible to take the driving test in Ireland.

The Irish driving test is designed to assess your ability to operate a vehicle safely and competently on public roads. There are number of different elements, including questions on the Rules of the Road, a road driving component, and a manoeuvres section. 

Pass Driving test

The test evaluates your driving skills, decision-making, and adherence to traffic laws. And covers a wide range of driving scenarios and skills, including:

  • Adherence to traffic laws
  • Observation and awareness
  • Positioning on the road
  • Control of the vehicle
  • Anticipation and reaction to other road users


The driving test lasts approximately 30 to 40 minutes. This time frame allows the examiner to assess a variety of driving situations and manoeuvres.

Components of the Test

Oral Test: Initially, you’ll be asked questions on the Rules of the Road, road signs, and under-the-bonnet checks. This assesses your theoretical knowledge.

Technical Checks: You will be asked to identify and explain various vehicle checks to ensure the car is safe for driving. This could include checking oil levels, brake fluid, tyre pressures, and lights.

Practical Test: The bulk of the test is the practical component, where you’ll be assessed on your driving skills in a variety of road and traffic conditions. This includes starting, stopping, reversing, executing safe turns, and navigating intersections, among other tasks.

Manoeuvres: You’ll be required to demonstrate specific manoeuvres, such as reversing around a corner, turning about to face the opposite direction, and possibly parallel parking.

Categorisation of Mistakes

Test drive

Mistakes during the driving test are categorised into two main types: Grade 2 faults and Grade 3 faults.

Grade 2 Faults

Grade 2 faults, often referred to as minor faults, are errors that aren’t immediately dangerous but demonstrate a lack of complete understanding or control. Examples include incorrect mirror use, minor positioning errors, or not signalling timely. 

You’re allowed to accumulate a certain number of these minor faults without failing your test, provided they don’t form a pattern indicating a significant deficiency in driving ability.

Grade 3 Faults

Grade 3 faults are considered serious or dangerous. These are mistakes that pose a risk to the driver, passengers, other road users, or property. 

Examples include failing to yield, dangerous manoeuvres, or a lack of control over the vehicle. Committing a single Grade 3 fault will result in failing the driving test.

Grade 1 Faults

There is also a category for Grade 1 faults. However, these are seen as very minor and do not affect test results.

How Many Mistakes Are Allowed?

The allowance in the Irish driving test is up to 8 Grade 2 faults. However, it’s crucial to understand that these should not all be in the same category of driving skill, as this could indicate a significant area of weakness leading to failure. 

Accumulating more than 9 or more Grade 2 faults, or committing any Grade 3 fault, will result in a fail. As per the RSA marking guidelines, failure of the test occurs if the applicants picks up:

  • 1 or more grade 3 faults.
  • 4 of the same grade 2 faults for a single aspect.
  • 6 or more grade 2 faults under the same heading.
  • 9 or more grade 2 faults overall.

Tips for Minimising Mistakes

Practice Makes Perfect

The most effective way to reduce mistakes is through ample practice. Spend as much time as possible practising driving in a variety of conditions and settings. This not only improves your skills but also builds confidence.

Understand the Rules

A thorough understanding of the Rules of the Road is crucial. This knowledge forms the basis of safe driving practices and decision-making during the test.

Take a Pre-Test

Consider taking a pre-test with your instructor. This can simulate the test experience, helping you to become accustomed to the format and pressure of the actual test.

Learn from Feedback

If you’re taking lessons from a driving instructor, pay close attention to their feedback. They can help identify areas of weakness and provide targeted advice to improve your driving.

Stay Calm

Test anxiety can lead to mistakes. Practice relaxation techniques and maintain a positive mindset. Remember, the examiner expects to see a human driving, not a robot. They understand that minor mistakes can happen.


Passing the driving test in Ireland requires a blend of skill, knowledge, and composure. Understanding what’s expected and the mistakes you’re allowed to make can help reduce anxiety and pre-test nerves. 

Remember, the goal of the driving test is not perfection but to demonstrate a competent and safe level of driving. By concentrating on your driving, putting in the practice, and approaching the test with a calm and prepared mindset, you can get that full license. 

Good luck! And once you’ve passed your test, remember to contact KennCo for a fast, reliable quote on your car insurance.  And if you’re a young driver, learn how KennCo can help you get your car on the road quickly and easily. Call us today at 01 409 2600.

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