Driver Knowledge Tests

Using affirmations to help you pass your driving test

If you suffer from nervousness or poor memory affirmations might be a way to help you pass your learners permit test or practical driving test. This article explains what affirmations are and how you can use them in the weeks up to taking your test to condition your mind for the best performance. Once you’ve passed your driving test you can continue using affirmations to influence other areas of your life, if you want.

Affirmations have been used for centuries by all kinds of people to help them change their current circumstances. Commonly called ‘self-talk’, they are often used by sportspeople, salespeople, business executives and those meditating for whatever reasons. High-achievers achieve because they tell themselves they can (they affirm to themselves), and they surround themselves with other people that tell them they can, too.

What is an affirmation?

An affirmation is a phrase that you repeat to yourself over and over again that states a positive intention as if it has already happened.

Let’s break that down:

A phrase is just a short sentence. A positive intention is something that you want to happen in the future. Saying it as if it had already happened means that you word the phrase as if you already have that characteristic. For example:

“I am relaxed and confident when driving”

This phrase is a perfect affirmation in that it is short and sweet, it’s positive and it is said as if you have already achieved the end result. You might know at this particular moment in time that you are not relaxed and not confident; fortunately your subconscious mind ignores that and just takes the statement at face value, and always positively.

Therefore, you must not make an affirmation with a negative wording. For example, you must never have an affirmation like “I’m not nervous when driving” as all your subconscious hears is I, nervous, driving, and if doesn’t understand the negative.

Why does an affirmation have to be in the present?

The subconscious mind works very simply: itĀ gives you what you focus on. This is why you must word it positively and in the present. If you affirm “I want to be relaxed when driving” then what you are telling your subconscious mind is that you want to be relaxed, not that you are relaxed, and they are two very different things. Technically you will know that what you are affirming isn’t yet true, but your subconscious doesn’t know this and will just absorb the messages until it starts affecting your conscious.

Using affirmation to improve your memory

If you’re going for your theory test then you can use affirmation to improve your memory of the road rules. Here’s a couple of examples:

“My memory is excellent and I can recall facts easily”

“I always remember the meaning of the road rules”

Using affirmations to improve your driving

When going for your practical test you will be doing it with an examiner. For some people, this is nerve-wracking, but fortunately you can use affirmations to help you with this.

“I am calm and confident behind the wheel”

“I relaxed when driving and always react appropriately”

“I understand and follow instructions on the road perfectly”

As you can see, there are many different ways in which you can address what you see as your issues with driving, as long as you ensure that the statements are made in the positive and in the now.

When and how should you use affirmations to help with your tests?

While it’s true that you will get an immediate boost from affirmations – even just a few minutes before a test – you will get better long-term results if you do affirmations for a few weeks before you take the driving test.

There are several ways you can incorporate them into your day:

  • 5-10 minutes of sitting quietly repeating them to yourself
  • Choose a piece of music you can sing them along to (careful with your choice of music, though)
  • Repeat them rhythmically while you are walking or jogging
  • Do them while on a bus

Don’t expect dramatic results overnight; the speed of the results depends on a number of factors:

  • How ingrained is your current wrong belief or habit? (e.g. if you believe you have a bad memory, how strongly do you believe it)
  • How much affirming can you do? (there’s no set time for affirming, but one-minute a day won’t be as good as ten minutes a day; an hour a day is probably overkill)
  • What’s your environment like? (if you constantly have people negating your affirmations, they will take longer)
  • Do you believe it will work? (if you don’t believe it will work, it will be much more difficult to get results)
  • Do you have another strongly held belief that cancels this one out? (for example, you are a certain ethnicity and you’ve been told that that ethnicity are poor drivers therefore your deep rooted belief isn’t that you are a bad driver, it’s that your whole ethnicity are bad drivers, in which case you need an affirmation to fight that, too).

After you’ve passed your tests you can continue to make up your own affirmations to help with all aspects of your life.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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