Update 12/09/2014: Amended for new content from the RMS

Well today I went to get my full license. I passed with no problem thanks to reading about the tricks the RMS (RTA) don’t tell you. I can imagine the number of people who would fail the test… as it’s utter stupidity. I would like to outline the flaws to the tests and how to pass it.

The Test

The test is composed of two parts.

The first section has 15 multiple choice questions each with 4 choices. This section tests your knowledge on how to drive safely and of good driving practices (e.g. the 3 second rule).

Sample questions

The second section of the test is the same as the Green P’s test whereby you have to respond to “hazards” in a series of video clips of real traffic from the driver’s perspective. There are 10 of these video clips. Here is an example:

Flaws

– The test supposedly tests your knowledge of road rules and good driving practices. The RMS (RTA) believe that knowing a bunch of statistics on crashes, times when people become most fatigued and the chances of killing a pedestrian at 70 km/h compared to 60km/h are supposed to reflect your driving ability. How is knowing these statistics meant to judge your ability to drive safely? It doesn’t. It’s just a memory game that disadvantages those who have trouble remembering numbers.

– The Hazard Perception section requires you to respond to hazards in the video clip. For those who haven’t done this test it’s a bit of a psychology game. In nearly all cases when you are asked to “turn right when it is safe” you do NOT have to touch the screen at all. Those who haven’t done it before naturally feel inclined that they are required to tap the screen even if they are not meant to. This is therefore a unfair assessment of one’s ability to drive safely.

– The clips only last about 30 seconds at the most and as those who have done the tests before know, that by the time the hazard appears it’s already too late to respond. The time to respond to a hazard on the screen is less than what it would be in real-life because of the difficulty seeing into the distance in a video clip that only focuses 10-20m ahead.

– The touch screen is sometimes slow to respond to your touch

– The videos showing traffic scenarios are compressed ridiculously… the level of detail is very low… I could see better looking through a cracked window.

How to Pass

– Read the handbook… if you are short on time read the ‘Key Points Summary’ of each section. The test actually requires you to know parts of the handbook.

– Learn all the main statistics from the handbook as these are tested in part A. E.g. causes of crashes and fatigue and crashes. Create a summary of all the main stats and learn them. The statistics will be outlined in the ‘Key Points Summary’ section.

– Have a run through of the practice tests. UPDATE: Here are the latest from the new RMS site:

    • Picking safe gaps – learn to safely judge safe gaps when crossing a stream of traffic from your right

    • Picking safe gaps II – learn to safely judge safe gaps when turning right at a set of traffic lights

IMPORTANT

– When you are asked to press the screen when it’s safe to slow down, you can pretty much press it immediately (give it no more than 1 or 2 seconds)

– If you are asked to “press the screen each time you need to slow down” – press the screen at each point where you see a vehicle coming towards you, or at the first appearance of a corner (look out for the sign). Do not hesitate to slow down – it’s always safe to slow down.

– When you are asked to turn right etc, in most cases DO NOT touch the screen. If you cannot see anything moving whatsoever then it might be ok to touch the screen but be hesitant. This can be tested in the practice that they give before the test (the second image above is from the practice test). There are a series of cars passing and you want to turn right. There is one safe gap in the clip. If you don’t touch the screen at all you don’t fail but you simply “could do better”… so this practice video is a good example on judging the acceptable distance for a turn in the real video clips.

– Take your time and be careful not to press the screen in quick succession as strange things may happen.

– Also refer to these tips

Personally, I think the Green P’s and the DQT are both revenue generators that do not accurately assess an applicant’s ability to drive safely.

Update: make sure you checkout http://mylicence.sa.gov.au/hpt