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Driving Theory Test Explained: Strategies for Success with Chris Bensted
Preparing for your Driving Test Episode 931st February 2024 • The Driving Confidence Podcast • Kev & Tracey Field
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In this episode, Kev and Tracey had the pleasure of delving into a thought-provoking conversation with Chris Bensted, a driving instructor and the founder of Theory Test Explained. Chris brought a unique perspective to the table, intertwining his personal experiences, and his passion for making driving education more accessible and understandable for all.

We chat about:

  • The Driving Theory Test
  • Building confidence through understanding 
  • Embracing difference learning methods

While listening to this episode, ask yourself:

  • How well do you understand the ‘why’ behind your driving actions?
  • How do you feel about your driving if it isn’t perfect? 
  • How predictable do you feel your driving is to other road users?

Find out more about getting help from Chris at: https://www.theorytestexplained.co.uk/

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Transcripts

Kev:

So in today's episode, we're delighted to welcome on Chris Benstead

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from Theory Test Explained to come and

have a chat, all things theory test.

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Yeah, so welcome, Chris, and

thank you for joining us today.

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Chris: to be here.

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Thank you for having me.

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We've known each other for too long and

not worked together, so I'm very pleased.

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Kev: Yeah, we're used to seeing you

in passing going, so we must talk.

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And then three months later,

we do the same thing again.

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Yeah.

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So we've got some time to

actually talk to you now, and

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we're going to talk about theory.

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Chris, just a quick one, because

I get asked this quite a lot.

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Why is there a theory test?

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Chris: I don't know.

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Um, so if, if, if we go with, if we

go with the logical reason, everything

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that we do should be to make the

road safer and to make drivers safer.

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So , why is there theory

as in why are there rules?

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It's so that we know what we're doing

to make us safe so that we're protecting

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other people against ourselves.

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Because they know what to expect, that

makes us predictable, and predictable is

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safer, and then if other people are doing

something, we can see the predictable

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ones and they're not a danger to us,

and we can spot the ones that aren't

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predictable and get out of their way.

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So, , that makes us safer.

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, so, theory as knowledge, , as

things that are there and

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rules, that's why it's there.

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Why is there a theory test to prove

that you know those rules, but if

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it doesn't make the road safer, if

you couldn't pass the practical test

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without knowing the rules, then there

isn't a point for it , and, except for

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the fact it will put me out of a job.

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, I would argue that if, if there isn't

a point, we should get rid of it.

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Or, my, my preferred point, bring in

something that's really good, , which,

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you know, if anyone is listening

who has that ability, I've got

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it written already, I'll happily,

uh, you know, sell it to them.

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Um, so, I, I think looking at what

makes us safer , is what we need

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to be doing with the theory test.

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So, what, what that results in Is none

of us take it seriously enough and

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then it becomes a problem to people

and then that becomes the point that

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it's a problem and not it's a solution.

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It's not something to get you there.

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Um, so we all need to be looking for

the good in the theory, , and not

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getting annoyed about the fact that

actually some of it is pointless.

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Kev: Now I know, so when you were

talking about that, I love that idea

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that Making everybody predictable

on the road so that you can, you can

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be predictable and so that you can

spot other people who are predictable

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and you all know what you're doing.

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That made me think very much

about community on the road.

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That idea that actually you, we all

have a bit of a community agreement.

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almost, to behave in certain ways, act

in certain ways, so that everyone knows

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what they're doing to keep us safe.

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It's almost like a bit of a

dance, isn't it, on the road.

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Chris: and, I think it's exactly that.

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It's, it's that thing

where it's not about us.

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And I, I think insurance is

a lovely example of this.

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I only realised this the other

day, third party cover, the only

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thing you're not covering is you.

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You don't insure your car, you insure

the rest of the world against you.

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Doing something and we all do that.

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We're protecting other people.

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It's it's about other people.

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, because the assumption is we're

all going to do our best and that's

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good enough because if everyone does

that, we look after each other and,

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you know, it is, I think when we

think about driving, it's a system.

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As you said, it's a community

and we, if we can work together.

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Actually, you know, you, you do see

things that sometimes, you, you question

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their values of what's important.

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You talk to that person, they're

not deliberately trying to be

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dangerous, they just have a

different view of what safe is.

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And they're doing it still, so

it must have gone reasonably

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well up to that point.

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So we're part of that community, just

because we're on a different part of that

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bell curve of what's safe and what isn't.

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As long as we all End up in a, in a

good, safe average position, then, we

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should all end up relatively safe.

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Kev: Which is what we're

all after, isn't it?

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At the end of the day, if everyone

stays safe, everyone stays happy.

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Which is always good.

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Chris: you, you don't have to, you

don't have to be perfect, because the

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lovely thing about that predictability

is, as long as you can predictably get

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it totally wrong, so , you're obvious

about the fact that you're, you're doing

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something that, because you misunderstood,

or, you know, you didn't see it, or

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you saw it differently, as long as

you can predictably get it wrong, so

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other people look at you and go, well

that's silly, they'll keep out your way.

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And we haven't got to

be optimum all the time.

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We can have a bad day and still stay

inside of that bubble of safety,

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which I, I like that approach.

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I think, I think that works, works well.

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Kev: you're quite right.

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Everybody does have bad

days, for whatever reason.

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, so, why are so many people

worried about the theory test?

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Chris: I think, no one

tends to like tests.

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I think that word is, is very loaded

with all of us because it, , it's pass

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fail, it's judgment, it's opinion.

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It's being told that what

you did wasn't good enough.

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None of those are nice positions to hold,

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I think if you can get to the point

where you realize that every time you

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don't succeed, you actually learn more.

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Um, you know, that helps,

but it's still not nice.

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But I think really.

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We're a bit rubbish at it.

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I think, if you start with the

people whose test it is, the

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DVSA, the questions are rotten.

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Some, some of them, some of them are

pointless because they're out of date.

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Um, off the top of my head, my top

three, top three pointless questions.

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Um.

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Or, you know, the, the information

that they're based around.

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Etching your number plate on the

windows of your car, which we used to

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do in the 1980s, , and you can still

get the kit at, for 25 at Halfords.

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Other providers are available.

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Uh, actually, they're probably

not available, it's probably

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only Halfords that still etching

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Kev: They got surplus stocks.

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Chris: Yeah,

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Kev: I used to do that.

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For

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Chris: the police , will,

uh, there's a roadside.

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They'll, they'll do it as a service.

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, because it's, it's about

making the car less nable.

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Um, so, you know, it, it's still a

thing, but with so many cameras around,

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, it's a bit outdated as, as a method.

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Similarly, community

vehicle watch schemes.

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I'm not aware of any in the

UK anymore, they've all been

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discontinued, but we still have

the question on the theory test.

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Or we assume we do, it's in the

revision questions at least.

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, and then so many other pointless ones

to choose from, the questions that are

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based on what would you do if you were

in an impossible situation that won't

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happen, that aren't based around what

would you do to keep yourself safe.

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And you've got to interpret.

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A question that you're not going

to end up in that situation.

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There's a few of those.

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I would say they're kind of my, my top

hated questions all topping up batteries.

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It's a competition between that.

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Um, yeah, so they're the ones

that I just think are a bit.

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bit pointless and they should be updated.

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So that's DVSA criticism.

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, The criticism of driving instructors,

which I'm always popular for as an

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instructor, criticizing instructors.

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Um, but I mean, again, not the

individuals, but the industry, the, the

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collective, the community of instructors.

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We tend to, the way we're introduced

to it as we qualify, is go and do

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theory on your own and then we'll

teach you to be an instructor.

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So we end up carrying that with us.

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And , we end up saying to pupils, well

just go and read the highway code.

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I hate that, but anyway, just

go and read the highway code.

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And then, with the knowledge from

the Highway Code, we'll test your

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understanding that you haven't been

taught, and we'll criticise you for it

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until you get the minimum standard that's

required, and then we'll go on from there.

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And then just to share out that

responsibility, the drivers, whether it

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is qualified drivers or people taking

the theory test, are not necessarily

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committed to the why, they just want to

know, right, just tell me what to do here.

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And that's fine, until you get

to a new situation and you've

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got to use those skills to adapt.

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And you've got to be able to transfer

that and, and take into account

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different factors and things.

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So, yeah, we're all kind of on

the wrong side of the theory test.

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The concept's great, but the actual

thing, we, we don't do it very well.

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And I think because of that,

people feel under supported.

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Kev: me, that's where the links come in to

anxiety, nerves, confidence while driving.

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It's that lack of knowledge and

understanding, because you can know

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something, you can know what that sign

means, or you can know what the answer

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to a particular question is about

etching your registration on your.

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window, but knowing isn't

the same as understanding.

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So it's that understanding the, the

underpins, because if you understand why

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you're doing something in a particular

situation, that can be transferred

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into other situations as well.

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You filled in that.

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gap and you know what to do.

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Because whenever you're stuck in

a situation and you're, you go, I

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don't know what to do, what do I do?

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Immediately you get adrenaline,

cortisol, , our brains hate doubt.

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They hate uncertainty.

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I mean, I say this so often, don't I?

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So as soon as there is anything where

you go, I don't know what to do,

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stress, immediately you get stress.

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So by knowing the why, by getting

the understanding, you're taking

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away a whole factor that could

relate to driving nerves and anxiety.

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The

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Chris: absolutely.

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And I think adding on to that, there's

that element that we were talking

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about before of safety that comes from

that, because if you, I think that for

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me, the division between knowing and

understanding is knowing it is when

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you kind of go, yes, in my head, it's

got a place and understanding it's then

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being able to tell it to someone else.

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So it makes sense to them.

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And if we reflect that onto the road,

if I know what I need to do, it's That

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doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to

understand what other people are doing.

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So you've got that same

knowledge isn't understanding.

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, and there, if you don't know what

they're doing, you're, you're on your

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own and you feel isolated, whereas

if you kind of go, do you know what?

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I'm in the same place as

all these other people.

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And that.

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Go back to that word, community.

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Your community, the people that

listen to your podcast, are finding

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other people with the same, you know,

challenges that they've got, and the

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information that's going to benefit all

of these, this community, not just them.

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And there's something about that

that makes you feel feel less alone.

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And if you can feel less alone, you know,

um, smile at all the other drivers is

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something that I regularly say to people.

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You get some funny looks at traffic lights

when you both, especially the driving

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instructor, both of you sat there grinning

out the window at the person next to you.

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Um, you get a few funny looks, but

yeah, you know, do it with a smile.

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Because a lot of the time they'll join in.

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Um, and if you feel, you know, act as if.

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You're supposed to be there.

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You are a driver.

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You're entitled , to being, , comfortable

in that position, , act as if you are.

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And, and often that follows as well.

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But yeah, I think that

that whole thing of.

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, they all follow , the same thing.

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It's just that sometimes we feel as, as

you say, we, we feel that doubt creep in.

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And at that point, you know, the

someone's pulled the plug and

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the water's draining out rapidly.

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You know, it is, what

can you do to stop it?

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Kev: way I explain it Normally

make the unknown known

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Chris: Yeah.

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Kev: like, what do you mean by that?

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How if I don't know it, I don't know it,

how would you know it , what might happen?

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You know, these are the sort of questions

I don't think, you know, when you look at

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the theory test as it is at the moment,

it's like one question, multiple choice.

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You've gotta take an answer, haven't you?

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, but I know I would quite like

to, you know, how would you.

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I'm at that question slightly differently.

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If I came to see you struggling

with my theory, you know, I

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can't, how would you adapt that

questioning technique the DVSA use?

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How can we adapt that to

help people learn better?

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I suppose, is a,

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Chris: you have to do air, air quotes.

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When you say questioning technique,

the DVSA use, um, it, it's, yeah.

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So my first session, I often might look at

a question from the DVSA, , because That

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brings in a whole other world of things.

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, I don't know if multiple

choice is good or bad.

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Because I think if I say to , most

of the people taking the test, I'm

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going to take away the multiple

choice and I want , you to answer it.

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It magnifies the doubt, because

they've got to get it right.

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But then you can kind of say, but your

right doesn't have to be their right.

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Just because it's not there right

doesn't mean yours is wrong.

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, so that allows us to have more

understanding because that's

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more personal at that point.

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So, there's a question mark over wrong.

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It's just not right at that time or

it's not the one they're looking for.

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, And that's something I find with

driving instructors as well.

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You know, often the driving

instructor asks a question with

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a pre determined answer in their

head and it's not the wrong one.

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It's just not the one that they

wanted or the one at the time.

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So the first thing I do is remove

those DBSA questions and just go,

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let's look at how , we can work

out what's being asked of us.

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If we understand the expectation, and we

understand what we're trying to achieve,

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we can better understand how to get there.

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Otherwise, you've just got

someone shouting, do it, at you,

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and you don't know what it is.

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that doesn't work.

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The second thing, it's dependent

on the person a lot of the time.

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I would either get rid of the

answers and look at the question.

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So let them work out from their

knowledge and understanding

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what what does it mean to them?

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Let's work out.

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So if it starts with , one of my

top tips, you know, I kind of start

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with looking for full stops because.

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If you've got sentences before the

question, they're there for a reason.

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So, if you work out why they're there,

you'll know why they're asking it.

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So, if it says, it is snowing,

then we kind of know it's going to

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be to do with the fact it's icy.

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Slippery on the road surface.

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It's cold.

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It's white, which could be quite glaring

and everything can look the same.

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So, it could be quite

camouflaging as well.

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It's, if it's falling from the

sky, you can't see as well, and you

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might have pedestrians, particularly

children, if the schools are shut,

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more likely to be where they shouldn't

be, , because they're having snowball

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fights in the middle of the road.

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So if we know that about snowing, that's

not a technical thing, that's just snow.

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If we know that, we know they're

talking about that, we've got a

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better idea of what the answer is

going to be, and then we can talk

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around it, and then we can bring in

the answers and go, does it match?

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And if it doesn't, fine.

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, what now makes sense?

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How can we connect it?

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How can we join the dots?

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Because you're dealing with less.

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So you've got your big bucket of stuff

and then you're going, okay, out of that

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bucket which bits of information match?

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And if it matches, it's probably right.

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Or, the other way round.

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Get rid of the question.

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Look at the answers.

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You're then, instead of trying to find

from an infinite number of answers the

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answer to that question, when you read

the question, you know it's one of four.

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So you've narrowed down the fields.

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Excusing the pun.

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Kev: yeah.

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Chris: Uh, because when I said

it, sorry, but you, you, you've

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narrowed it down , to four things.

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It's got to be one of those four,

so now I'm going to feel less worry,

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less anxiety about whether I know

the answer, because do you know what?

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You know the answer, you just don't

know which one of the four it is.

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So.

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You're not trying to find your

answer, which could be, if you're

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an over thinker, which is a phrase

I question anyway, because no one,

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no such thing as over thinking.

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Um, I love thinking.

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Thinking's great.

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That's why I don't sleep.

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Um, so, if you, , if you tend to

go to the ent degree on, you know,

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what, what is it they're looking for?

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How are they trying to catch me out?

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You know, what is it that

I got wrong last time?

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Um, you end up thinking

yourself in a knot.

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If you do that, answer's first.

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At the moment, there's no

revision stuff for the theory

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test that does answers first.

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, I've recommended it to everyone I can,

so someone will come along with that.

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But, um, answers first is

a really good approach.

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And it often depends on you, try both,

have a look at it, and it's a strategy

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you can kind of use for a lot of things.

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It's not just theory is do you look

at what's available first and then

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choose from it or you do you decide

what you're what you're trying to

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achieve and then find what matches?

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That's my approach to it.

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And then the other bit is when you

get it wrong, don't just move on.

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Find out why.

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Learn so that you know more for next time.

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And every landing is a good landing.

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So, you know, uh, As long as you reflect,

and you use it to make sure it's better

324

:

next time, and you're honest with

yourself, that's the biggest thing.

325

:

If I could change one thing

about the theory, get people

326

:

to be honest with themselves.

327

:

And you go, is it that I don't know it?

328

:

Is it that I don't understand it?

329

:

Or are there technical words

in it that I don't really get?

330

:

Yeah, the number of people that don't

know what a dual carriageway actually

331

:

is, , but will answer questions all day

long about dual carriageways, and to

332

:

clarify, it's a barrier down the middle.

333

:

That's it.

334

:

It's none of the other stuff.

335

:

Don't care how many lanes, I don't

care what the speed limit is,

336

:

it's a barrier down the middle.

337

:

, And that, , know what you're talking

about, because otherwise, you're

338

:

gonna have , the wrong answer.

339

:

And

340

:

Kev: Yeah, so when you get it wrong,

don't just find out what the answer

341

:

was and go, Okay, I'll try and remember

that next time, because you won't.

342

:

, It's the trying to understand,

, why did I get it wrong?

343

:

And why is that the right reason?

344

:

See,

345

:

Chris: had clients that are able

to tell me, I don't know what they

346

:

are, but it's the bottom right one,

which when the one word changes in

347

:

the question, it changes the answer.

348

:

So, you know, That doesn't work.

349

:

I call that situational learning.

350

:

They've learned exactly that one thing,

but you can't transfer that anywhere.

351

:

Um, and unless we're trying

to achieve 25%, you just keep

352

:

saying it's the fourth one.

353

:

And actually you're better off with

the DVSA going for the first one

354

:

because there's a definite bias.

355

:

If in doubt, go for the first one.

356

:

Um, so I do.

357

:

Yeah, it's, I think sometimes it's that.

358

:

Oh, and the other thing, mustn't forget

this one, know the wrong answers.

359

:

Is that one of the biggest criticisms

I get is, but you teach people

360

:

75 percent of the wrong stuff.

361

:

If they just read the highway

code, they know the right stuff.

362

:

Sometimes knowing it's

wrong , is a really good thing.

363

:

So if you're in a driving

situation and you look and you

364

:

don't think it's safe, don't do it.

365

:

So seeing what you don't like.

366

:

You might get them beeping horns

behind and getting stressed

367

:

and, you know, pressuring you,

which comes from you, not them.

368

:

But if it's not safe, don't do it.

369

:

Because I'd rather that they shouted

at me than I had a problem involving

370

:

metal on metal or, you know, it's that.

371

:

Keep, keep yourself safe.

372

:

Space is safe.

373

:

, we want space around us.

374

:

, so the same with the theory.

375

:

Knowing the wrong stuff sometimes could

be really useful because you can go,

376

:

well, it's not that because, of whatever.

377

:

The one that jumps to mind, it's

not a very good one, but one

378

:

jumps to mind is, um, fog lights.

379

:

They'll put, , fog lights and then

put in brackets, Where visibility

380

:

is more than a hundred metres and

you wouldn't use fog lights unless

381

:

it was less than a hundred metres.

382

:

That's quite subtle.

383

:

So spotting, spotting the

deliberate mistake, it's the

384

:

wrong answer, that's why it's

deliberate, , helps you then stay safe.

385

:

And again, spotting other people's

errors helps you stay safe.

386

:

Kev: I love that, because

we create stories.

387

:

And it's similar to what you're saying,

like understanding or not understanding.

388

:

, and it's a sign that's

got a tractor on it.

389

:

You know, what does that mean?

390

:

Oh, it's going to be

tractors and that's it.

391

:

Normally, that's that's all you get at.

392

:

But if you can create a story relating

to that tractor, where has he been?

393

:

What speeds he going?

394

:

What else might be with that tractor?

395

:

And that all of a sudden.

396

:

Creates something that they can remember

about a tractor sign, and it's just,

397

:

it's just trying to do things slightly

differently, I feel, rather than

398

:

saying, if the tractor sign comes up,

it's number three, or whatever it is,

399

:

.

Yeah, but that, taking it that , extra step.

400

:

So there's a tractor sign, that

might mean tractors, so what?

401

:

So always asking that.

402

:

What next?

403

:

So what?

404

:

What might that mean?

405

:

And that's, you know, that's

all sorts of things, isn't it?

406

:

It might mean he's round the corner,

so I might see him round that hedge.

407

:

It might mean that

there's mud on the road.

408

:

It might mean all sorts of things.

409

:

Yeah.

410

:

Chris: Tractors are an interesting

one when you think about the hazard

411

:

perception, because actually the tractor

becomes dangerous when it disappears.

412

:

So, with all of the other hazards, they

will be visible and they will develop.

413

:

With the tractors, what they

tend to do is they disappear,

414

:

and that's when they develop.

415

:

Kev: admit the hazard perception is

quite interesting on its own, I feel.

416

:

Well, you've got that whole

perception or prediction, haven't you?

417

:

So there's a whole other, a

whole other area you go to there.

418

:

Chris: It's, it's, it's joining dots.

419

:

It's exactly what you said about the sign.

420

:

So if we think of the sign

as being knowledge, you,

421

:

you've been told something.

422

:

You know that there's a

likelihood of tractors.

423

:

Because someone else had the problem,

that's why they put the sign up.

424

:

We don't put signs up unless we have to.

425

:

So, someone else has had that problem.

426

:

They've decided that the solution

is, let's stick a sign up.

427

:

So, they've given you

knowledge of a problem.

428

:

That doesn't mean that you're

going to do anything about it.

429

:

If you ignore it If you don't think

about why or, or those connections,

430

:

there's no understanding at that point.

431

:

But then if you've got your story

around what does a picture of a tractor

432

:

look like and what do we connect

with it, , you've got other things.

433

:

So it might be, if there hasn't been a

problem with that tractor, but you're

434

:

driving down a road and you smell cows,

that you think, hang on, cows, tractors,

435

:

tractors, mud on the road, and you, you

slow down because of that connection

436

:

and you build that bigger picture.

437

:

And, and really that's what the

hazard perception is designed to do.

438

:

It's to, , bump up the, that priority

list of the brain and, and get it so that

439

:

you're more likely to see and engage with.

440

:

the stuff, because it

makes it more important.

441

:

So when you become a learner

driver, you see L plates everywhere.

442

:

, same as when you become a parent,

you see babies everywhere.

443

:

If you're a football fan, your

football team or the rival

444

:

team, you'll spot it a mile off.

445

:

It's, if it's important to you,

then you're going to see it.

446

:

And I think, particularly thinking

about, you know, those that find

447

:

that they're over stimulated

by the stuff that's out there.

448

:

It's then dealing with it, so that if

you see it and you've dealt with it,

449

:

why would you worry about it anymore?

450

:

You know, forget it, drive on.

451

:

, and if you can do that, it

stops being noise, and it starts

452

:

becoming useful information.

453

:

There's a benefit to it.

454

:

Why would you worry if it's all good?

455

:

Kev: And you tend to less

worry if you smile more.

456

:

Chris: Yes!

457

:

Yeah!

458

:

Absolutely!

459

:

Yeah, I, I, no, stick a pen in your

mouth if you don't think you can manage

460

:

it, because, you know, force a smile.

461

:

Um,

462

:

Kev: there's a piece of

research around that.

463

:

Chris: yeah, it is, it is, you know,

if you, it's the same as standing up.

464

:

So, um, the, the other thing in the car,

if you don't feel confident, is to put

465

:

yourself in a confident driving position.

466

:

And, you know, body language will follow.

467

:

, same when you go for the theory test.

468

:

If someone's taking a test, and it

doesn't have to be a theory test, any

469

:

test, if you're going for an interview,

all of those factors, , as Tracy was

470

:

saying earlier about the, the sudden

flood , of You know, doubt hormones

471

:

and and stimulators in your brain.

472

:

It is the same thing,

but the other way around.

473

:

We can feel confident.

474

:

So if you can do that.

475

:

Again, you're, you're

not fighting yourself.

476

:

, that's gotta be , a good thing.

477

:

I never like selling on that bit, because

I like solving the, the actual problem

478

:

of, you know, if you've got a problem

with the theory test because you can't

479

:

answer the questions, come and see me.

480

:

But what I do is, I help people

feel happier about taking the test.

481

:

And most of the time, that's what

gets them across the finishing line.

482

:

Because they've got strategies in

place, and they're not always, , is it

483

:

going to make them safer on the road?

484

:

It's, is it going to make them more

confident when they're taking the test?

485

:

Kev: Yeah, because there's no doubt.

486

:

I mean, there's so much research,

isn't there, around this.

487

:

So if we can keep people at a level

where logic doesn't disappear,

488

:

then they're much more likely to

perform better and use the knowledge

489

:

and understanding that they need.

490

:

Is in their brain.

491

:

If they are too stressed, then

unfortunately, logic shuts down.

492

:

Retrieval can shut down and yeah, smiling,

body language, power, posing all of that.

493

:

Can it, it can just all add

little tiny bits, , to really help

494

:

Chris: You know that you've

got the strategies as well.

495

:

Look at the person next to you,

because chances are they are

496

:

just, you know, shooting and

hoping, , and you've put the work in.

497

:

So, statistically, , you've got twice

the chance of passing that they have.

498

:

, so make yourself that person.

499

:

It's what the army say about

prior preparation and planning.

500

:

So it is about, you know, if you can go in

feeling that you've done, you know, it's.

501

:

You're still going to

get things that go wrong.

502

:

You're still going to get

questions you don't know.

503

:

You're allowed to get

seven wrong on the theory.

504

:

You're allowed to make fifteen

recordable errors on the practical test.

505

:

In life, you're allowed

to get stuff wrong.

506

:

It's fine.

507

:

It's what you do with it.

508

:

And some of my best achievements have

been off the back of cocking up, I'm just

509

:

really good at spinning stuff, when,

you know, I'll take it and I'll go, all

510

:

right, I've learnt from that, , let's

get there, let, let's move it forwards,

511

:

, and now people get to learn from my

mistakes rather than make them themselves,

512

:

Kev: It's all about that though, isn't it?

513

:

, that lack of preparation.

514

:

And that's normally in life in general,

isn't it, but especially for the

515

:

theory test, I think, is people's

perception of the theory test is,

516

:

well, it's just common sense, isn't it?

517

:

Chris: I hate that phrase, yes, I agree.

518

:

Kev: It's only, it was that simple.

519

:

Chris: Common sense is the

application of prior experience.

520

:

So, the very fact that you

haven't done it before, you're

521

:

not going to have common sense.

522

:

You might have prior experience in

other areas you can draw across.

523

:

Once you realize the parallel, you should

always record your successes, because

524

:

then you can look back and go, well,

actually, in this situation where I don't

525

:

know what to do, what did I do previously?

526

:

If that doesn't work,

look at someone else.

527

:

Or sometimes we don't

like looking at ourselves.

528

:

We don't like seeing ourselves

as being successful because that

529

:

means we've got more challenges

up ahead and that's not good.

530

:

Um, none of us like, you

know, being successful.

531

:

Who would?

532

:

But it brings on those negativities

of what if I get there?

533

:

Fear of success.

534

:

So actually, look at someone else , and

model that behavior of what would they do.

535

:

And one of the things that I've always

done as a practical instructor,

536

:

dividing the two, , because I'm

now driving instructor without

537

:

a car, , but as a practical

instructor, , I always used to say,

538

:

so , what is, or who is a good driver?

539

:

Not one of them mentioned

me, and I'm the one.

540

:

I'm the one they want

to teach them to do it.

541

:

So, they'll go, my dad, my uncle, my

mate, but, and it's always followed by

542

:

a but, they drive too fast, they drive

too close to the car in front, they're

543

:

really aggressive, they get angry,

they're scared, they won't go on the

544

:

motorway, whatever those things are.

545

:

Let, let's get a better

model to work from.

546

:

Let's find out what good is and

don't over expect from that either.

547

:

'cause that's not gonna help you if,

if you're trying to be, you know, I,

548

:

I appreciate this as a podcast, so

not everyone can see that clearly.

549

:

I don't go that regularly to the gym.

550

:

So I, yeah, I, I'm, I, this is natural.

551

:

That's what I say?

552

:

So.

553

:

, if I want to achieve a gold medal at

the Olympics, I'm limited on options.

554

:

Um, that fast walking looks quite fun.

555

:

Um, I like the technicality, but that

might be a bit athletic, to be honest.

556

:

Um,

557

:

Kev: Chris, shooting.

558

:

Chris: yeah, there's that.

559

:

Point and shoot.

560

:

Um, you haven't seen me go bowling.

561

:

It's, it's somewhere else,

it's somewhere else's lane.

562

:

And

563

:

Kev: do shooting.

564

:

Don't do shooting

565

:

, Chris: I would, uh, you know,

I think that you've got to be

566

:

realistic inside of what that is.

567

:

And we take a drive, so you're

going to go to the shops and back.

568

:

Has it got to be perfect?

569

:

Have you got to get there and

get into the space first time

570

:

otherwise you have failed.

571

:

Or, can you get there, buy your stuff

and get home, and not have broken

572

:

any laws, not have been unsafe, that

doesn't mean you've got to get it

573

:

right all the time, you're inside of

the, you know, the acceptable margins.

574

:

If you've achieved that

successfully, don't sit there

575

:

and tell yourself you haven't.

576

:

know, be realistic about this.

577

:

And again, if you can then have a good

model to work to, what is a good drive?

578

:

What is an acceptable drive?

579

:

Um, you know, I'm always

really honest about my driving.

580

:

I'm not very good at it.

581

:

I'm not a natural driver.

582

:

Became a driving

instructor, sat in the car.

583

:

My trainer said, why do you

want to be a driving instructor?

584

:

And I said, uh, firstly,

I'm being made redundant.

585

:

It's a good reason to be here.

586

:

I need a new job.

587

:

, but I'm I'm good with people, don't

particularly like people, but I'm

588

:

good with people, and I'm really good

at breaking stuff down and making

589

:

it the simplest level, and it's

because I'm not that bright myself,

590

:

so I have to work hard to make it

simple so I understand it, right?

591

:

That's where I sit, and I accept that.

592

:

I don't deal, my brain doesn't

deal with complicated well.

593

:

So I can't manage complicated.

594

:

So I've got to make it nice and simple

and bring it down to a level at which

595

:

I can I can handle those bits going on.

596

:

And lots of people are like that.

597

:

I'm just really honest about it.

598

:

And it's not me being negative at all.

599

:

It's honest.

600

:

I have no problem with

all of those factors.

601

:

And interestingly, um, It took me

to the age of 43 to get diagnosed as

602

:

dyslexic, and I know that a lot of those

factors are because of how my dyslexic

603

:

brain needs to deal with information.

604

:

And it's not that I need it simple, I

need it in a way that I understand it.

605

:

And to do that, because it's

not being provided to me, I've

606

:

got to work it out for myself.

607

:

Kev: Yeah.

608

:

It's like you have to break it down into

those bite-sized pieces and then create

609

:

your own new processes that match the

way that your brain's wired, isn't it?

610

:

It's just a different way of.

611

:

Wiring and processing.

612

:

It's

613

:

Chris: which arguably

makes me really clever.

614

:

Kev: a conference.

615

:

Chris: likes people who go around

and say, I'm really clever.

616

:

So, you know, I'm working to my strengths.

617

:

make it simple.

618

:

And I, you know, I, I think that you've

got to take that approach with things.

619

:

And, and I think that's, what's

going to make me a good driving

620

:

instructor at that point.

621

:

I wasn't one.

622

:

So, um, and he looked at me and he

said, that, everybody says I'm

623

:

a good driver or I like driving.

624

:

And I was like, no, I hate driving.

625

:

That's why I'm going to

be a passenger as a job.

626

:

Cause I drive and.

627

:

I'm not good at it.

628

:

Good luck.

629

:

You're going to be trying to get me

through a test that I know I can't

630

:

currently pass, because, you know,

I've had numerous driving instructors

631

:

dual control me over the years.

632

:

Um, on an off day.

633

:

, and again, now I know that this is

down, down to my neurodiversity,

634

:

that, um, you know, and I haven't been

tested for any of these things, , the

635

:

only unofficial diagnosis I've got

is dyslexia, but there could be lots

636

:

of letters in there, I don't know.

637

:

But I know the days when I'm not

functioning so well, and generally

638

:

speaking, I avoid driving.

639

:

, and I'm better, by reflecting,

I'm better at understanding

640

:

me, and when I don't drive,

641

:

,

Kev: I'm so glad you put that explanation in, because you started off by going,

642

:

well, I have to . break it down into

small pieces because I'm not that bright

643

:

and you probably saw me sort of like

stiffen and thinking hang on a minute

644

:

there's a lot more to this I know that

so I'm really glad that you put that

645

:

explanation in because it's so important

for everybody else out there listening

646

:

Regardless of your neurodiversity, if

your brain is not wired in the way to

647

:

take on the processes as they're being

taught to you, then it is that solution

648

:

of breaking it right down into as small

pieces as you can and rebuilding the

649

:

process in the way that works for your

brain and the way that you're wired.

650

:

Chris: But it, it's that thing of if,

if you're not successful with it, it's

651

:

very easy to feel like it's because

I'm stupid, or because I'm not capable,

652

:

or because I always get it wrong.

653

:

And, and actually, as, as you said, if

you can accept that fact that I need to

654

:

process this differently, , and I think

we're much better understanding that,

655

:

then we can all get a better outcome.

656

:

Because what you can also

do is say to other people.

657

:

I need a bit of help here.

658

:

, and I, I do that in the car.

659

:

, if I turn the stereo off,

it's because I need to focus.

660

:

I'm not good with music playing

and high pressure situations,

661

:

whatever they might be.

662

:

I, I was driving in London, this

week, and there were a couple of

663

:

moments when it was just too much.

664

:

Just, just too much and I need,

I needed to narrow things down

665

:

and deal with what was important.

666

:

But.

667

:

You know, in that situation, no

way could I have been multitasking.

668

:

And I had people in the car with me, so

I couldn't be talking to them either.

669

:

But they know that I need, so

if the stereo goes off, shut up.

670

:

You know, let me focus, let me deal

with this, and then, and then we can,

671

:

we can start up again in a moment.

672

:

, and it's doing that.

673

:

, because then you can focus

and you can feel in control.

674

:

So it might be that sometimes

you need a bit of comfort.

675

:

You need, you're lost.

676

:

You need someone talking you through it.

677

:

, just saying, it's all right,

don't worry, everything's fine.

678

:

Then that's fine.

679

:

But they need to know When to mute.

680

:

And it's those, those things, having

that awareness of you and how you work is

681

:

the first step towards being able to do

something in the way that works for you.

682

:

Um, and, you know, I, I, yeah, I say,

I say it tongue in cheek because I

683

:

like to think I've figured out a way

to be making use of how my brain works.

684

:

, and, , trying to then help other

people by using the same thing.

685

:

Having been there.

686

:

Especially when I got , my diagnosis,

things from my past came back and I was

687

:

like, okay, they were the moments that

stood out to me, which some of them were

688

:

the, you're not good enough moments,

, when other people had decided it was

689

:

because I wasn't good enough, not because

I had a, a difference of whatever it was.

690

:

And, and I think those.

691

:

Yeah, those are the things that

have helped make me who I am.

692

:

They're awesome.

693

:

It'd kind of be nice to time travel

and be able to address this, you know?

694

:

So I think we have to kind of be really

honest about things because that's

695

:

where we can then actually get hold

of them and do something with them.

696

:

That's for me where it comes from.

697

:

And that's not an excuse for

not being good at driving.

698

:

Um, that my, my, my excuse for that

is my hands and feet don't like

699

:

doing what I tell them to sometimes.

700

:

, and I need a lot of practice.

701

:

I need repetition because

I learn best that way.

702

:

That means that if, got a friend

who's got one of these, um, fancy

703

:

disability cars that's got a, a push

pull accelerator brake, um, a left foot

704

:

accelerator, I won't even try, I'm not

going near that, um, and a steering

705

:

ball, and she laughed at me because of

the level of concentration that I had

706

:

to have to, to have a go at driving it.

707

:

And she sat there with dual

control, so it's all good.

708

:

I, I'm fully aware that I don't deal

with changing particularly actions.

709

:

I don't deal with

changing those very well.

710

:

So, I need repetition.

711

:

So, if I was to go down that route

and start having to drive with The

712

:

push pull or be teaching with it.

713

:

I would want to go out and do a

lot of repetition of that first.

714

:

So, you know, I'm very, very in

touch with how I need to learn.

715

:

, and I think it's all of those

differences and the fact that

716

:

I've managed to figure them out.

717

:

, it's taken a good few years.

718

:

Um, then.

719

:

You can pass that information on and, you

know, you can break it down for people

720

:

and, and they kind of go, Oh, okay.

721

:

It's not me then, because we

get made to feel that it is.

722

:

Kev: Yeah, absolutely.

723

:

And if you need to learn in

a different way, that's okay.

724

:

It is just about being, okay, I need

to go and learn in a different way.

725

:

Yeah, it'd be great to be able to

go back to teachers, wouldn't it?

726

:

Unfortunately, those of us of a

certain age, you know, neurodiversity

727

:

wasn't a thing when we were at school.

728

:

If only I could go back to the

maths teacher who kept saying you

729

:

got the answer right, but you've

lost all the points because you've

730

:

worked it out in the wrong way.

731

:

It's like, Well, I, your

way doesn't make sense.

732

:

My way makes sense.

733

:

Yeah, you've got the right

734

:

Chris: it, you're wrong

for getting it right.

735

:

How, how does that ever makes it, you

know, and, and, and that's the thing that

736

:

most of the massive developments in the

world where we've taken a leap forward

737

:

with something we found a solution,

you know, that there are people there.

738

:

So, yeah, absolutely.

739

:

Kev: We've gone off on a

neurodiversity tangent.

740

:

It is just unavoidable at the moment.

741

:

It's like you said earlier, when there's

something that you're interested in

742

:

that, you know, you see it everywhere.

743

:

So whether it's your football team

or whether it's neurodiversity.

744

:

Tea, so inevitably we, we moved to,

it's going to be though, isn't it?

745

:

Because again, whether it's a theory

test, um, a driving test or just driving

746

:

or life, it's all relatable, isn't it?

747

:

Chris: And neurodiversity is probably.

748

:

just another term for

people diversity, isn't it?

749

:

Really?

750

:

Because we, we are what's in our heads.

751

:

Kev: Yeah.

752

:

Yeah.

753

:

Chris: That, that's,

that's what makes us, us.

754

:

And it therefore means that anything

where you're dealing with you.

755

:

anything where you're dealing with

other people, that's almost all

756

:

that's relevant, is who are they.

757

:

Whether you're trying to sell them

the latest, you know, the latest

758

:

gadget, or whether you're trying to

help them develop a skill, or whether

759

:

you're trying to help them undevelop

a skill that's been protecting them

760

:

adversely, like, you know, anxiety.

761

:

It all comes from a good place.

762

:

, it's just got too much and you

need to kind of unpick it a bit.

763

:

All of those things.

764

:

That, that's where you've got

to start with, is with you,

765

:

you know, start, start there.

766

:

So, yeah, I, I, I think there, there's

not a line anymore, and I love that.

767

:

I just think there's still people

being let down by education.

768

:

Um, you know, , and that's so often where

I end up then stepping in, is it's the

769

:

people who've been told, these are the

things you're not good at, rather than

770

:

these are the things you need to be good.

771

:

Or the approaches you need to be good.

772

:

Um, So, Yeah, I think that's

where this massive hurdle of

773

:

theory test comes in the way.

774

:

It's a real thorn in the side of

people because of all of those reasons.

775

:

And actually it's not that difficult.

776

:

The facts, driving is pretty simple.

777

:

And that's where annoyingly you

get this common sense thing from.

778

:

Because you get it from the people

that have They figured it out.

779

:

It's like, I've been

doing this for 40 years.

780

:

What do you mean that you can't

do it when you've only been

781

:

doing it for five minutes?

782

:

. Kev: So before we talk about where

people can find you, when we first

783

:

invited you on, was there anything

that you thought, great, I really

784

:

want, I hope they ask me about?

785

:

This, or there's something that I

really want to say, is there anything

786

:

that we've missed in our conversation?

787

:

Oh,

788

:

Chris: the opportunity to say how

much I love the stuff that you

789

:

do because we haven't, , engaged

and work together enough.

790

:

, Because it's it's right up my street.

791

:

, as you can tell, they're they're the

things that I think are important.

792

:

So thank you.

793

:

It's the opportunity

to be here is awesome.

794

:

With regards to the theory, the

more I can shout about the fact

795

:

that learning before revising is

the key, , know your stuff, and then

796

:

see whether you can pass the test.

797

:

You know, start there.

798

:

There is stuff out there.

799

:

, you can get help, and that doesn't

have to involve a theory test.

800

:

So, if you are someone who is, is out

driving, and you don't feel that you know

801

:

enough, come and do a theory session.

802

:

You know, get a driving instructor

who can work it through with you.

803

:

, in a nice practical way of going,

you know, what's the situation for

804

:

me, aside from stupidly worded DBSA

questions or whatever it is, just the

805

:

practicalities of it, of going, do I have

enough , in my, my toolkit to be able

806

:

to, to then feel that I am being safe?

807

:

Because.

808

:

That void is, is often where things sit.

809

:

Um, driving instructors, be it

theory test , or what they call the

810

:

proper job, practical, are there for

everybody, they're a resource that

811

:

gets underused by qualified drivers,

find, find a nice one and go out

812

:

and, and, Work on things that way.

813

:

That's my my message.

814

:

Whether I'm the solution or I can point

people in the direction of other ones.

815

:

I just want us to be making

the world a bit better.

816

:

So, um.

817

:

You know, which sounds

trite, but it's true.

818

:

I, I just, I'm fed up with talking

to people that are, not being

819

:

given the opportunity because

there's not a resource there.

820

:

So, you know, it's about making

those resources more visible and,

821

:

you know, um, and anyone who's

listening has done a really good job

822

:

because they've found you already.

823

:

So they're clearly on the right track.

824

:

Kev: absolutely.

825

:

Thank you.

826

:

to our listeners.

827

:

Yeah.

828

:

For listening.

829

:

So how do people find you, Chris?

830

:

Great.

831

:

Chris: The easiest way

is, , theorytestexplained.

832

:

co.

833

:

uk , or chrisbenstead.

834

:

co.

835

:

uk, but my name hasn't got an A

at the end, so people spell it

836

:

wrong, I can't find it on Google.

837

:

And you end up with a bodybuilder

who You know, based on what I

838

:

said earlier, that's not me.

839

:

Um, so, uh, so yeah, TheoryTestExplained

is often the easiest one.

840

:

Uh, co.

841

:

uk, and say, get in touch with any, any

questions around that side of things.

842

:

, I'm always happy to, you know, I know

most resources that are out there.

843

:

Uh, I can point people

in the direction of them.

844

:

It hasn't got to be, they want my

services, but if they do, I'm here and

845

:

I'm always happy, , to try and provide.

846

:

But yes, that's, that's

probably the easiest.

847

:

Kev: Brilliant.

848

:

So, Chris, thank you so much for

joining us and giving up your

849

:

time and I'm sure that people

will find that incredibly helpful.

850

:

It's been, it's been great.

851

:

Chris: It's lovely.

852

:

Thank you.

853

:

I've, I've enjoyed the chat.

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