At How-2-Drive, our potential driving instructor (PDI) part 3 training process has evolved. This is due to recent changes the DVSA have made to the ADI part 3 exam.

Read on to learn more about how we have responded to these changes and how we believe they will benefit everyone.

Real life experience for trainee instructors

Our driving instructor training now covers all the same essential teaching skills and trainer simulation that will be covered in the ADI Part 3 test. This will help us make sure that all PDIs we train qualify with the skills they need to deliver client-centred lessons to pupils of all abilities.

We are now also giving all trainees who hold their PDI licence the opportunity to work with real pupils under close supervision. This will help them prepare for the real life test in their final exam. It will also give them real-world experience they otherwise wouldn’t have gained until they’d actually passed all three exams.

Our new ADI Part 3 course structure

1. Core teaching skills (10 hours)

Core skills include:

  • Lesson planning
  • Route planning
  • Teaching skills such as briefings, demonstrations, and fault identification and correction
  • Risk management

2. Lesson content skills (20 hours)

This section focuses on lesson content and the driving syllabus. It includes:

  • Moving off and stopping
  • Junctions
  • Roundabouts
  • Parking
  • Dual carriageways
  • Traffic lights
  • Defensive driving

3. Lesson structure (10 hours)

At this stage, PDIs begin to plan real lessons for pupils of all abilities. Their trainer will play the role of pupil. This will make sure that the learning and teaching environment is safe and that lesson content is delivered correctly.

4. Real life lessons (10 hours)

Having practiced teaching in simulated lessons, the PDI now moves on to teach real pupils. During these lessons the trainee will be under the continual supervision of their trainer, who will watch from the back seat.

5. Training real pupils on a PDI Licence

Once the trainee has completed 40 hours of training from steps one to four, they can apply for their PDI licence. The PDI may only begin to work unsupervised with real pupils once they have their pink PDI badge and only if their trainer is satisfied they are sufficiently skilled to do so.

At this point, driving instructor trainees must undertake an additional 20 hours of training. After 6 months of teaching under their PDI licence, the trainee must then take and pass their ADI Part 3 exam.

Benefits to instructors and pupils alike

The new Part 3 exam provides PDIs with a real incentive to work as an instructor using their trainee licence. With the old-style test, there was no real benefit to gaining real-life teaching experience beforehand.

The old part 3 simulated test was becoming very predictable. So much so that rather than being trained to be effective instructors, trainees were simply being coached on how to pass their final exam.

Now, however, trainees benefit from working whilst holding their PDI licence. As part of this process, they can:

  • Choose a real pupil they have been teaching and have built up a good rapport with
  • Plan a lesson that their pupil will benefit from
  • Deal with the unpredictable nature of pupils, and learn to adapt lesson plans as appropriate
  • Learn to manage ‘real’ risk to keep pupils safe
  • Benefit from an additional 20 hours of tuition with their trainer


At How-2-Drive we believe we will be training better driving instructors as a result of these changes. The knock-on benefit is that these ADIs will in turn go on to train safer and more confident drivers. The safety of Britain’s roads will improve as a result.

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a driving instructor, or are already a PDI who’s looking for a better trainer, get your free no-obligation driving instructor training guide.