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Worried about the practical? What to expect from your Motorcyclist’s Practical and how to prepare yourself for the test

Worried about the practical? What to expect from your Motorcyclist’s Practical and how to prepare yourself for the test

Taking a test is always nerve-wracking; and taking your motorcycling Practical test is certainly no exception. This article is designed to explain what you can expect from your Practical test, how to prepare, and how to make sure that you pass first time around.

First of all, it’s important to note that in April 2009 a new Practical test was developed. The new Practical involves a two-stage procedure; the first section is tested within a designated testing centre, and the second section involves an on-road test.

Riders will need to have completed their CBT (‘Compulsory Basic Training’) as well as successfully having completed their Theory test before proceeding to the Practical stage. The Practical is broken down into Modules ‘1’ and ‘2’; the nature of your Practical test determines the type of motorcycling license that you receive, and your freedom to ride in the future.

In order to have an unrestricted license (i.e. one which permits you to ride a motorcycle of any capacity at any speed under the legal limit), you must successfully carry out your Practical on a bike of at least 33bhp. Anything under this capacity will restrict you in terms of the type of license you hold and the motorcycles you are permitted to ride with.

Age restrictions do play a part; riders aged sixteen and under are restricted to 50cc Mopeds, and riders of seventeen and under can only ride a 125cc motorcycle. A ‘light motorcycle’ license is referred to as the A1; riders aged 21 and over can obtain a full motorcycle license to ride a high-powered vehicle with restrictions.

Whether you are working towards a ‘light’ or a ‘standard’ motorcyclist’s license, the Practical is the same; only the bike that you complete the practical on is different. The Practical is broken down as follows;


  • Conducted off-road.
  • Lasts approximately twenty minutes.
  • Riders must complete the following manoeuvres according to their instructor’s specifications: wheeling the machine, using the stand, doing a slalom and a figure of eight, cornering, hazard avoidance (must take place at a minimum speed of 32 mph), coming to a controlled stop (must also take place at a minimum speed of 32 mph), the U-turn, a slow ride and an emergency stop.
  • You can choose how you ride (i.e. in a left or right-handed circuit)
  • In order to proceed to Module 2, you must successfully complete Module 1.


  • Conducted on-road.
  • Of approximately thirty minutes duration.
  • Riders will be asked to ride during the allotted time in a wide-range of different traffic situations, and to perform movements such as normal stops, and hill and angle starts.
  • You will have to complete a basic eyesight test (reading license plates etc. from a distance) as well as various road safety questions.

Source material:

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