Focus – Driving Test Success Deluxe Edition 2004/5 review

theoretical and practical help with your driving test
Photo of Focus – Driving Test Success Deluxe Edition 2004/5
£29.99

So you’ve got your driving test coming up? The best advice we can give, apart from obvious nuggets of wisdom like “Don’t mow the lollipop lady down at 50mph” and “No handbrake turns”, is to stay calm if things go awry. If you stall the car, even a few times, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically fail as long as you handle it well (calmly but swiftly applying the handbrake and so forth).

Keep your cool and be prepared: and it’s with the latter aim that a program like Driving Test Success is supposed to help. This revised deluxe edition is updated to the latest version of the Highway Code and it consists of four separate programs, namely Theory, Hazard Perception, Practical and a bonus Route Finder for when you’ve passed. Thoughtfully, Focus has also bundled a provisional licence application form with the package.

Reviewing the programs in logical order, Theory prepares you for the official DSA Driving theory test. It contains 1,000 questions drawn from the DSA question bank which you can answer in practice mode to learn the theory, and then in the full mock exam mode to test yourself.

A full version of the highway code is provided in a very PDF-like format, although annoyingly the text seems slightly blurry even with the high-resolution presentation mode turned on. Miscellaneous bits of information are also included such as links to motoring organisations, insurance companies and all sorts. There’s a lot of info stuffed onto this disc.

Of course, you’re also required to tackle the Hazard Perception exam and the second program deals with revising for this. This is smartly done with a test that mirrors, but isn’t an exact copy of, the DSA exam. The format is near enough identical. You watch a video clip and click when hazards emerge, then you’re marked on how quickly and appropriately you reacted. There are 2 CDs crammed with videos and a section of helpful advice on how to approach the test.

Then there’s the Practical disc which offers a 3D driving simulation split up into chunks dealing with various situations, from reversing around a corner to tackling a car park. On the one hand, these help familiarise you with good habits such as when you should check your mirrors, but on the other, the implementation is rather weak and the car’s controls are sluggish in the extreme. It can become an exercise in frustration when you’re made to repeat sections because of the unresponsive steering.

Finally, the bonus Route Finder package is a smart extra. It does the job well enough, although it’s fairly thin on options and the directions given can occasionally be confusing.

Company: Focus

Contact: 01889 570156


Verdict
The theory preparation discs are the strongest elements here, as the implementation of the practical CD is somewhat flawed and its usefulness arguable anyway. The decent bundled route finder livens the value of this package up, making it a worthwhile Christmas gift for those embarking on test preparations next year.