Yesterday I took my bus driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) Case Study Test and passed. Like the theory multiple choice and hazard perception tests, I was able to take it in Torquay near where I work. Very convenient. I just managed to squeeze it into my lunch break. There were 50 questions based on 7 Case Studies where basic facts surrounding fictional scenarios were presented. Most of this was covered by my revision for the Theory Test so I really didn’t do much preparation. That’s probably why I got 4 questions wrong. The pass mark is 40 and I got 46 out of 50.
So, that’s three out of five hoops I’ve jumped through so far. Just the Practical Test and CPC Practical Demonstration Test to do.
With the date of my bus driver Theory Test drawing closer, I thought I’d take the simulated Hazard Perception Test that’s provided on the DSA training DVD. Having watched the tutorial part of the programme earlier I went through the simulated test today. This is a series of clips recorded out on the roads, showing different real life hazards, both in the country and in town.
I thought it would be quite easy, having been a car driver for more than 30 years. I always try to be careful and observant on the road but I was disappointed to only score 1 out of 5 in the first section. What could have gone wrong?
I dutifully clicked my mouse when a hazard presented itself but, when I only scored 2 out of 5 in the next section I realised that I wasn’t identifying the potential hazards early enough. After each section the clip is re-run with a commentary to identify where all the hazards were. I soon found out that, not only was I late in clicking, I was missing simple things like a muddy road surface and warning signs beside the road.
After changing the timing and frequency of my mouse clicks, my scoring gradually improved until finally scoring 5 out of 5 on the penultimate clip.
Suitably pleased with my score, I moved on to the second practice Theory Test.
This evening I booked my bus driver Theory Test. That’s only three weeks away – gulp!
I’ve been revising from the official Driving Standards Agency (DSA) text books for drivers of large vehicles and earlier this evening ran through one of the practice theory tests provided by the DSA on their website. The actual test will consist of 100 multiple choice questions but the online practice test has 50 sample questions. I scored 47 out of 50 which was quite encouraging!
To be honest, most of the questions are common sense and all but the most irresponsible driver would score quite well without any revision. Previous experience as a conductor helped a lot because that has given me an awareness of what a driver of a large vehicle has to face.
I’ve also had a run through the DSA Hazard Perception training DVD (see photograph above) because that test has to be taken at the same time as the theory test. There’s also a simulated test session on the DVD which I’ll tackle next.
Just to explain, the young lady on the steps of the coach on the screen is the public face of the DSA training DVD!
It’s been a while since I posted anything (a whole month, actually) but several things have distracted me recently. Namely; Christmas, New Year and Snow. Yes, even in the South West. Ice and snow everywhere, not nice.
Bus services here are gradually getting back to normal after several days of cancelled or amended services. Routes that normally take in residential estates or rural areas have been curtailed to run on main roads as they have the only treated surfaces. Just as well really, Torbay probably has the hilliest terrain in the region to negotiate. That’s why, years ago, Devon General specified the largest engines available in the AEC Regents they ordered for service in Torbay. 9.6 litre I believe.
Anyway, back on topic. With life returning to normal shortly, I need to catch up on my theory revision and book a test. I’m sorry if posts are rather sporadic. Things will pick up again once I’ve passed my theory test and booked up my practical instruction. Even conducting is a rare event in the winter months as the service 400 “Exmoor Explorer” doesn’t start up again until May and private hire duties are normally covered by my conductor colleagues as they live nearer to the depot.