Saturday, April 09, 2016

Jac's Driving Experience: Part II.

Hello guys! So I said that I'd be back with a sequel to my driving post so here it is! Well, I know many people who don't have ...

Hello guys!

So I said that I'd be back with a sequel to my driving post so here it is!

Well, I know many people who don't have their licence yet and are thinking of getting one. So I thought this would make a useful guide. You know, seeing that I didn't want to make a call-to-action Facebook post because well, Facebook is full of stupid people who will give you all sorts of stupid replies except the one you really want. I could just picture it.
Idiots. I asked how to sign up for my driving licence, not motivation for running you over with a car once I pass.
(Via Giphy).

So in case you're like me and hate crowdsourcing for answers on Facebook, here's a (I hope) useful guide on what you can do to get your manual licence in Singapore.

#1 Decide on your course of learning.

And by that I mean you need to choose if you want to learn from a private instructor, or from a school. I chose to go with a school because I asked about 3 people in private but none of them knew any. And I couldn't be bothered to do any further research.
(Via Imgur).

But you know, there are quite a few private instructors around if you really go and ask your friends about it. I got a slew of instructors recommended to be immediately after I signed up with the school. Which sucked because I was paying like, $70 for each lesson when private students pay $20 - $30 per lesson.
(Via MTV).

But just so you know, only one of my friends who got a private instructor passed his manual on his first try.
(Via Giphy).

#2 Sign up for your Basic Theory Test

So the first thing you must do, before you do anything else, is to go down to a driving centre to book your Basic Theory Test (BTT). The BTT tests you on your ability to read road signs and traffic signals and stuff like that.
(Via Buzzfeed).

To do so, you have to sign up with one of the driving schools. There are three such schools in Singapore -
The ComfortDelGro centre is in Ubi, and the Singapore Safety Driving Centre is in Woodlands. I think BBDC's location is self-explanatory. I went to the ComfortDelGro Driving Centre in Ubi because my house, James' house, my dance class, and also my office is located along the Circle Line.
Anyway, the registration system is very primitive. You can't sign up online even though all the schools claim to have that function. You have to physically go down to the centre to create and account and sign up for your test. And no - no one can do it on your behalf. You have to do it by yourself.
(Via Imgur).

But the test itself is easy. I promise. Just read the book a few times and you should be okay. I completed it in 3 minutes. 2 minutes were spent on printing this slip.
If you fail then you probably need to go all the way back to primary school and visit the Road Safety Park and learn how to read traffic signs.

Once you get pass your BTT, you can get your Provisional Driving Licence (PDL) and start lessons! But I did not know this because I am stupid like that. So I went to sit for my Final Theory Test (FTT) first...
(Via Wifflegif).

#3 Sign up for your Final Theory Test

While your BTT tests you on like, whether you know how to give way, slow down, and know when it is okay to drive through a traffic junction, your FTT is a little harder than that. It tests you on your knowledge on how to control the car, driving techniques, and so on.

So what most people do, is to take some practical lessons before going for their FTT. You know, so that they would already have some basic knowledge on how to start a car, when to shift gears and so on? But not me.
(Via Giphy).

Did you know how freakishly confused I was by the functions of the clutch? What's biting point? What's half-clutch? How am I supposed to know if you're supposed to step on the clutch first or the brake first?!
(Via Imgur).

Point of advice: Start your practical lessons before sitting for your FTT. Makes life so much simpler.

#4 Book your Practical Lessons

So the slots for a month's worth of practical lessons are made available for booking in the middle of every month. My recommendation? Camp online, wait till the slots for the month are open AND BOOK EVERYTHING.
(Via Imgur).

I know it might seem extreme, but you see, to ensure that you get regular and sufficient practice in driving, you have to go for your lessons regularly. And to do so means that you have to plan your lessons for an entire month and book them before slots run out. I know they say it's bad to be kiasu, but in this case, KIASU-ISM PAYS.

I took, on average 3 lessons per week. I always scheduled my lessons on weekday mornings to avoid paying an extra $10 which the school implements during the evening peak periods and weekends. I went for my first  and second lessons in December, then stopped for a very long break before going on my 3 times a week thing in January. I went for my test on 2 April. So it took me about 3 months to pass!
(Via Gif Sec).

I was supposed to go in March but I had to go to Shanghai and Siem Reap. Yeah. It's a tough life.

#5 Give feedback

I know this sounds very stupid and wishy washy, but it's a useful point to take note of. So, I don't know how it's like in the other driving schools, but in Ubi you can sign up for this programme called "One Team" where you have two designated driving instructors instead of having a different one every time you go for class. Also you get the same car every time you go for your lesson, instead of using a car form the common pool, and you'd use a similar model for the test.
(One Team cars are marked with the colourful logo on the side).

You have to pay an additional $5 for this service, but you know, I figured that I would need all the help I would get to pass my test. I mean come on, have you seen what I'm capable of?
Yes. So I had two dedicated instructors. One was very good. I like him very much.  Good driving instructor taught me many useful things including, "If you mix Guinness and Red Bull ah, CANNOT SLEEP AH."
(Via Buzzfeed).

But seriously speaking, he was very calm and patient. And apart from the occasional "AIYO, YOU WANT TO GIVE ME HEART ATTACK AH." or the "WAH WAH WAH YOU DRIVE LORRY AH." he just let me do my own thing, and gave me specific instructions in a very measured tone if I happened to be driving like a drunk person.
(Via Imgur).

My other instructor. Was a nightmare. He would talk and talk and talk and talk and talk.
And I can't deal with people who constantly talk at me. I have two ears – one to listen to myself, and one for decoration. I can only listen to you when I'm not listening to myself. SO WHEN YOU KEEP TALKING AT ME, I get stressed and something like this happens.
(Via Giphy).

Which was all the time. So this bad instructor would pass me a phone to give feedback at the end of every lesson. I would usually put "excellent" for everything, because I'm not that fussed about what happens on your end. But there was one time that he shouted at me so much that I was like, THAT'S IT. You are getting a "very poor" grade.
(Via Giphy).

And the center dropped me a call the next day to ask about my experience and so on. And told me that I could file an "avoidance" case. Which meant that I would no longer be taught by bad instructor. WHICH WAS GREAT. I got a few instructors from the common pool, but good driving instructor arranged his schedule so that he could take on as many as my lessons as possible. He's the truly good man.
(Via Giphy).

So yes, that's the long and short of what you must do to sign up to learn how to drive! Let me just end of with a good diving song for you.

Have a good weekend!
❤ Jac.

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  1. Hi. Just happened to come across this post. These are good tips especially cos sometimes it's not clear how to go about getting a license here so thanks for this. However, would it be possible to cut down on the gifs? I feel like there are too many. Just my opinion though. Thanks! ☺

  2. Hi! I totally feel how you felt with your other instructor in one team. I just had a veeerryyyy bad lesson with my instructor today. So not my type of teaching! He pressured me every single second to the point i misplaced my leg on the wrong pedal and almost hit a tree! Freaking irritatinggg HAHA it was only my second lesson today and he was teaching me as if I know how to drive already. And he kept telling me that if idk how to drive, just take the bus. Bammm what a demoralising educator. So not worth my $84 (becos its a weekend). 😭

  3. "If you fail then you probably need to go all the way back to primary school and visit the Road Safety Park and learn how to read traffic signs."
    That's a very insensitive remark and you should be ashamed of yourself.

    1. Says the person who leaves anonymous comments?