Tips and advice

Show me tell me questions explained

‘Show me, tell me’ questions are a part of your driving test. Our guide to the questions and answers tells you all you need to know

driving test

If you’re learning to drive and need to know which questions you could be asked during the ‘Show me, tell me’ sections of the practical driving test, look no further. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the ‘Show me, tell me’  part of the test including an example list of common questions and answers. 

The ‘Show me, tell me’ questions have been a part of driving tests since 2008. They are designed to test whether the candidate knows about various safety and maintenance aspects of their car, as well as how to operate some of the car’s features safely while driving.

Our simple guide will tell you how to master this section of the driving test.

Practical driving test tips: how to get your driving licence

What are the ‘show me, tell me’ questions?

Your driving test will begin with a ‘tell me’ question, in which you’ll be required to describe how you’d carry out a safety or maintenance task verbally.

At some point during your driving test you’ll be asked a ‘show me’ question, which requires you to use one of the car’s basic features while driving, such as rolling up or down your window or turning on the window demister. The examiner will be watching to make sure you’re not only able to perform this task, but that you can do so safely without getting distracted from the road ahead.

Below are examples of different ‘Show me, tell me’ questions that you might be asked on your driving test

‘Tell me’ questions

At the beginning of your test, the examiner will ask you to read the number plate of a nearby car to test your eyesight. Before you set off, you will then be asked a ‘tell me’ question which is designed to test your knowledge of how to carry out a safety or maintenance task. 

In this section you’ll only be required to tell the examiner how to perform the task verbally, but for questions 12, 13 and 14 you’ll also need to open the bonnet and point out certain areas of the engine.

1. Tell me where you’d find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.

You’ll find the tyre pressure information in the car’s manual. You should use a reliable pressure gauge making sure to check and adjust the pressures while the tyres are cold. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre if the car has one and remember to refit the valve caps.

2. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.

The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.

3. Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.

Check that the tyres have no cuts or bulges. There should be at least 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.

4. Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

You should operate the switch, turning on the ignition if necessary. Then you should walk around the vehicle. (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

5. Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.

The brakes should not feel spongy or slack and should be tested as you set off. The vehicle should not pull to one side.

6. Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

A warning light should illuminate on the gauge cluster if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.

7. Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

You should operate the hazard indicator switch, turning on the ignition if necessary. Then you should walk around the vehicle. (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

8. Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.

You should operate the brake pedal and make use of reflections in nearby vehicles, windows or doors, or ask someone to help check while you operate the pedal.

9. Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

You should operate the fog light switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Then you should check the warning light on the gauge cluster is on, indicating they are working. Fog lights should only be used when you can only see a distance of 100 metres.

10. Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.

You should operate the switch, turning on the ignition or engine if necessary (most cars switch from dipped beam to main beam by pulling or pushing the stalk). To check your main beam is working, look for the main beam warning light on the gauge cluster.

11. Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.

If the steering becomes heavy, the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, 2 simple checks can be made:

Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning. 

12. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.

Identify the dipstick/oil level indicator and describe how the oil level should sit between the minimum and maximum markers.

13. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.

Identify the high and low level markings on the header tank where fitted or the radiator filler cap. Describe how to top up to the correct level between the high and low markings.

14. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

Identify the reservoir and check the level against high and low markings.

‘Show me’ questions

During the test, you’ll be asked to physically demonstrate your answer to one ‘show me’ question. There are only seven of these to learn, and you’ll be asked simple things like how to wash and clean the front windscreen, and how to turn on the headlights. Once again, your instructor should make sure you’ve done all these things in the course of your lessons.

Here are the ‘show me’ questions you could be asked:

  1. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?
  2. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?
  3. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?
  4. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?
  5. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?
  6. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?
  7. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?

What if I get the answer wrong?

Fortunately, you won’t fail instantly – a wrong answer is recorded as a ‘minor’ fault. Throughout the whole driving test, you can make up to 15 minor faults and still pass.

This whole section is over pretty quickly. The key is to listen carefully to what the examiner is asking you and if you’re unclear, ask them to repeat it.

Now you know about the ‘Show me, tell me’ questions, check out our guide to the hazard perception test and the theory test

Most Popular

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Car technology
22 Jun 2022

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light

Electric MG 4 to arrive in September
2023 MG 4 - UK front
MG
4 Jul 2022

Electric MG 4 to arrive in September

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Facelifted Volvo XC60 driving - front
Deals
1 Jul 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
20 Jun 2022

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
24 Jun 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022