Driving Test in South Africa – What You need to Know

The driving test in South Africa is a critical step towards obtaining a full driver’s license. It’s designed to assess your driving skills, understanding of road rules, and ability to drive a vehicle safely. The test comprises two main parts: the yard test and the road test. Here’s a detailed overview of each component:

1. Yard Test

The yard test focuses on assessing your ability to handle a vehicle in a controlled environment. It includes several exercises that test your vehicle control skills, especially when parking, reversing, and navigating tight spaces. Key components of the yard test include:

  • Pre-trip Inspection: Before you even start driving, you’ll need to perform a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle. This involves checking the vehicle for any defects that might affect its safety, such as tyre condition, lights, and indicators.
  • Parallel Parking: You’ll be required to parallel park the vehicle in a space that’s slightly larger than the car. This tests your ability to control the car at low speeds and your spatial awareness.
  • Alley Docking: This involves reversing the vehicle into a parking bay marked out by traffic cones. It tests your reversing skills and ability to judge distances.
  • Three-Point Turn: You’ll need to turn the vehicle around in a relatively narrow space using forward and reverse gears. This maneuver tests your handling of the vehicle in confined spaces.
  • Incline Start: Demonstrating that you can start the vehicle and move off from an incline without rolling backward.

Each of these exercises is designed to test your control over the vehicle and ensure you can perform essential driving maneuvers safely.

2. Road Test

After successfully completing the yard test, you’ll move on to the road test, which assesses your ability to apply the rules of the road in real-life situations. The road test includes:

  • General Driving: Your overall ability to drive in various road conditions, including urban, rural, and highway environments, will be assessed. You’ll need to show proficiency in controlling the vehicle, applying road rules, and responding appropriately to traffic signs, signals, and markings.
  • Observation and Awareness: The examiner will assess your ability to observe your surroundings, anticipate potential hazards, and demonstrate defensive driving techniques.
  • Compliance with Traffic Laws: This includes obeying speed limits, yielding the right of way where applicable, and following traffic signals and signs.
  • Vehicle Positioning: Proper positioning in the correct lane, maintaining safe following distances, and executing safe and legal overtaking maneuvers.
  • K53 Driving Method: South Africa employs the K53 driving method, which emphasizes defensive driving techniques, including how you check mirrors, signal, and observe traffic before and during maneuvers.

Passing the Test

To pass the driving test, you must complete both the yard and road tests with minimal errors. Each part of the test has specific criteria, and accumulating too many penalty points for errors can result in failure. It’s crucial to prepare thoroughly, often with the help of a certified driving instructor, to ensure you’re well-versed in both the practical and theoretical aspects of driving according to the K53 method.

Once you pass the driving test, you’ll be eligible to receive your official driver’s license, marking your transition to a licensed driver capable of navigating South Africa’s roads safely and legally.


Overview of Public Universities in South Africa

Here's an overview of some public universities in South Africa, including general admissions requirements and estimated application periods. Keep in mind, specific program requirements and dates can vary significantly, so it's important to check each university's official website for the most current information.

University of Pretoria

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with minimum scores in specific subjects related to the chosen program; for international students, equivalent qualifications.
  • Application Period: Usually opens in March and closes at the end of July for most programs.

University of Cape Town

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with pass levels required for degree study; subject-specific requirements depending on the program.
  • Application Period: Application opens in April and closes at the end of July.

Stellenbosch University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required marks; some programs have additional testing.
  • Application Period: Opens in March and typically closes at the end of June.

University of the Witwatersrand

  • Admissions Requirements: Matriculation certificate with university exemption; required scores vary by faculty.
  • Application Period: Begins in March and ends on the 30th of September.

University of Johannesburg

  • Admissions Requirements: Matric exemption with a minimum APS score; specific subject requirements based on the faculty.
  • Application Period: Opens in April and generally closes by the 30th of September.

University of the Free State

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific marks for the program applied to; additional requirements for certain courses.
  • Application Period: Typically opens in April and closes at the end of August.

University of Venda

  • Admissions Requirements: Completion of the National Senior Certificate with an endorsement for diploma or degree studies; specific APS scores needed.
  • Application Period: Usually from May to September.

University of Fort Hare

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with university exemption; certain programs may have specific requirements.
  • Application Period: Opens around May and closes at the end of September.

University of the Western Cape

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific performance levels; additional requirements for certain programs.
  • Application Period: Generally from May to September.

North-West University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with university exemption; program-specific requirements may apply.
  • Application Period: Opens in March and usually closes by the end of August.

Rhodes University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate or equivalent; minimum academic performance in certain subjects.
  • Application Period: Applications open in April and close at the end of September.

Nelson Mandela University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required scores for chosen programs; portfolio or additional tests for some faculties.
  • Application Period: Opens in April, with a deadline at the end of August for most programs.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific scores; additional requirements for certain courses.
  • Application Period: Opens in May and typically closes by the end of September.

University of Limpopo

  • Admissions Requirements: Senior Certificate with endorsement for diploma or degree courses; specific APS scores for different programs.
  • Application Period: From April to September.

University of Zululand

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with an endorsement for bachelor’s degree studies; specific score requirements for various programs.
  • Application Period: Usually between April and November.

Central University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific scores for the chosen field of study; additional criteria for certain programs.
  • Application Period: Application period generally starts in May and ends in October.

Vaal University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with a pass that qualifies for admission to bachelor’s degree, diploma, or higher certificate programs.
  • Application Period: Typically from May to September.

Walter Sisulu University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required scores for chosen programs; additional criteria for certain faculties.
  • Application Period: From April to September.

This list provides a starting point for understanding the admissions landscape across South Africa's diverse higher education institutions. Given the variability in programs and requirements, it's crucial to consult each university's website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.