Earning your CDL, or commercial drivers license, is a testament to the amount of work and study you have put into mastering the vehicles that require the license. However, no matter how much you study and prepare for the test, a bit of nervousness before hand is normal. Here are for tips to help ensure you are ready for what ever the test proctor may throw at you.
1. Avoid automatic failures.
There are certain mistakes that can result in automatic failure depending on who is giving the exam. These mistakes are typically considered automatic failures because even though they may be small, they have potentially catastrophic results. These mistakes include hitting the curb, not using a turn signal, not checking your mirrors before changing lanes, and rolling backwards from a stop. However, there maybe other mistakes that can result in an automatic failure.
2. Your demeanor matters.
While it may not seem important, your attitude and the way you handle stress will be taken into account. Trucking is a high stress job and you are in control of the vehicle with dozens of tons of cargo. The examiner will want to know that you are capable of handling the stress of the job without cracking under pressure. In this case, fake it until you make it. Even if you are nervous, maintain your composure.
3. Take your time.
The age old advice of anyone conducting a test is for you to take your time, and for good reason. The test is not a race. Focus on performing well. When you are not rushed, you can more easily remember your training and what you have learned. This can make the difference between passing and failing the exam. Remember: the test is a marathon, not a sprint.
4. Practice if possible.
Not all states allow drivers to practice a maneuver before being tested on it, but if so, use this to your advantage. For example, if backing into a specific position is your weakest skill, use your practice time to try doing that. Do not dwell on it or get lost in your own anxiety over the exam. This little bit of last minute practice can be just what you need to ensure you performed the maneuver perfectly when it is time to be tested on it.
Obtaining your commercial drivers license opens the door to a number of jobs and career opportunities not available to someone with a normal license. Even if you do not have one of those jobs yet, merely owning the license is a qualification that will set you apart from many other applicants.