K53 Test Scoring Method

Time limits for the K53 driver’s licence test

The K53 test scoring method for light and heavy motor vehicles includes a time limit for the first part of the test conducted in the yard of the testing station. (There are no time limits for the motorcycle K53 test)

Yard test: 20 minutes including the pre-trip vehicle inspection. If you pass the yard test you will continue with the road test.

Road test: Takes between 20 and 45 minutes.


Yard test fail items

You will fail the yard test and the entire test will be discontinued if:

  • you exceed the time limit of 20 minutes for the pre-trip inspections and the yard test manoeuvres
  • you have been allocated more than 50 penalty points (see next topic – Scoring method)
  • you fail any one of the ‘immediate fail’ items in any manoeuvre (see next topic – Scoring method)
  • The stopwatch will be stopped after completion of each of the following, and re-started before the next item:
  • the instructions for the pre-trip inspections
  • each yard test manoeuvre
  • the road test


Scoring method

You may accumulate a certain number of penalty points during each part of the test – each manoeuvre and road test situation. If the examiner penalises you more than the allowed number of penalty points you will fail the test.

In addition to these per-manoeuvre penalty points, you will also be allocated penalty points each time you make the following errors:

  • not showing courtesy towards other road users: 1 penalty point
  • not checking in the mirrors every 5 to 8 seconds: 5 penalty points
  • looking in the mirrors for too long: 1 penalty point

Some manoeuvres do not carry penalty points as such. Instead, you completed the manoeuvre correctly in order to continue with the rest of the test. If you are unsuccessful in any of these ‘immediate failure’ items, the test will be stopped immediately and you will have to reapply to do the test some other time.


K53 test – immediate failure items

Light and heavy motor vehicle test:

  • use a vehicle that is unroadworthy or not licenced
  • have a mechanical failure of the vehicle
  • violate any traffic law, road sign, signal or road marking
  • make an uncontrolled or dangerous action
  • be involved in a collision you could have avoided
  • bump any obstacles, mount a kerb or touch a boundary line
  • fail to complete a manoeuvre within the allotted number of attempts
  • allow the vehicle to roll forward or backwards
  • fail to demonstrate that you can give a hand signal correctly when instructed to do so
  • exceed the 20-minute time limit for the yard test
  • exceed 50 penalty points for the yard test
  • exceed 8 penalty points per minute during the road test.

Motorcycle test:

  • use a vehicle that is unroadworthy or not licenced
  • fall off the motorcycle or allow it to fall
  • violate any traffic law, road sign , signal or road marking
  • make an uncontrolled or dangerous action
  • fail to wear a suitable safety helmet
  • touch any boundary line
  • exceed 50 penalty points for Part One of the test, or 90 penalty points for Part Two
  • don’t succeed with one attempt:
    • moving off
    • turning left
    • lane change to the right; or
    • don’t succeed within three attempts:
    • moving off and riding
    • turning speed judgement
    • emergency stop and emergency swerve; or
    • stopping


Penalty points allocation

With each yard test manoeuvre (e.g. parallel parking, incline start) there is a specific number of penalty points that can be allocated for a particular element of that manoeuvre

For example, penalty points are given for any action that:

  • you do, but which should not be done, e.g. needless stopping
  • you should do but fail to do, e.g. signal your intention; or
  • you don’t do correctly, e.g. position the vehicle for turning

Example of penalty points per error made:

Approaching an intersection with the traffic lights showing green:

  • 3 points – not checking in the mirrors
  • 5 points – not checking in the blind spots
  • 5 points – not signalling correctly if intending to turn
  • 3 points – incorrectly changing lanes
  • 5 points – not checking right and left for cross-traffic
  • 4 points – not correctly positioning the vehicle for turning, if applicable
  • 4 points – not cancelling the signal after turning, if you turned at the intersection

As can be seen, the K53 test scoring system is pretty strict. This is why it is so important to prepare properly – by studying the requirements closely and also taking driving lessons with a qualified driving instructor.


Recommended K53 test preparation material

Choose the format you prefer:

In these materials every motorcycle test manoeuvre is explained in full detail (with illustrations) in together with the sequences in which the K53 defensive driving actions must be carried out.


Related pages

The K53 Driving Licence
Licence Codes
The K53 Driving Licence Test
K53 Driving Test Scoring Method
K53 Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
K53 Road Test
K53 Motorcycle Riding Skills Test
Which K53 Manual To Use For Preparation?
CD – Topscore K53 Learner’s and Driver’s Licence Test Success