Getting the Novice Driver or N License BC Offers

If you're looking to get the N license BC provides (Novice Driver), you are halfway through the process of getting a BC drivers license. Getting the novice driver or N license BC offers, gives you the opportunity to begin to drive independently and gets you one step closer to the full, unrestricted class 5 driving license you desire. The novice driver stage can be a little daunting for many new drivers because it involves actual on road testing, but don't worry, we can help with everything you need to know and practice for the BC Novice driver test (BC N test).

BC Novice Car Driver's Licence

Drive safely for 1 year and pass the Class 7 road test to get Class 7N Licence

Getting Your Novice Driver Licence Comes With a Lot of Practice

In order to acquire your novice driver licence, you need to specifically practice certain driving skills and attitudes. You need to be able to demonstrate to a driving examiner that you are capable and competent in a variety of situations during the BC N test. We've laid out everything you need to focus on in order to get the N license BC provides in the shortest amount of time.

7L licence holder

In order to apply for the novice driver licence (the Class 7N or N license BC makes available), you need to have held a Class 7L licence (the learners license BC offers) for a minimum of 12 months, during which time you would have practiced with a supervising driver.

Book Your Class 7 Road Test

If you want to take the BC N test or novice driver test, you can either book online or via phone directly with ICBC

Study The Learn To Drive Smart Manual

No matter which licence test you're preparing for, it is always a good idea to review BC's Learn To Drive Smart Manual. Once you've reviewed the road signs, rules and driving guides, you'll feel a lot more confident attempting the BC N test. Practice your driving knowledge here.

Practice Driving

Your Class 7 L, Learners Permit was essentially your licence to start practicing driving under supervision. When you pass the ICBC knowledge test, you are given a driving log sheet and your goal should be to fill that sheet with a minimum of 60 hours of supervised driving experience prior to booking your Class 7 road test. Make sure your BC car insurance policy appropriately reflects your situation, and that you have the proper documentation for your vehicle.

The Class 7 road test is designed to test how well you have mastered the see-think-do skills required to drive safely and efficiently on British Columbia roads.

See - Scan the world around you for hazards

Think - Decide which hazards are the most dangerous, think of possible solutions quickly and decide on the safest solution

Do - Use the skills you have learned, to keep yourself and others safe

When practicing for the Class 7 road test, practice driving at a safe speed, looking well ahead, and stay alert and focused to see potential hazards. You must then identify possible solutions to those hazards and then come up with the best possible actions that will keep you safe. Some of the main skills you should practice thoroughly prior to booking your Class 7 road test are:

  • Intersection maneuvers (driving through, turning right, turning left)
  • Backing up
  • Entering traffic
  • Pulling over and stopping on the side of the road
  • Changing lanes
  • Parking on a hill/starting on a hill
  • Angle parking/parallel parking/stall parking (driving forward and backing up)
  • Two- and three-point turns
  • Merging on and off a highway
  • General driving (for example, driving straight, driving on hills and curves).

A Class 7 road test is meant to assess your basic driving abilities and comfort level when it comes to driving on non-highway roadways.

Pre-trip Check

Before beginning the novice driver test, the examiner will check to make sure that everything works well on the vehicle you've brought to the test ex. the horn, parking brake, high beams, turn signals etc. Chances are you will also be asked to demonstrate the hand signals for turning, so make sure you review those in the BC Learn to Drive Smart study manual before coming to the test.

Road Test

The N license BC road test will be approximately 45 minutes and will include some time at the end where the examiner goes over the test with you. Essentially at this point, you need to show the examiner that you are a confident driver who is able to obey all the road signs/rules, and drive in a safe and controlled manner.

Some of the biggest tips for passing the novice driver road test are:

  • Stay within the posted speed limits and don't drive based on the speed other cars are going
  • Stay aware of school zones and possible speed limit restrictions
  • Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Always scan an intersection when driving through even if it's a green light
  • Make a complete stop at all stop signs, show that you're checking for traffic and then slowly pull through the intersection
  • Always check your blind spots when changing lanes for other cars and for pedestrians/cyclists when making a right turn

Post-test Debrief

Once the novice driver test finishes, you will drive back to the examination center and the examiner will go over the test with you, identifying where you did well, where you could improve and give you a final pass or fail on the test.

Always remember, the examiners aren't going to try to trick you or ask you to drive illegally/unsafely. Practice beforehand, focus on driving properly, stay confident, remain aware of your surroundings and you will do well. Good Luck!

Just so you don't have to worry about whether you've forgotten something, we've put together a list of everything you need to do or take with you on the day of the BC Class 7 road test.

Get A Good Nights Sleep

Being well rested means you will be more alert and focused to do well on your Class 7 road test

Enough Fuel

Always make sure you have enough fuel in the tank before going to the road test

Arrive Early

Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment to take care of any administrative items as well as have time to settle down and be relaxed before your test.

Cancelling or Rescheduling

If you cancel or reschedule your road test appointment with less than 48 hours notice, or if you fail to attend your appointment you will be charged a $25 cancellation fee.

Safe Vehicle + Vehicle Safety Check

One of the first things the examiner will check is whether your vehicle is safe and operable enough for the test, so make sure you review your vehicle against our vehicle safety checklist. In addition to ensuring the vehicle is safe the registration and BC car insurance paperwork must be valid and allow for you to drive the vehicle.

Vision Aids

If you need glasses or contacts to drive, make sure you take them along.

Applicable Fees

Each driving test, including the novice driver has a specific fee requirement. Make sure you're prepared to pay the fees prior to starting the test.

Documents to Bring

In order to attempt the novice driver road test, you need to bring two pieces of ID: one primary and one secondary

Your Current Licence

Make sure you bring in your Class 7L licence when coming for the Class 7 road test.

Take The Class 7 Road Test

The BC Class 7 road test is approx 45 minutes and will begin with the examiner introducing themselves, explaining the sequence of the Class 7 road test and giving you the opportunity to ask any questions. Keep the following things in mind:

  • The examiner will remain silent for the duration of the test except to give you directions and/or advise you of a situation that needs your attention
  • The examiner will not try to trick you or ask you to do anything illegal. If ever unclear ask for clarification on instructions
  • The examiner is there to evaluate your driving and not teach or coach
  • At the end of the exam the examiner will go over the test with you and let you know of any suggestions for improvement

Test Re-takes

If you don't pass the road test on the first attempt, you can retake the test after waiting for 14 days and paying another road test fee.

A Licensed, Supervising Driver

In the event you don't pass the Class 7 road test, you will remain at the 7L level and will only be able to drive back from the test with a supervising driver.

Licence Expiry

When the N License BC provides is up for renewal, you will be advised by the Ministry to ensure you always drive with a valid BC driving licence

Minimum Licence Holding Period

You can attempt the Class 5 road test to get your class 5 licence after:

  • 18 months - if you took a ministry approved graduated license program (GLP) course at the learner stage and remained driving violation free for the duration of your novice licence term
  • 2 years if you did not take a GLP course at the learner stage

Display Your N Sign

By law, you must display the green "N" sign in the back of your vehicle while driving. In the event you lose your N sign, you can download and print a temporary one and then pick up a new one for free from any licensing office.

No Alcohol

You must maintain a blood alcohol level of zero at all times

No Electronic Devices

All handheld devices (phones, tablets etc.) are not allowed while driving.

One Passenger Limit

You are limited to only one passenger (immediate family members are exempt from this restriction) unless a licensed (Class 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5) 25+ supervisor is in the car with you.

Looking for Information on Other BC Car Driving Licence Types?

BC GDL Process

The BC GDL process helps guide new and experienced drivers through the British Columbia licensing process

BC Class 7L Licence

Your Class 7L licence is the first step in learning how to drive a car in British Columbia. Let us help.

BC Class 5 Licence

You Class 5 licence is the final step in getting an unrestricted, full British Columbia driving licence.

Looking for a Different British Columbia Drivers Licence Type?

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