Tips for calming the nerves before the test

Discussion in 'Trucking Schools and CDL Training Forum' started by jmarc77, May 27, 2022.

  1. jmarc77

    jmarc77 Light Load Member

    Sep 17, 2021
    Today was the last day of practice I was able to get before my test on Tuesday. I first went for a ride with another student who I'm not very comfortable driving with, their skill level is not to a point that I feel comfortable riding in the truck with them. It was a rough ride that put me on edge immediately. I then went for a drive with two instructors who I hadn't worked with until today, one of whom is a test administrator.

    I was on edge from the first ride, and nervous being with two instructors who I hadn't worked with. I was also in a different truck than I had been practicing with. The truck I've been practicing with has a new transmission and clutch and shifts much differently. The instructors were both giving me different instructions and contradicting some of what I was taught by the instructors I have been working with, saying I was downshifting all wrong, I was revving the truck way too high, maybe a few other things. At one point I missed a 2 to 3 shift and I would've likely recovered it without much difficulty until the one instructor realized I was in neutral and loudly screamed "STOP THE TRUCK!"

    After that I was so shaken I was just a wreck. I was sweating, couldn't think straight. I was as shaken as I've ever been driving.

    The instructor had me go back to the yard and practice up and downshifting a bit and I did perfectly fine. I took a half hour break and the instructor I've been working with took me out on the road in the same truck and I did fine. Maybe not as smooth as I could be but I didn't lose any gears or anything.

    Anyways it wasn't the way I wanted my last practice to go, and I'm a still kinda jittery from it all. I'm sure I'll calm down a bit but I don't want to be this nervous when I go to test on Tuesday. I wasn't thrilled about my test being scheduled for Tuesday either, as I won't be able to practice on Monday since Monday is a holiday. But I'll have to make do. Prior to this I felt I was doing pretty well, but that trip today shook me a bit.

    Anyone have any tips for shaking the nerves on test day?
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  3. Kyle G.

    Kyle G. Road Train Member

    Jan 23, 2016
    Eastern Iowa
    Stop thinking so much and just drive the truck. You’ll do fine!
    TheLoadOut, Boondock, Vision and 10 others Thank this.
  4. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    To calm down, do enough physical exercise you are exhausted. 30 minutes of extra study or extra worrying will not help you now. Get your mind off the topic until you show up and test. Sleep is more important the night before your test than anything you can do or think about.
    Boondock, Vision, drvrtech77 and 2 others Thank this.
  5. Gsm

    Gsm Light Load Member

    Jul 14, 2018
    Have a Johnny Walker with rocks.... works every time
  6. ibcalm19

    ibcalm19 Road Train Member

    Nov 30, 2015
    Learning is ok stop thinking about failing. You are learning a new skill. You have to quite the voices in your head worrying to much and you might not have the best instructors teaching you. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. You have come this far & you will achieve your goal. Stick with it and relax.
    TheLoadOut, Boondock, newnew and 3 others Thank this.
  7. kranky1

    kranky1 Road Train Member

    Sep 16, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Yelling at you and making you stop was maybe a bit over the top on the instructors part. Myself, I would have waited to see what happened. Any idiot can miss a gear, but if you recover the shift and carry on there’s probably a little truck driver in you. After the fact I might have mentioned that a truck out of gear is out of control and it’s to be avoided. I think that was the point he was trying to make when he mashed the panic button. Just put that experience out of your mind and drive the truck, you’ll be fine.
    TheLoadOut, Boondock and jmarc77 Thank this.
  8. Trucker61016

    Trucker61016 Road Train Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    Linville, Va
    As Nike says, just do it.......
  9. FozzyNOK

    FozzyNOK Road Train Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Get some sleep the night before, don't load up on caffeine before the test, breathe.. study your notes on pre-trips.. then go out and drive. You know how to do this.. just another few moments in a truck.
    TheLoadOut, Boondock and jmarc77 Thank this.
  10. jmarc77

    jmarc77 Light Load Member

    Sep 17, 2021
    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I know I have the ability to do it. Just got really rattled today.

    This is good advice. I'll be sure to get a good night's rest.

    Lol maybe not the best advice...

    If said instructor had given me a minute to think for myself, I likely would've realized I needed to try for 4th and would've gotten it in. We were in absolutely no danger of running a light, hitting anything, or causing a collision. The truck hadn't moved more than ~50 feet out of gear.

    But at that point I was already shaken enough from the white knuckle ride earlier and was getting increasingly nervous with this unfamiliar instructor criticizing my every move without offering any constructive feedback. The whole trip had hurt my confidence, but once she yelled at the top of her lungs, I felt frozen. I'm not really sure how I managed to continue to drive after that but if I were in the same situation again, I would've pulled over at the next opportunity and got out of the truck.

    Anyway I'm gonna do what I can to forget about it, rest up and just drive the truck as many of you have said.
    Boondock and Kyle G. Thank this.
  11. AModelCat

    AModelCat Road Train Member

    Jul 7, 2015
    I scheduled a two hour lesson with the college I did my training through right before my test was scheduled. I just did a pre-trip and drove around town for 90 minutes with my instructor. Got back to the campus with the truck, had a bottle of water, took a leak then walked back to the truck and did my test. Most of the jitters were gone being I just spent the last 90 minutes driving the truck I was getting tested in.

    That said, I did swan dive out of the cab and hit the dirt when I got out to connect the lines while hooking to the trailer lol.
    tscottme and Boondock Thank this.
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