I passed my driving test on the 5th go, which makes it considerably more difficult than a PhD viva (which I got on the 1st go). It's also vastly more expensive. Passing a viva costs £162 to print out 3 hardback copies of the thesis, but they've paid you £37k by that point anyway. Passing a driving test on the 5th go costs £515 plus ~£400 for lessons to take the bloomin' tests in the first place, and no-one has paid you anything. Booo.
The lesson from this is to never, ever learn to drive. Get a doctorate instead. It's much easier and comes with a salary.
Despite shaking so much you could use my legs to break through reinforced concrete I managed to get away with only 2 minor faults. The only nearly serious thing the examiner thought I did was be too close to the center of the road while waiting at a junction. My instructor disagreed, which goes to show the test is, as I've previously postulated*, not entirely subjective.
*That would be a good name for a band...
I spent most of the test convinced I'd failed. First my parallel park seemed to leave me about 16 miles away from the kerb, but in fact it didn't. Then I thought I found myself waiting for a life-age of the Earth at every junction and thought I would surely accumulate so many undue hesitation's that I'd rival Clement Freud on Just a Minute. But the bit where I gained deep and unyielding conviction that I'd failed occurred at a roundabout, where I had to go round twice because I missed an exit.
There ain't nothing wrong with this, except that the examiner flicked the indicator back up to make sure I had a right signal on. I was told that if they touch the wheel, that's it. It seems there's a handy loophole in this one : the indicator stick isn't actually part of the wheel.
Ironically, it didn't ever occur to me that the one nearly-serious thing I did would be any kind of fault whatsoever. Ordinarily this would leave me to become so bitter and twisted with annoyance that I'd compose a sonnet to the evils of over-zealous examiners. Something like :
There once was a driving examiner,
Who couldn't rhyme anything with examiner.
So he decided one day,
To give up poet-ray...
And that was the end of the examiner.
See. That's what would have happened if I'd failed. I'd destroy this blog with Vogon level poetry. Instead, I shall have to pronounce by examiner the Nicest Man in the World and award him some sort of shiny medal. Now I just have to worry about passing the test again in a foreign country...