Class 5 Road Test vs Class 7 – Successfully Conquer Either


What’s The Difference Between The ICBC Class 5 Road Test And Class 7 Road Test?

Are you going for your class 5 road test in beautiful British Columbia? Or maybe just wondering about the differences between Class 5 and Class 7 road tests?

I can tell you they are very similar. In each one, an examiner sits beside you, tells you where to go, judges your every move, and you have to pay for it. Fun times.

Let’s talk about the differences between the ICBC class 5 and 7 road tests, or check this out if you need some epic tips for the ICBC road test.

Read more: What To Bring To The ICBC Road Test

class 5 road test ICBC

Class 5 Road Test and Class 7

What Is ICBC’s Class 7?

The Class 7 test is for drivers who currently have their ‘L’ (7L) and wish to transition to the freedom that comes with the ‘N’ stage (7N).

You can read more about the ICBC L&N restrictions here.

This freedom would include driving alone.

L N ICBC

What Is Class 5 ICBC?

The Class 5 road test is a general road test, used for typical passenger vehicles.

It’s sometimes used for drivers from other countries when they’re moving to beautiful British Columbia.

It’s also the test used for drivers who have their ‘N’ (7N) and wish to transition to the wonderful land of having their Class 5 (more freedom).

Of course, class 5 is magical because it comes without all the restrictions with the ‘N’ license.

road test freedom

How Long Are the Driving Tests?

class 5  how long

How Long Is The Class 7 Road Test?

They say the Class 7 test takes 45 minutes, but that includes all the time at the end for debriefing, going inside to do paperwork, and etc.

Usually the actual driving time is about 30 minutes.

How Long Is The Class 5 Road Test?

The Class 5 road test usually takes about 45 minutes. It’s a bit longer than the Class 7 test.

Drivers are expected to be somewhat experienced and show smooth car control, safe decision making, and knowledge/skill.

Interesting random fact: It takes about 5 years of driving for a new driver to get to the skill and experience level of ‘the average driver.’ So a 2-year-experienced driver is still quite new.

Freeway Merging On The Road Test

The Class 5 road test usually includes merging onto a highway or freeway.

The Class 7 driving test does not include merging onto a highway or freeway.

ICBC road test freeway merging

Hazard Perception Differences On The Road Test

Both tests will include a part for you to show that you are aware and thinking about possible dangers while driving. This is known as ‘hazard perception.’

This just means you have to tell the driving examiner what you see – or can’t see – in your driving environment that could be a potential hazard.

hazard on the road

Hazard Perception Class 7 Road Test

For the Class 7 test, you will do this while stopped

Your examiner will ask you to pull over to the side of the road. If they ask you to park there, be sure to set your parking brake, too. Read more road test tips here.

Notice your immediate environment

There may not be a very exciting environment there, but you can just say any potential hazard that you can see, or something that you can’t see. Things that we ‘can’t see’ are a real and colossal problem for us drivers.

These potential hazards could include really anything that is in your environment, including weather, road condition, a blind driveway, hill or curve where visibility is reduced, kids playing, a crosswalk coming up.

But try not to get stuck memorizing a potential hazard. Just say what you can actually see, or not see. If a family of skunks is walking around in the middle of the road, say that.

If a large UFO is distracting you and you think the distraction may be hazardous – or it looks like the UFO is about to make a crash landing – then say that.

UFO driving distraction

If the only thing you see, is that the particular shade of ominous grey sky, is the same color as the road you are on, and there’s a grey car of the exact same color, also coming towards you, then say that.

But for real, the usual things are like:

  • You can’t see what’s around a curve or hill
  • You can’t see an intersection or driveway because of visibility issues (there are trees, bushes, flowers, structures, or something else in the way)
  • There’s a crosswalk you can see but your visibility isn’t good to tell if there are pedestrians near the edges
  • The road is wet and very slippery because it’s the first time it has rained for 2 months
  • The sun is shining straight into your face and it’s hard to see things
  • A school zone is coming up, there may be children nearby playing or running into the road

Read more about hazards here

driving hill curve

Hazard Perception Class 5 Road Test

For the class 5 road test, you will have to do this while you’re driving

hazard perception class 5 road test

I guess this means after you have been driving alone for at least 2 years, you are expected to be able to see hazards, think, drive, and talk, all at the same time.

Both Tests Check Your Global Skills

ICBC’s global skills are a way to measure drivers on the road test. This is because demerit points are not a thing anymore, at least not for these tests. So they’ve come up with a new and totally slightly confusing way to mark the road test.

Both the class 5 & 7 tests will naturally check you for these important skills.

ICBC’s Global Skills

  • Observation – basically, do you see stuff? Do you see the stuff you’re supposed to be seeing? For example, pedestrians about to cross at the crosswalk, playground zones, other cars doing things maybe they shouldn’t be (defensive driving).
icbc observation skills
  • Space Margins – Do you keep a proper space margin around your vehicle? Do you follow the car in front too closely? Are you the correct amount of space away from curbs? Are you in the right spot when you’re turning right, turning left, and going straight at intersections?
space margins icbc
  • Speed – Are you speeding through a school zone? Are you going too slow because you’re nervous (40 km in a 50 km zone for no apparent reason). Are you keeping up with speeding traffic on the freeway? (Don’t.)
speed icbc road test
steering icbc road test
  • Communication – Do you use your turn signals to tell other road users what you plan to do? Do you honk in a situation where it might be necessary? Do you get eye contact with other road users?
communication icbc road test

Both Tests May Include The Following Driving Skills

Each road test is not going to be exactly the same. Some people will have to do a certain skill that perhaps won’t be tested on the next person.

Each location is different. Road test examiners follow routes.

At the Point Grey location, there is no nearby freeway for showing your merging skills. So, class 5 tests there, just don’t do that.

The following may be tested on both class 5 and 7 tests:

Not every skill will be part of your test, but practicing them all will give you the best chance of being prepared.

The thing is, examiners want to obviously see that you are safe and do not break any laws, such as changing lanes over a solid white line.

ICBC Class 7 Test Failure Rate

For the class 7 test, around 50% of people fail

Maybe this is why they don’t even bother wasting time on the freeway

Your examiner is basically looking that you:

  • Know what you’re doing
  • Pass all your global skills
  • Make good decisions
  • Control the car smoothly
  • Don’t break any laws like speeding, reversing in an intersection or crosswalk
  • Don’t do anything remotely dangerous such as not noticing a pedestrian, lane changing when it isn’t safe

You do need to know how to park, but don’t need to be perfect

It takes a long long time to get good at parking.

Even driving instructors – who are just people – don’t park perfectly every day, all the time. New drivers aren’t expected to be really amazing and impressive at parking. They are expected to be safe, and legal.

It’s more important that you have the general concept while being safe, and have good observation skills.

Is a pedestrian about to walk behind you while you’re parking? It is way more important to simply notice this, than to be highly skilled and perfect.

Also, you can fix your parking if you need to make some readjustments, just as we do in real life. That goes for both tests of course.

bad car parking
Don’t leave your car like this

Class 5 Test – What They’re Looking For

It doesn’t take long to gather bad habits once people start driving on their own. This is mostly what the class 5 test is about.

For example:

  • Do you still observe and drive the proper speed in a playground zone? Like, exactly 30 km/hr?
  • Are you speeding on the freeway to “keep up with the flow”?
  • Do you palm or hook the steering wheel?
  • Do you drive with only one hand on the wheel?
  • Do you forget all of your shoulder checks?
  • Do you stop completely at each and every stop sign?
  • Are you using your left foot on the brake pedal?
  • Do you regularly flip other drivers “the bird”?
  • Do you cut through the gas station to get your right turn over with faster?

So you can see, each test is very similar. One is basically a little longer and is mostly checking for bad habits. I mean, if you’ve survived driving on your own for at least 2 years, then you must be doing something relatively right (but don’t relax too much).

The Class 7 test is to see that you’ve been properly trained to drive safely on your own, all by yourself in the big bad world. A lot of drivers simply aren’t prepared; aren’t trained enough to pass.

That’s why it’s focused on the basic skills and on all intersections. Intersections are the #1 most common place where crashes happen.

Need some epic tips for passing the ICBC road test?

class 5 or 7 road test british columbia infographic

Get more info from ICBC here about the road tests, graduated licensing program, and all of that exciting stuff.

Check Out Road Test Tips From ICBC Examiners

Preparing For Your Class 5 Road Test ICBC & Class 7

Driver Examiner Tips

tips from icbc examiners

Class 5 Road Test & Class 7 Driving Test Tips From Driving Examiners

icbc examiners tips

Take The Drive Smart Refresher Test

Refresh your driving with ICBC’s online Drive Smart Refresher Test.

Road Signs Practice Test

Refresh your knowledge of road signs, signals, and road markings.

ICBC Road Test: 26+ Mighty Insider Tips For Best Results

Road Signs Of Canada

ICBC Has a YouTube Channel – Wait, whaaaat Check it out for more driver examiner tips

Conclusion

These road tests are not that different. One is for extremely inexperienced new drivers (driving for the first time?), and the other for more experienced new drivers. It’s not really complicated. Just make sure your car control is smooth, you make safe decisions, and don’t do anything illegal.

And remember you don’t need to be perfect. This one time, a new driver made contact with the curb with their wheel when parallel parking. The hubcap, which was already loose-ish, fell completely off the car.

The examiner retrieved it, and the driver still passed the road test. It’s because the rest of their driving was very good, and hubcaps don’t have feelings.

Carmen

Carmen became a driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, Canada. She enjoys writing as much as driving, and hopes you have found this website helpful.

4 thoughts on “Class 5 Road Test vs Class 7 – Successfully Conquer Either

  1. Is it true they will fail you if the vehicle you are testing class 5 has a chip or long crack in the windshield? We have a long crack along bottom on our van

  2. Hi. How do I exit the freeway with one wide lane? I reduced to my speed once I exited but I was still in the centre and then another car was speeding right behind me and passed me on the right. It was a dangerous action. How do I correct it and also I kinda speed over 30km in the playground/school area. I was nervous and I didn’t know the route. How do I control it? Please help. I felt uncertain about the test because I don’t know the roads and I wanted to be extra cautious. The nerves and anxiety made me drive slower when I shouldn’t be. I hope next time I will do better.

    Thanks appreciated.

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