The Traffic Police Test
Finally, after months of hard work and practice, it’s time for your TP Test. Congratulations for making it this far 🙂 A lot of people give up along the way, but not you. Just one more assessment stands between you and the motorcycle you’ve been lusting over.
This post narrates what I went through on actual test date. Hopefully it will go some way to shed some light on what you will experience during your own TP Test.
On actual test-day (always on a Monday I think), you’ll need to report to the motorcycle office by 7.50am.
(no need to print out your PDL as the traffic police testers will check them online. I printed mine but didn’t use it at all. At no point during the test was I asked to produce my PDL)
On arrival, just grab a seat anywhere. When it’s time, the instructor will get you to register. During registration, there is a piece of paper with everyone’s details on it. Once your attendance is marked, you’ll be told what number tag you’ll need to wear. There was a total of 50 participants that day.
The instructor then told us that we’d be having about 25 minutes of practice time. As such we all headed out to pick out bikes and went through the obstacles. For some reason, I was the fastest to get ready and so I was the first one on the circuit. This turned out to be a great blessing actually as I was able to go through the entire test-route without having to queue up. In fact I was able to run through the test-route twice, and do the narrow plank + pylon slalom + e-brake 2 additional times. Nothing went too crazy during the warm-up, except that after completing the slope and turning towards the s-course, I almost got in the way of an incoming vehicle that was turning out. This was actually my fault as since I was in a minor road, I had to give way to vehicles on the main road 🙂 Luckily it was just a warm-up.
The ordering of the people taking the tests is like this: Foreigners, then Singaporeans in descending age. For me, since I’m 30 years old, I was number 6 :-). There was only 1 Myanmar national so he took pole position.
The ordering was quite important (at least for me) as I felt that being able to go for the test earlier would be better. What is happening is that each group will consist of 8 riders. Riders 1 – 8 will go for their test first. Rider #9 onwards would have to wait for a while before his turn is up. This means more mental stress for the younger riders! For once, being old is better. I was quite relieved to know that I was in the first batch since I could just get it over and done with sooner.
Anyway, after registration, the instructor will walk you through some powerpoint slides showing the dos and don’ts, along with some tips for your circuit. What will happen is that everyone will go for their test circuit. After you’re done with the last course (i.e. e-brake), you’ll ride back into the workshop and push your motorcycle back to the start point. Once everyone is back, they will tally up the demerit points, and then announce who has already failed (either due to immediate failure or points accumulation). Those remaining would then go for the main road test route, and then await the final result at a classroom. This is a different process from years ago, where you would have completed both the circuit and the main road test route WITHOUT A BREAK. This is no longer the case.
Everyone would then go out and meet the testers. We all lined up in our respective groups and the testers would take attendance and you’d need to recite your full name and NRIC number. Once that was done, I took my bike and waited at the start point.
One by one, the tester at the start point waved us off. This was probably at 1-1.5 minute interval. I guess the reason would be to prevent a traffic jam since the learner cars are still out on the circuit. When Rider #5 rode out to start his test, all eyes were on him. I started becoming anxious when we all saw him signalling left before the bend, and then turning into the narrow plank course!! This was a deviation from the test route as the first course is supposed to be the slope. I knew in my heart that he would be getting an immediate failure even before attempting the first obstacle.
Anyway it was too late for him to do anything. I eyed the tester at the start point and not long after that, he waved me off! It’s time to go!
I checked my right, saw traffic coming, so I didn’t go off. When that car left, I checked my left blindspot, and moved off. Quickly checked the zebra crossing, saw nobody was there, and continued riding towards my first obstacle.
Unlike the internal assessments, we only had to wait for the go-ahead signal from the tester for 3 obstacles: S-course, Narrow Plank and E-Brake. For the rest of the obstacles, we could just proceed on without waiting a signal from the tester. The first obstacle was the slope. Nothing much here as it was pretty straightforward. Thankfully there wasn’t any turning vehicles like during my warm-up.
For my S-course and crank-course, I felt I could have done better as I wasn’t applying a constant acceleration to my motorcycle and thus I could feel it wobbling a bit throughout both courses. During my S-course there was an turning vehicle so I had to stop in first gear, checked clear, then move on to crank course.
The narrow plank has always been my nemesis. Earlier on in my lessons I kept falling off the plank, and so I focused a lot on my plank technique during the Self-Practice (SP) lessons. I finally mastered it and didn’t manage to fall off ever again. However it still gives me the shivers to look down the plank before the start of the course. I was very glad that I did not fall off the plank. Same for the pylon slalom.
The last course was the e-brake. This was one of my favourite courses to go as I love applying an insane amount of acceleration to get up to speed 🙂 Once I stopped safely, I switched down to gear 1, and rode off.
Back to the workshop. Phew!
Being the first group to go for our test, we were told to just wait at the motorcycle office. I noticed that the last 2 groups haven’t even left the motorcycle office yet. I walked in with a pretty relieved face, but the faces from these 2 groups told a different story. They looked so stressed out, I was again happy to be old today.
We waited for probably 30 minutes before everyone came back in. After a few moment’s wait, the instructor came in with a few pieces of paper. He announced a few tag numbers and asked them to follow him out of the office. These were the guys that failed. A few cheers erupted when he closed the door. We were moving on to the next stage!
I was actually quite hungry at this stage, not having eaten anything since I woke up. However I told myself that I’d eat after the test was done. I headed out to drink some water to fill my growling stomach.
The Main Road Test Route
Another instructor then conducted the next briefing on the main road test route. Similar to the circuit segment, he went through the do’s and dont’s, as well as tips on the main road test route. After that briefing was done, and he got us (the first group) to get on our bikes and get ready.
Similar to the first segment, we had to wait for the tester to wave us off one by one to start the test. Only difference was that now I was in position #5 (since the guy in front of me had an I.F…). When it came to my turn to move off, I did the same clearance checks and off we go!
Immediately after exiting BBDC circuit, there were road works blocking the lane barely 10m in front of me. I stopped, checked for clearance to change lane to the right lane, then switched back to the left lane. Phew! What a start.
The testers (5 of them, same as the ones who assessed the circuit segment) were now in different places along the main road test route. I don’t actually know where they exactly are (since I was busy concentrating on the road), but I know that one was at the U-turn, another at a slip road. I saw one opposite CDANs, under the MRT track. I heard there was one under some HDB block…
There were a couple of things that I was afraid of in the route. One, the unpredictable nature of the traffic lights. It would suck really bad if the traffic lights turned amber just before you crossed it. It would be an instant 8 demerit points. It is definitely better than attempting to stop and getting an immediate failure (if you stop past the stop line). But that situation really scared me. In addition, the U-turn segment has always been tricky for me. Not the actual U-turn itself, but navigating the bike into the u-turn position. A lot of us during lessons tend to lose our balance and put down our right foot. That would have been an immediate failure.
I was very grateful that the test route went quite smoothly for me. Traffic was relatively light, and there wasn’t any pedestrians on the zebra crossings. I was able to execute U-turn properly without dropping my right foot.
On my way back, at the traffic light junction turning towards the road that leads to BBDC, I caught up with the 2 riders who went before me. We queued up together at the traffic light that was red. There was a learner car in front of us. When the light turned green, the learner car waited for the pedestrians to cross. When the pedestrians crossed, the car still didn’t move (???). It was only after a while that the car started to move off. The first bike in front checked back and started to move off, AND THEN DISASTER STRUCK. The light immediately turned amber, but there was nothing he could do. He went through the light and continued on his way. I then noticed one of the assessors were right in front of us and saw the whole thing. In my heart I knew that he probably got an 8 demerit point deduction. Talk about bad luck!
When the lights turned in our favour again, both the rider in front and myself did our checks and moved off. We safely entered BBDC, and made a final left turn into the garage.
I switched my gear to neutral, and turned the engine off. I closed my eyes for a few seconds, thanked the Lord for a relatively good test experience, and unmounted the bike. Pushed my bike back and mounted it on the main stand.
After that, we were told to return our gear (including number tag) and then could just OTOT around until 11:15am, where we had to report at Level 3 Classroom 4 to await the final result.
I made friends with the rider in front of me, and we went for a meal together. Or, at least I tried to. Their overpriced economic bee hoon was barely touched even though I was starving moments before. I guess nerves got to the best of me. In the end I ate only half, and drank my milo peng…
Entering the classroom, I sat down beside some of the riders and we started to chat. The instructor only came in at 11:40am (which really didn’t help with the nerves) and started to again rattle off more number tags. These time, the kill list was much longer. Thankfully I think he goes in ascending number tags. The guy who beat the amber light didn’t make it, he got killed off. I then held my breath.
The next number the tester announced was almost 10 numbers after mine. I then knew then I have probably passed. By the time he mentioned the last number, barely half of the original 50 remained. He then told us that he hasn’t received final confirmation yet and left the room (??!!?!). After a couple minutes he came back, closed the door, and announced ‘congratulations, you have passed your TP test’. Best thing ever!!! We passed!
People started to give each other handshakes, high-fives, cheers, etc.
He then started to show us a graduation video, which started with the disclaimer that disturbing scenes will be presented. Quite gory video (similar to the Defensive Riding videos). A very young Ix Shen (anyone still remembers him??) was the presenter in the video and he partnered with a cop to give us some tips on safe riding. Anyway I won’t spoil the video too much, it’s sort of a victory video that you should see for yourself.
After the short debriefing, we quickly booked our 9.01 lesson. Most of us managed to get the 1.20pm slot. As such there was almost 1 hour to kill. I tried to eat again. Failed.
9.01 – Expressway Familiarisation Riding
This is the very last lesson I took at BBDC for my class 2B license. This is a lesson you need to apply before you can get your driving license. Basically the instructors took us on a pretty long ride, entering and exiting the expressways, going through a few U-turns, going around Farmart area, etc. It was what I deemed a victory ride since we all had just successfully cut our teeth 🙂
After the lesson, everyone went to the TP counter to apply or update their driving license. For me, since I already have a class 3 license, they just pasted a sticker over my existing one.
And with that, I bade farewell to my fellow riders and left BBDC for the last time*
*well, at least for this year. Until I am allowed to take my Class 2A next year!
Lessons I Took
Overall I passed almost of my lessons at the first attempt, except for narrow plank, which I initially had difficulty with.
1.01 – 1x
1.02 – 1x
TP TEST -1x
Revision Circuit – 3x
Road Revision – 1x
Self Practice – 6x
Total Cost – ~$956.38
My perfect streak broken only the fact that I failed the narrow plank/pylon slalom lesson once.
There is actually a reason why I primarily took more SPs than RCs and RR. I would like to address these + more tips in the next post. I believe they will go a long way to help you achieve your license too!