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  • February 01, 2023 4 min read

    My National Observer Test






    Runnymede, Chobham, Ascot, Maidenhead, Chobham.



    Standing water across roads but a dry, cold day.


    What type of bike did you use?



    How did you feel at the start?

    I really wasn’t sure what to expect, although I had good contact with my examiner prior to the test, who had highlighted what they wanted to focus on. I think I was more uncertain about the role playing side of the test, always a little artificial.


    What questions were you asked before the test and if so what about?

    Prior to the test my examiner had emailed me on what he wanted to work on when he was playing the Associate role, he was on his 3rd OR and was struggling with gears and was getting flustered as he approached bends and found it difficult to accelerate away from bends/hazards.

    We went through my riding history, we then carried out an eye sight check and I was asked to sign a disclaimer form.


    How long was the ride?

    I was asked to prepare a 40 minute ride which would work on the points the examiner playing the part of the Associate wanted to work on, I was also asked to allow additional time for a mid-ride debrief which was around 10<>15 min. I focused on the main point of the OR (gears) but commented on other points that he may want to work on: two feet down when coming to a stop, paddling away from a standstill and over-indicating. The final debrief was carried out in a car park, which was done at the bikes - we could have gone indoors - again around 15<>20 min. I mentioned that we do Tracker reports but that I always do the Ride Reports that form part of my briefing which the Associate fills out.

    My own ride was again a straight 40 min ride back to Chobham; with feedback by the bikes before we went for a final debrief in the café. In total the whole test was just over 4 hrs.


    What hazards did you encounter?

    On the “Associates” ride we had one road closure, and we came across two horses. There was also the standing water on some roads.


    How did you deal with them?

    Know your route; be able to take control of the ride. We easily made our way around the closure, but it did lead to us meeting the horses.


    How close was the Examiner /Observer?

    They couldn’t get close to me!!!!! Seriously they maintained a normal observing position at times, but I never felt pressured.


    Were you asked any questions after the test and if so what about?

    So I was asked a number of Highway Code question which included minimum distance you need to give when passing a horse. They also delved into my knowledge of both the ARC & Roadcraft. I was able to use both books to reference his chosen subject of Gears.

    Roadcraft (ch7) they focussed on skids and an interesting conversation on what happens when you use your rear brake when cornering.


    What errors did you make?

    Part of my pre-ride briefing was poor but I pulled it back, I didn’t use a crib sheet. Lesson well learnt!!!!!!!!!!


    What did you do well?

    My routes were well planned which included the briefing points. The debriefs went well with open questions which meant the examiner did the talking. I also had a good personal ride.


    In the training, what most prepared you for the test?

    This is down to me and I should have highlighted it to the training team, my Tracker profile never showed me as a Trainee NOB, Paul W fed me ad hoc questions and observed me for around 45 minutes during the Wales weekend.

    If I was to do this again I would have asked for more support and observed ORs.


    Did you enjoy the test?

    It was a really enjoyable experience.


    Do you feel you are a better motorcyclist as a result of undertaking the training and test?

    Hopefully the whole process has made me better equipped to be a better Observer.


    What was your overall view of the training and test? What worked well and didn’t? Your chance to tell it as it was, warts and all.

    As I mentioned before I should have asked for support from the TT however I think the Observed rides that I have previously carried out along with the training I received as a local observer stood me in good stead.


    What tips would you give others?

    Make sure you get the pre ride briefing right, use a crib sheet.


    Do you plan to undertake and further test/ training and if so what?

    Hopefully I will be able to support others going through their Nobs training.

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