The South Australian VORT Test (Part 2)

In this second article of this series about the VORT test I will talk about the operation of the VORT, introduce the mark sheet and explain the marking system. If you have not read the first article it can be viewed here.

The Starting Point:

The VORT will start at a pre-set location and follow a route determined by the government. It will start at a time that has been booked by the examiner on the DPTI computer system.The test cannot start earlier than the scheduled time to allow for an auditor to be present during the test. All examiners are audited on a regular basis to ensure consistency and appropriate standards are being met. If an auditor sits in on your test they will occupy the seat immediately behind the driver’s seat. This ensures that they do not obstruct the student’s view. Having an auditor on board during the test will not alter the functioning or outcome of the test in any way. The auditor is only interested in what the examiner is doing; they are not there to test the learner in any capacity.

The Vehicle Check

Before the examiner enters the vehicle they will carry out a brief vehicle inspection; this is to ensure that the vehicle is legal to be on the road. The examiner will stand at the front of the vehicle and ask you to switch on the left and right direction indicators. They will then move to the rear of the vehicle and repeat the procedure. They will also ask you to activate the foot brake to ensure operation of the stop lights. The examiner will then check the tyres for legal tread and will then seat themselves in the vehicle.

The VORT Recording Sheet

This is the VORT recording Sheet that is used by the examiner to record the progress and outcome of your test.

VORT Recording Sheet

Test Details

VORT Recording Sheet 1This section of the form is fairly self-explanatory. It records the details of the student, the examiner, the date and time of the test, the route details and the details of the vehicle being used.

O/S relates to whether the student is converting an overseas licence to an Australian licence. For more information about converting an overseas licence please view this article here.

Immediate Fail Items

VORT Recording Sheet 2This section of the form is the part where we really do not want anything recorded. It is the section that details the reason for an immediate fail. Again most of these are self-explanatory and most relate to breaches of road law.

The examiner is classed as having intervened if they give advice, other than route directions, or if they have to take control of the steering or use the dual-brake.

General Drive Recorder

VORT Recording Sheet 5This is the main part of the form which is used to record the general drive. The route directions are printed on three separate pages which each line up with the appropriate section on the mark sheet.

The image on the right is from an actual test routeIMG_0814 (hence why the road names have been distorted). The numbers relate to the number of criteria measured during the test. This is used at the end of the test when the examiner calculates your score.

The apparent random letters in the right hand column tell the examiner what they need to mark at each step. I will explain the “code” in the next article.

If the student completes all the criteria of that step correctly the examiner will make a diagonal mark in the Yes column. If the student does not successfully complete all the criteria then the examiner will note the relevant code letter in the No column. They will also further clarify this error on the record sheet. If, for some reason the criteria cannot be assessed or the examiner does not see if the student meets the criteria, maybe because they are writing on the sheet or their attention is drawn away from the student for some reason then they will make a mark in the N/A column.

Scoring the General Drive

At the end of the test the total number of marks in the N/A columns and in the No columns are added up. The total number of criteria assessed (Total number of criteria minus the number of N/As recorded) is used to calculate the score for the general drive.VORT CalculatorThis is converted to a score out of 90 using either a calculator, or more usually a ready reckoner, similar to this one which I use when conducting mock tests.


VORT Recording Sheet 3This section of the record sheet is where the manoeuvres are recorded. The outcome of each manoeuvre is either YES or NO, depending on whether ALL the requirements were met.

Each YES is worth 2 marks. The score is not 1 mark if you get it almost correct. At the end of the test these scores are added to give a score out of 10. This score is then added to score 2 which was calculated from the general drive to give the total overall mark.


VORT Recording Sheet 6This is where the total score and result of the test is recorded. If you get 90 or more without an immediate fail item you will pass.

General Drive Comments

VORT Recording Sheet 4

This last section of the sheet is where any criteria that were not met that have been recorded in the No column of the general drive will be expanded on.

End of the Test

At the end of the test the examiner will calculate your score and tell you if you have passed or not. They should also talk to you about how you performed during the test, regardless of the result.

If you have passed the examiner will again ask you for your learner’s permit and will write out a certificate of competence which you will also be required to sign.

If you have not passed, do not be too disheartened and try to take on board the examiner’s comments – they are aimed at helping you. It may be helpful to have your instructor listen in to the examiner’s feedback if the examiner allows it – most of them encourage it.

After the Test

You must take the certificate of competence to a Service SA centre to exchange for your Provisional licence. Until you do this, you are still bound by your learner restrictions.

If you lose your certificate of competence you can obtain a replacement from the examiner, however you will probably have to pay extra for this as each examiner has to actually buy the certificate books from the government.

If you have not passed your test and you have a learner’s permit you can retake the test after two weeks. If you are converting your overseas licence you can retake your test as soon as another test can be booked on the system.

In the next article I will explain the codes used on the route directions pages.