Some tips to pass your US driving test

Recently I faced my US driving tests and thought of sharing some important tips which might help you to get your driving license easily. I got license in Indiana and some points in this post may not be directly applicable to all other states. But I’m sure most of them are the same for all states in US. This post contains tips for both written test and your driving skills test.

First of all, you have to face your written test. Most important tip for passing that test is to know that it’s not too straight forward and there will be some tricky questions which will require some preparation to answer. In case you are applying your license in Indiana, follow these steps.

  • Go through the Indiana Drivers Manual at least once. You must remember the meanings of signs, rules on the road, numbers like speed limits of different types of roads, distances to signal before turning etc. Those are not that hard. But still you have to remember.
  • Try at least one practice test before taking the actual test. This will give you an idea about the kind of questions you get in the test.

If you follow these, the written test should be very easy to pass. In Indiana, you will get 50 multiple choice questions and you’ll have plenty of time to do it.

Once you pass the written test, you have to face a driving skills test with an examiner. If you have already practiced driving on the road and if you have good control of the vehicle, you can get through most parts of the driving skills test. But still that is not enough. There are many things you have to know in addition to being a frequent driver. First of all, follow 10 videos in this post very carefully. You have to make sure you don’t do any of the mistakes discussed in those 10 videos.

OK, after that there’s one more thing which is the most important. That is parallel parking. Follow this video few times and carefully and practice it yourself. There are plenty of guidelines for parallel parking on the web. For example, turn the steering this much at this point etc. However I don’t recommend depending entirely on those guidelines. That is because those guidelines are given based on an ideal set up. But in your driving test, you may not get the exact same set up to do your parallel parking.

Let me explain what I mean a bit more. Normally most people practice parallel parking by parking a car right next to the curb just like given in this video. However in my driving test, the examiner asked me to parallel park behind a truck which was parked with two right wheels parked on the curb. And she asked me to go onto the curb just like the truck. So this this a completely different set up because the width of a truck is not same as a car and it was already on the curb. So if you only expect the ideal set up you practiced with, you’ll get exited with this.

So what I recommend following these steps to improve your parallel parking skills.

  • Watch this video few times carefully.
  • Then start practicing it with an ideal set up using a car. It will be very useful to have someone with you to check whether you are doing it correctly.
  • Learn to adjust your vehicle if something is going wrong. For example, normally if you go on to the curb you’ll fail. So if you feel like the back wheel is going into the curb, stop and take the vehicle little forward and then turn again. Likewise, you have to know how to adjust whenever something is going wrong.
  • In Indiana, you can adjust your mirror to see the curb while parallel parking test. This is a great advantage. If that is allowed in your state, make use of it. You have to adjust it before starting and adjust it back again once you finish parallel parking.
  • Remember, even though all those videos teach to parallel park using only 3 moves (which is the ideal case), that is not a must. You can adjust your vehicle to avoid possible mistakes.
  • Finally, once you practice well and able to adjust, you’ll feel that it becomes a very familiar routine. You’ll feel like you are an expert in doing it.

That’s all about preparation. Next step is to face the actual driving test. Watch this series of videos starting from #1 here. Those videos provide very important details about what you have to face on your test date. There will be variations state to state, but you can get a general idea. In addition to that, keep the following in mind.

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good condition with signal lights, break lights, head lights, wipers etc working.
  • If possible, ask someone who took the test at your BMV branch about the route they use for the test. It’ll be great if you can have a ride on the same route before the test. Be careful with the speed limits on different portions of the route.
  • When you park the vehicle at your BMV branch before the test, there is a specific place to park for test takers. Find that place and park there.
  • Once you start your test with the examiner, listen carefully to him. Do only what he asks you to do. Never do anything illegal. Don’t be in a hurry. For example, never try to beat the red light.
  • Always drive at speed limit +5/-5 limit. Never drive too slowly.
  • Pay special attention to school zones, “No turn on Red” signs etc. Examiner will definitely test you through those.

That’s it. Hope these will be helpful to you and good luck with your driving test. 🙂

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4 years at WSO2

Yesterday morning, accidentally I realized that I’ve been with WSO2 for 4 years. Joined the company on the 12th of May 2008 just after completing my CSE degree. Supun, Milinda, Saliya, Kalani and Rajika were the other batch mates who joined with me and Sameera joined a week later. Looking back, it has been a wonderful period of my life. I’ve learned a lot, gathered so much experience specially at customer sites and made lots of friends.

Just after joining the company I was assigned into WSO2 WSAS team and Azeez was my very first product manager. I still remember how we worked for our very first Carbon release. It was my first release experience and we had to put in lot of effort to get the release out. However I never felt tired and it was fun. I’ve written this post on the 31st of December 2008 with all my feelings about the company and the start of my career.

In addition to the technical experiences that I’ve gathered, I’ve made lots of friends at WSO2 who contributed a lot to make these 4 years unforgettable. Specially the annual “Adyapana Charikawa” 🙂 organized by Charitha, has added loads of fun memories. In addition to that I always enjoyed playing Carrom, Table Tennis and Basket Ball with our guys whenever we get a chance.

Having spent such a wonderful time, most probably I’ll be leaving the company for my studies in August. It’s little sad to think about leaving all my WSO2 friends. But still I don’t think about that too much as I’ve got 3 more months to enjoy with them :).

End of WSO2 Basketball Season 2010

WSO2 BB season was ended two days back with a nail biting final. So with that experience, I thought of writing a blog after a long time.

I’m playing for Legion and we were good enough to reach the finals this time. But unfortunately ended up losing to Wild Boars by 2 points in the finals. This post by Heshan explains the entire story and I’m not going to repeat it. But I’m trying to explain what I felt after the match.

This is the 3rd annual WSO2 BB tournament. In 2008 and 2009, Legion were only able to reach the third place. So this was our first finals and we reached it by beating the defending champions, Titans. Last first round match was played between Legion and Titans on the 21st of October and we needed to win it with a 10 points lead to reach the finals. That was one of the best days for Legion and we won by 11 points and reached the finals. I think we scored our last basket within last 10 seconds of the match and we had our share of luck on that day. We were thrilled and had some hope about the finals as well. Because, Titans is the only team which has four great shooters Lahiru, Sameera, Supun and Akila.

I think we played extremely well in the finals as well. Charith was amazing with his shooting accuracy and Waruna was rock solid with his defense as always. Dr. Sanjiva lead from the front and guided us really well. I also could support with few baskets. As Heshan has already mentioned in his above post, we didn’t know that the match is going to end until the referee’s final whistle. When there were 30 seconds to go, scores were level at 42:42. I was defending Samisa and he had the ball in his hand and just threw the ball from about 10 meters from the basket. I didn’t try to disturb him because the chance of scoring from that distance is minimal. But unfortunately for us, it went into the basket and didn’t even touch the ring. If I knew that we were within last 30 seconds, I could’ve easily defended him. So we didn’t have our share of luck and they had. Other than their luck, they had a fabulous player in Heshan who almost pulled the game alone. I think he scored more than 30 points out of their 44.

So that’s what happened on that rainy and hot night. Actually it was a brand new experience for me. Because, I’ve never represented my school or university in any sporting event. So this is the first time I understood how a sport can inject spirit into you. It’s amazing how you get pumped up in such an atmosphere with a big crowd. I know I’m still a baby when it comes to BB :). But still I felt how thrilling it is to become a sportsman and represent your house, school, country or what ever it is. In summary, I didn’t have that feeling on the day I got 3A’s in my Advanced Level examination or on the day I won the gold medal for best academic performance in CSE.

So finally I have a small message. If you are only 12, 13, 15 years old and schooling, go ahead and play whatever sport you can for your school. It will never ruin your studies and will inject the strength to face the world. It will immensely help you to develop your personality.

Nokia 5630 as a dongle

I was searching for a good phone for some time and recently I bought a new Nokia 5630 XpressMusic. It contains all the features I wanted and everything is perfectly suiting me. I really love it’s excellent sound quality, Camera, 3G capabilities, Wi-Fi and nice appearence.

In addition to that, I was hoping to buy a dongle to use when I’m at home (in Galle). But my new Nokia 5630 provides that capability as well :). It can act as a dongle (HSDPA). So I activated a data package for my already existing Dialog connection and now using my phone as a perfect dongle. And also it works without any trouble in Ubuntu 9.04. It’s just plug and play.

If I bought a separate dongle, it will cost me nearly 10,000 LKR including the connection. But my Nokia 5630 saved me that amount while providing a great mobile phone experience with all the needed features for me. So if you are looking for a Nokia phone, go for it. It’s just great.

Note : This HSDPA functionality can be found in some other Nokia models as well. Ex : 5320, 5730, 5800, 6120

Sri Lanka wins 2 Bronze medals and 3 Honourable Mentions in the 50th IMO

It was a great pleasure for me to know that Sri Lanka has won 2 bronze medals and 3 honourable mentions in the 50th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) competition held recently in Germany. Our students have scored 74 marks and become the 50th in the rankings out of 104 countries. This is a great achievement in the context of IMO.

I had the opportunity of representing Sri Lankan team in the 44th IMO which was held in Japan. Our team could score only few marks and we were among the lowest scorers in the rankings. It’s an extremely tough competition and normally other counties prepare students for IMO from their childhood.

Contestants must be below 20 years and must have not entered a university. Competition is held for 2 days and 3 problems are given each day. Time for a problem is 1.5 hours. Each problem carries 7 marks and the total is 42.

Mr. Chanakya J. Wijeratne who is a senior lecturer at the department of mathematics, university of Colombo, is the person who is behind this great success. He has been training students for IMO for more than 6 years now. We also were trained under him and he is doing a great job for our country.

I think our students can win more and more medals in IMO (even golds) if we can train them at least for one year. Definitely the required brains are there. What we lack is training. So well done boys.. Keep it up..

Sachin passes 17000 in style

Cricket is almost like a religion in India and Sachin is a god for Indian cricket fans. What a player he is.. Still hungry for runs, still scores centuries, still a match winner ans still improving.

sachin

The little master passed 17000 ODI runs with a huge century which almost took India home in the high scoring 5th ODI against Aussies. Who can break Sachin’s batting records? Actually I don’t see any one. And also I think there won’t be anyone for some time. 17000 ODI runs with 45 hundreds and 91 fifties. Almost 13000 test runs with 42 hundreds and 53 fifties. Oh.. unbelievable for a cricketer.

I always enjoy his batting when he’s not playing against Sri Lankans :). It’s great to watch his beautiful cover drives, straight drives, cuts, pulls etc. with an excellent technique.

I think he will play until the 2011 world cup and will definitely produce more and more centuries for India. So Sachin, score tons of runs against all the counties other than Sri Lanka :). Thanks for providing great entertainment for over 2 decades.. Keep going..

Convocation and My Gold Medal

The general convocation of University of Moratuwa for 2009 was held on 25th of June. It was a great day in my life due to many reasons. Obviously the day of graduation is a special day for any graduand. But it was bit more special for me as I had a piece of gold :).

I was awarded the gold medal which is for the best performance (highest GPA) in the department of computer science and engineering department. It is one of the greatest achievements in my life and I’m really proud to bear it :)..

My Gold Medal I can remember two similar days in my school time at Richmond College. First one is the day I was awarded the Principal’s Medal for the best performance in G.C.E O/L examination (I was ranked 9th of the island). Second is the day I was awarded the Weerasinghe Medal for the best result in physical science in G.C.E A/L examination (I was ranked 5th in the district).

There are many people who helped me in my academic career which has become a great success. First of all I’m grateful to my parents who were behind me in every single day in my life. And also my two brothers who showed me the way right through. I always believe that the factor that they were extremely successful in their academic careers was a great catalyst for my career. Then I have to thank all my teachers from nursery to primary school (Christ Church boys’ college, Baddegama) to Richmond College to UOM. And also there have been lots of friends right from my child hood to my working place, who have helped and encouraged me immensely.

So at the end of the day, I have to say that I’m extremely happy about my academic career and proud to bear the gold medal. But I always believed and believe that there are at least few of my friends at CSE who deserve the award for “Best Performance” more than my self :). Unfortunately, the “Best Performance” was measured through the GPA. It’s true that there is no other way to measure. But I always feel like it doesn’t find the “Best Performer”. Sometimes you may feel that I’m stupid.. May be I am :D..

Finally I have to say that I’m really happy about what I’ve achieved and will try to serve my country in the best way I can in the future..