There appears to be a great deal of 'mysticism' associated with this part of the practical driving test, so here's an explanation in a nutshell. It's nothing to worry about at all.
Before the independent part of the practical driving test was introduced in October 2010, you would have done the test with full, on-road directional requests. All that has changed, is an amount of driving has been included in the test whereby you will need to independently observe traffic signs by being given a series of directions or a combination of both, to get you to where the test examiner wants you to go.
Your driving instructor should have given you plenty of opportunity to develop this, not only so you can read directional signs confidently in good time but also so you get to practice your own theory tested knowledge of the signs and lines of the Highway Code.
If you're currently learning with a driving instructor and you feel you want more practice to integrate it further into your driving - tell him/her and don't be nervous or shy about asking.
All it means is, your driving instructor should have spent time developing your observations during your time with him/her to the extent whereby you are not concentrating entirely on the 'tarmac' but have raised your awareness of the signs and lines and opened up your observations as a driver.
It's not a change or something different - it is exactly what you would have done after you'd driven, once you'd passed your test prior to October 2010. Please see the link below for detailed information regarding what is expected of you:
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