The course starts with a 'classroom' type of induction, close to your chosen location. This is followed by as many observed runs as necessary, but usually averaging six, each of around an hours duration and with your dedicated observer. You are given a copy of their driving manual and you may benefit from reduced insurance.
It is not in the least bit intimidating and on my course there were several women, and ages from early 20s to mid 70s (I am 70). The preferred driving technique is taught and bad habits are pointed out, but you can still pass with minor variances.
I am in no way benefiting from the recommendations and am only connected to the IAM by the above and my membership. I had thought about applying over the last 20 years and am pleased I eventually did.