SDS logo

 

Frequently asked questions

>> How much does it cost to learn to drive?

>> Am I ready to take my test?

>> Independent Driving

>> How long does it take to pass a practical driving test?

>> When is the best time to take my Theory?

>> What format does the theory test take?

>> What is your pass rate?

>> What are some of the variables?

>> Is it better take a test at one centre as opposed to another?

>> How do I get my provisional licence?

>> How long is my International driving licence valid for?

>> How much does the test cost?

>> How much does the theory test cost?

>> Can I practice my theory test on-line?

>> Where is my nearest test centre?

>>What car do I take my test in?

>>How do I book my practical test?

Q: How long does it take to pass a practical driving test?

A: The national average of training hours taken to pass a practical driving test is 50 hours.

Return to top

Q: When is the best time to take my theory?

A: It is best to take your theory test whilst you are driver training, theory and practical work best together.

Return to top

Q: What format does the theory test take?

A:The theory test is in two parts - part 1 is a mutiple choice question and answer -part 2 is a series of 14video clips called hazard perception in which you identify 15 developing hazards.

Q: What is your pass rate?

A: My pass rate is above the national average, nearly six out of ten people fail their driving test on the day, whether it was their first or tenth attempt. Passing the driving test is not an exact science as there are so many variables influencing the outcome.

Return to top

Q: What are some of the variables?

A: The practical test centre pass rate statistics are influenced by a number of factors. It is not necessarily true to say that some test centre's are easier than others, as the number and ability of candidates presented for test at any one centre can make a difference statistically. Socioeconomic factors also have a significant bearing on pass rates. The wealthier the town/area, the more likely people are to invest more money in lessons and to have more opportunities for private practice (access to family vehicle(s) etc.). The age and gender of the candidates will also affect the pass rate at the test centre. In general, younger candidates have a higher pass rate, and males have a higher pass rate than females.

Q: Is it better take a test at one centre as opposed to another?

A: The DSA is well aware of the variances in pass rates between test centre's. They monitor them very closely and, from the ongoing quality assurance work they carry out, they have established that there are acceptable reasons for the differences. Test centre's located in conurbations tend to have high throughput and lower pass rates. Those in rural areas tend to have higher pass rates but lower throughput. When comparing pass/fail statistics, it is important to take account of the differences in location, the deprivation of the local area and the age and gender of the candidates, alongside the number of tests conducted.

Return to top

Q: How do I get my provisional driving licence?

A: You can apply for your first British provisional driving licence online if you:

Apply on line for a provisional driving licence

* are a resident of Great Britain
* can meet the minimum age requirement
* can meet the minimum eyesight requirement
* are currently not prevented from driving for any reason
* can pay £50.00 by Mastercard, Visa, Maestro, Electron, Delta or Solo debit or credit card
* have a valid UK passport or another form of identity
* can provide addresses of where you have lived over the last three years

Return to top

Q: How long is my International driving licence valid for?

A: If you are the holder of an ordinary driving licence (car, moped, motorcycle entitlement) and provided your licence remains valid, you can drive any category of small vehicle shown on your licence for up to 12 months from the time you became resident. To ensure continuous driving entitlement a provisional GB licence must have been obtained and a driving test(s) passed before the 12-month period elapses. If you obtain a provisional licence during this period, you are not subject to provisional licence conditions eg displaying 'L' plates or being supervised by a qualified driver or being precluded from motorways.

However, if you do not pass a test within the 12-month concessionary period you will not be allowed to drive as a full licence holder and provisional licence conditions will apply. If you do not apply for a provisional licence within the first 12 months you must stop driving and obtain a British provisional licence with a view to passing a driving test. Provisional licence conditions will then apply.

If you are the holder of a vocational licence (minibus, bus, lorry entitlement) and a new resident, you must not drive large vehicles until you have passed the relevant GB driving test. Driving test candidates are required to pass a motor car (category B) test first before applying for provisional entitlement for larger vehicles.

Return to top

Q: How much does the test cost?

A: The car practcle test as at 30th March 2009

Weekdays £62.00 - Weekday evening and Weekend £75.00

Return to top

Q: How much does the theory test cost?

A: Standard fee for car and motorcycle £31.00

Return to top

Q: Can I practice my theory test on-line?

A: Yes you can register at this address Theory test on line booking

Return to top

Q: Where is my nearest test centre?

A: My nearest test centre can be found at Find my nearest test centre

Return to top

Q: What car do I take my test in?

A: You will take your test in the school car, there is no point in me training you to drive in the school car and then letting you loose in my Porsche for the test (you wish). The driving examiners do not supply vehicles for test.

Return to top

Q:How do I book my practical test?

A: Follow this link book your practical test and have your credit card to hand and your theory test certificate number and provisional driving licence number.

Return to top

Q:Independent Driving

A: Independent driving section of the test
Your practical driving test will include approximately 10 minutes of independent driving. It's not a test of your orientation and navigation skills.
How the test works
During your test you'll have to drive independently by either following:
traffic signs
a series of directions
a combination of both
To help you understand where you are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will show you a diagram.
You can't use sat nav because the independent driving section tests how you make your own decisions.
If you forget the directions
It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way - that can happen to the most experienced drivers.
Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. Driving independently means making your own decisions - this includes deciding when it's safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you're going.
If you ask for a reminder of the directions, the examiner will confirm them to you.
Download 'Independent driving route diagram example' (PDF, 315KB)
If you go off the independent driving route
If you go off the independent driving route it won't affect the result of your test unless you make a driving fault.
If you go off the route or take a wrong turning, the examiner will help you get back on the route. You can then continue with the independent driving.
If there are poor traffic signs
If there are poor or obscured traffic signs, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign. You won't need to have a detailed knowledge of the area.

Return to top

Q:Am I ready to take my test?

If you can answer YES to he following then you are ready:- I have total confidence in my driving skills. I know that I am a safe, considerate driver, and always aware of what's happening around me. I can drive for the whole lesson with no help from my instructor other than them giving me directions.  I am able to perform each manoeuvre correctly and feel totally confident that I will pass my driving test stress-free and on my first attempt.

Return to top

Q:How much does it cost to learn to drive?

DfT Learning to Drive consultation paper (2008). It has been estimated that the average cost of learning to drive is £1,500. This includes the cost of provisional licence, test fees and lessons with a professional instructor, but not the costs of vehicle ownership or motor insurance.