How many driving lessons before the test?


There are many factors that need to be taken into account on how many driving lessons it will take you to reach test standard. Learning to drive is expensive so picking the right driving instructor or driving school is important.

Generally, it should take around 30 to 40 hours of professional driving tuition to reach test standard.

We often get asked how many driving lessons before the theory test? Driving lessons aren't officially required before taking the theory test, although they may certainly help.

Certain individuals may struggle with the theory test, either the multiple choice part or the hazard perception part.

You will find however that taking driving lessons will help you in passing the theory test. During the lessons, you will gain an understanding of road signs, road markings and various meanings that the instructor will help you understand.

Driving lessons will also help significantly with the hazard perception part of the theory test.

Practical driving test pass certificate

Do I need driving lessons?

Drivers qualified from another country wishing to pass the UK driving test often ask do I need driving lessons. The answer is often yes, although not usually many. In this situation, it's often a case of eradicating bad habits gained over the years. If you are asking the question 'do I need driving lessons?' then the answer is likely yes if you are not entirely confident in these areas:

The above are typical areas that experienced drivers fail a driving test on due to aquiring bad habits over the years.

For learner drivers, friends and family may help you to learn to drive, although it is unlikely they will know all the correct procedures that a professional and qualified driving instructor will know. Taking driving lessons off a friend or family member can often result in bad driving habits. It is a good idea to start learning to drive with a driving instructor and when you have a good understanding of the correct procedures, incorporating private tuition can aid in your experience.

How do I know what experience my instructor has?

Your instructor should have either a pink or green licence. This should be displayed in the cars windscreen. If neither are on display, then the instructor has received no training and is providing services illegally. A pink licence holder will have received part of the training and will not yet be fully qualified, a green licence holder will have passed all 3 DSA exams and will be fully qualified. A partly trained instructor isn't necessarily a bad option, although bear in mind that he or she will of had limited experience.

Take an assessment driving lesson

Many driving schools offer an assessment lesson. This is to give the instructor an overall indication on your ability. The instructor will then provide you with the amount of hours he or she thinks you will need to reach test standard. Some driving schools offer this assessment lesson at a discounted price and on some occasions even free of charge.

Look for reviews or ask for recommendations

As with any business, positive reviews are a good indication of their service. Ask friends who have passed the driving test what school or instructor they used and ask their opinion on them.

How much should you pay per hour?

Prices will vary according to which part of the country you are in. Look at various schools and instructors to get an idea of the average price per hour. It's not always a good idea to just go for the cheapest. Many good driving schools are built and succeed on a good reputation. If the average price per hour in your area is £22 per hour, you find an instructor offering lessons for £15 per hour, you might need to ask why. It may simply be that the instructors business is new so he or she is in need of work, it could be however that the instructor does not have a good reputation and therefor needs to charge low prices to gain business. A bad instructor offering cheap lessons will cost more in the long-run. 

How difficult is the driving test?

The driving test really is unlike any other test you're likely to take. It has so many potential pitfalls, high stress and nerves with an examiner sitting right next to you.

As fully qualified driving instructors, we frequently get asked by learner driver, how hard is the driving test? It's a difficult question to answer as there are so many variables to take into account.

We shall however take these variables into account and explain how hard the driving test is, along with advice and tips for driving lessons and for taking the driving test.

Driving test centre location

The driving test centre location plays a large part in how difficult the driving test is. London driving test centres are known for having difficult and challenging driving test routes. This is due to the fast paced traffic giving learner drivers little time to think. Also the challenging roads, multi-lane roundabouts, dual carriageway sections etc. On occasions, a learner driver living in London can take a driving test elsewhere such as Cambridge. Certain test centre routes are significantly harder than others. In Cambridge for example, there are many cyclists to deal with, although the test routes on the whole are generally easier than London.

Ready for the driving test?

If you feel that the driving test routes in your area are difficult, by all means book your driving test in an area that is easier or perhaps has higher driving test pass rates. It's a good idea to take driving lessons in the area of your driving test as all test routes have difficult areas that will benefit you if practiced by a local instructor who knows the routes.

The driving test examiner

The outcome of a driving test has a great deal to do with the examiner. When booking a driving test, you have no choice which examiner is assigned to you. Although driving test examiners have a standard set of rules to abide by, they can use their discretion. An example could be; you are performing the turn in the road manoeuvre, and unfortunately gently bump the curb. Touching the curb in the turn in the road is never a good idea, although if gently, many examiners will let this go. If your examiner is particularly harsh, or is having a bad day, that could well be a driving test failure.

Remember, examiners are providing driving tests for learners all day long. Their job may indeed become a little tedious at times. Be friendly to your examiner and if possible add a little chat to the test. Gaining a 'friendship' with your examiner might, just might be the difference between a tick in the minor box or the serious box.

Driving test times

The driving test only lasts for around 40 minutes, the time of day that you book your driving test has an impact on how difficult the driving test is. Rush hour traffic is often around the time of 8am to 9am and 4pm to 6pm in the evening. These times may vary depending on your location. During rush hour, significantly more traffic is on the roads and each and every one of them is frantically trying to reach their destination. Many of them could be late, or trying to avoid being late and so have little regard for a learner driver slowing them up. As an inexperienced driver, you will not only have an increase in traffic to deal with, but stressed and possibly even aggressive drivers to deal with.

Ideally, try and book your driving test within rush hour times; say between 10am and 3pm. This way you will have a calmer paced test. Certain driving test centres offer Saturday test. This is a slightly higher test fee but if traffic around your test centre location is calmer on Saturdays, it could be worth contacting the DSA for Saturday driving test availability in your areas. See driving test times for further information.

Driving test centre routes

If you go into a driving test with no knowledge of the driving test routes, the odds of passing are reduced and the test will become much more difficult. Of course a learner should be to such a standard that they can handle any road or traffic system. Realistically however, driving test routes are designed by the examiners themselves and intentionally incorporate some of the most difficult roads and systems within the test centre radius.

When choosing a driving instructor, ensure they have a sound knowledge of the test routes for your test centre, especially the difficult areas. It's more cost effective long term to go with an experienced driving instructor with a good knowledge of test routes opposed to simply opting for the cheapest driving school or instructor.

Driving test nerves

Of course you are going to be nervous on the driving test. Nerves play a big part in driving tests and often make the test much more difficult than it actually is. Learners are often their own worst enemy and fail many tests due to nerves. Gain as much knowledge as possible for the driving test, know the manoeuvres inside-out and know exactly what to expect on the driving test.

If you have read the tutorials, guides and advice on this web site, if you feel you can perform on your driving test after reading the guides, then you are certainly ready to take the driving test.