Here are the driving test centres where you’re most likely to pass first time

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 2:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 2:00 pm

Driving tests may have been cancelled until at least June but when restrictions are lifted you can be sure a lot of learners will be rushing to their test centre.

Learners can keep on top of their lessons even when they can’t get behind the wheel by using our guide to staying sharp, but instructors and examiners are expecting a surge in students looking for lessons and test slots once lockdown is over.

While the driving test is the same wherever you sit it, data from the DVSA shows that pass rates vary significantly between test centres. The average pass rate around the country is 46 per cent but different centres' overall results range from more than 60 per cent to less than 30 per cent.

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With learners spending an average of £647 on lessons and tests, and with the practical test costing up to £75 it’s therefore important for learners to try to pass first time.

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With that in mind, comparison site GoCompare analysed the pass rates for every test centre in the UK in 2018/19 to identify where learners are most likely to pass first time and the locations with the poorest first-time success rates.

The figures show that Llandrindod Wells in Powys, Wales is the test centre with the highest first-time pass rate of 76.3 per cent. Crieff in Perthshire is a close second - at 74.5 per cent - with Ballater in Aberdeenshire in third spot on the table, with a 72 per cent first-time pass rate.

Scotland and northern England dominate the list of most first-time passes, with five Scottish centres, two in Yorkshire and two in Northumberland.

The 10 centres with highest first-time pass rates

(Table: GoCompare)

Clear division

The data revealed a clear split, with the highest pass rates in smaller, more rural areas and the lowest in busy metropolitan areas.

Those making their first attempt at the test in Birmingham were least likely to succeed. The two centres with the poorest first-time pass rates were both in the city - Pavilion and South Yardley, with success rates of just 29.3 per cent and 32.2 per cent respectively.

The table of lowest pass rates is made up entirely of large cities, where candidates have to contend with more traffic, more complicated junctions and a wider range of driving conditions.

Erith in London had the third poorest pass rate (32.3 per cent), followed by another London centre - Belvedere (32.4 per cent) - and Bury in Manchester.

The 10 centres with lowest first-time pass rates

(Table: GoCompare)

Busiest and quietest centres

The analysis also looked at the busiest and quietest test centres, which could prove significant as drivers rush to book tests post-lockdown.

Unsurprisingly, once again, centres in more remote rural areas were found to carry out fewest tests, with Ballater, Crieff and Thurso all dealing with fewer than 130 candidates each last year. Conversely, Goodmayes in London saw 11,253 candidates, with Morden (8,468) and Pinner (6,702) in the capital also among the busiest. In fact, six of the 10 busiest centres last year were in London, with one each in Manchester, Liverpool, Reading and Farnborough.

Matt Oliver, senior partner development manager from GoCompare said "Preparation is always the key when it comes to tackling any challenge. But there's no harm in looking at extra ways to boost your chances, and choosing a quieter route can keep your nerves at a minimum.

"The most common reason for failure in driving tests is responding incorrectly at lights. At busy junctions, it's easy to lose your concentration when surrounded by different distractions - choosing a quieter location is a good way to limit this risk. To make sure you're prepared, try to practise in a variety of conditions. Once you've chosen your test centre, drive the routes as often as possible, so you can get used to the trickier roads."