How Many Times Does It Take On Average To Pass Your Driving Test In The UK?

Insurance Revolution Blog , Driving Test

UK follows a strict driving test policy to ensure only the most competent drivers on road. A successful passing of the test will reward you with full legal GB or Northern Ireland driving license. It was the Road Traffic Act 1934 which made it compulsory to sit and pass the UK driving test to obtain the driving license. The good thing is that you will get several attempts to pass the test. So, if you don’t pass in the first attempt- don’t worry, you will have many more chances ahead. There is no limit on the number of times you can sit for your driving test.

The UK driving test is broadly comprised of two parts- theory and practical.

How many times does it take to pass?

Those who are new to the driving test often want to know about the average number of attempts they can take to pass the UK driving test. Well, the smartest of drivers might pass the test in first attempt. But they are only a handful. A huge number of aspiring drivers pass the test in 2nd or 3rd attempt. However, most of the standard drivers are able to pass within 5th attempt.

But then, you will also find some who took 6th to 12th attempt to pass the test. As mentioned earlier, there is no such limit to sit for the test. So, you can try your hand as many times you want once you have attained the minimum age limit.

In Great Britain, around 1.6 million sit for the driving test every year. The pass rate for practical test is 43% while it is 51.6% for theory test. Learners find it easier to score in the theory test as it does not really challenge them on road. Most of the students fail in practical test out of nervousness and panic.

Minimum age to sit for the test

The minimum age limit to sit for driving test is 16 for moped license and 17 for car driving license.

Overview of UK driving test

The UK driving test starts with theory test and you will sit for the practical test within couple of years of passing your theory exam.

Theory test

The theory is made up of two sections- Multiple Choice test and Hazard Perception exam. You have to pass both the exams to obtain the pass certificate for theory test.

As the name says, the Multiple Choice Test comes with 50 questions where you have to answer all of them. The pass mark here is 86% which means you have to provide correct answers for minimum 43 questions. The total duration of the exam is 57 minutes. For those who need the license to drive bus or lorry, there are 100 questions to answer of which they have to be correct with 85 answers. The time duration for the test is 115 minutes.

In case of Hazard perception exam, candidates would be shown 14 1-minute clips. The examinee has to point out developing hazard in the clips. The pass mark for the test is 58%. There will be 19 clips for bus & lorry candidates.

Practical test

The practical test is surely the toughest part of the UK driving test. It comprises of 2 modules- off-road & on-road modules. You have to show your provisional license to sit for the practical test. The exam can be taken in automatic or manual car. If you take the test in an automatic vehicle (and pass it), your license would be limited to automatic wheels only. The waiting time duration for practical test is technically 6 weeks.

The practical test is comprised of several parts:

  • Eyesight check

The candidate would need to read car number-plate from a specified distance. It is 20.5 m in case of old number-plates & 20m for new ones. You will be given 3 chances to provide the correct reading. If you wear specs for distant vision, make sure to wear it for the test. It’s to note here that if you pass the test wearing specs, you would be legally required to drive the car with specs. However, you can even wear contact lens but it should be of same power as that is with your spectacles.

  • Vehicle Safety question round

The next one (Show me, Tell me) will test your knowledge of vehicle safety procedures. You will be asked to tell and demonstrate how to carry safety checks on the car before taking it out on road.

  • The driving part

This part is further sub-divided into several units and you have to pass in all of them.

One would be Manoeuvre test where the candidate would be asked to perform a move on road with his car as per the specified manoeuvre selected by the examiner.

Another one is General Driving Test where you would be asked to drive in different road & traffic conditions. The examiner will gauge how better you can react appropriately to real-life risk situations.


The most crucial part of practical driving test is Independent Driving Test. In this test, the candidate has to drive as per the verbal instructions of examiner & also in compliance to real-time traffic signs.

There is another part of the test called Controlled Stop. In this case, the examiner will check how smartly you can stop your car in emergency situations. The more controlled you are, better would be your score.

Tips to pass the UK driving test:

Theory test

  • Sit for minimum 8-10 mock theory tests and don’t appear for actual exam unless you have scored 100% with most of them.
  • Study revision tools to prep up before the actual exam. Choose a one that contains multiple and functional revision questions, a huge bunch of hazard perception visual clips & progress monitor.

Practical test

  • Allot minim 2 hours for practical practice behind the wheel before you sit for the exam
  • Go for minimum 1 mock practical driving exam
  • Don’t rush for the test. Follow your instructor about the right time to take the test
  • Do not panic. Keep yourself cool.

Set the goal to pass the test in first attempt and prepare accordingly.

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