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

A normal car is parked on a city street

The UK follows a strict driving test policy to ensure only the most competent drivers are on the road. Successfully passing the test will reward you with a full legal GB or Northern Ireland driving license. It was the Road Traffic Act of 1934 that made it compulsory to sit and pass the UK driving test to obtain a driver’s 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 attempts 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 on the first attempt. But they are only a handful. 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 as you want once you have attained the minimum age limit.

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

Minimum age to sit for the test

The minimum age limit to sit a driving test is 16 for a moped license and 17 for a 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: the Multiple-choice test and the Hazard Perception exam. You have to pass both exams to obtain the pass certificate for the 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 a minimum of 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 test is 115 minutes long.

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 an automatic or manual car. If you take the test in an automatic vehicle (and pass it), your license will be limited to only automatic vehicles. The waiting time duration for practical tests is technically six weeks.

The practical test is comprised of several parts:

Eyesight Check

The candidate will need to read the car number plate from a specified distance. The distance is 20.5 m in the case of old numberplates and 20m for new ones. You will be given three chances to provide the correct reading. If you wear specs for distant vision, make sure to wear them for the test. It’s important 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 lenses, but they should be of the same power as those 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 subdivided into several units, and you have to pass 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 the General Driving Test, in which you are asked to drive in different road and traffic conditions. The examiner will gauge how well you can react appropriately to real-life risk situations. 

The most crucial part of the practical driving test is the Independent Driving Test. In this test, the candidate has to drive according to the examiner’s verbal instructions and in compliance with real-time traffic signs.

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

Tips to pass the UK driving test:

Theory test

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

Practical test

  • Allow a minimum of 2 hours for practical practice behind the wheel before you sit for the exam.
  • Go for a minimum of 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 on the first attempt and prepare accordingly.