Driving test waiting times are still at an all-time high, with pupils needing to wait well over three months to pass.
Due to this, passing your driving test first time is even more crucial. If the worst happens and you fail, you may be left waiting another six months before you can take another test and could even see your theory test expire before you get another chance.
While learners face unprecedented pressure when it comes to passing their test, many are unaware that several test centres have a higher success rate than others. This has led learners to take their driving test away from their local area to boost their chances of passing first time.
With this quickly becoming the new standard for learner drivers, we spoke with Anthony Johnson, the Director of driveJohnson’s, a nationwide driving school. Anthony provided us with the best test centres to take your test when learning to drive in London and the disparity between test centres in the North and South of England.
The three best test centres in London
Whilst there are numerous driving test centres in London, eight had a first-time pass rate of over 50% last year. This allowed learners who were taking their driving lessons in London at these test centres to have a higher chance of passing first time. The eight that had a 50% or higher pass rate last year were: Ashford (London Middlesex), Borehamwood, Brentwood, Hither Green, Hornchurch, Sidcup, Tolworth and Uxbridge. The three best test centres for learners in London are Tolworth, Sidcup and Borehamwood.
It may seem strange that some test centres give you a higher chance of success than others. However, Anthony Johnson said, “It is usual for all test centres to have different pass percentages. This is because the learners taking their driving tests are all of different abilities, and the roads they face are easier than those in other busier test centres. If you see that a test centre closer to you has a higher pass rate, it would be a sensible idea to look into getting booked in to take your test there.”
Tolworth driving test centre
The Tolworth driving test centre has the highest pass rate in London, with 53.9% of all learners passing their test first time last year. Found down Douglas Road near the outskirts of London, learners here are more likely to pass on their first attempt. This test centre is an excellent option for learner drivers looking for a test that mixes urban and city driving with the highest chance of passing first time. Due to the Tolworth test centre not being in central London, it is ideal for learners in the surrounding area who want to avoid travelling to central London to pass their test.
Sidcup driving test centre
Found on the opposite side of London, the Sidcup driving test centre has a 53.8% first-time pass rate making it the best test centre for learners in South East London. Located just off the A20, makes this test centre easy to reach and, similarly to the Tolworth driving test centre, is perfect if you want to travel from nearby towns to take your test here.
Borehamwood driving test centre
Borehamwood’s driving test centre is London’s final test centre, with a pass rate of over 53%. For Borehamwood, the first-time pass rate last year was 53.1%, partly due to its location on the outskirt of London. Thanks to Borehamwood’s test centre being located near Edgware and Watford, this test centre can help learners in several areas pass their test, provided they can secure one.
Test centres with a lower waiting time
While driving test centres have different pass rates, so do the waiting times for test centres across the country. Currently, people in the North of England can get a driving test from next week to two months, depending on the test centre. When comparing this to the South of England, where the waiting time is six months or more. The driving test centres in Hartlepool, Scarborough and York all have test availability from the start of October. However, their pass rates drastically vary. For these test centres in particular, Hartlepool has a 58% pass rate, whilst York has a 48% pass rate. You will also see that while you are more likely to find a driving test in the North of England, the pass rates are more varied.
When booking your driving test, consider the time it takes to get a test and the test centres pass rate. A rising trend for learner students is to secure their driving test in a northern centre due to the availability. However, learners are more likely to fail because they aren’t used to the roads and test routes. If you are content with taking your driving test in a test centre where you have yet to drive before, it is always advised that you take at least two hours of lessons to prepare for the test and adjust to the roads you will be driving on.