Young lady sitting at table near big monitor and passing driver test. Stages of learning at driving school. Theory and practice. Preparation for obtaining driver license.

Learners shelling out more than a grand on theory test attempts

Driving theory test candidates at 10 test centres spent more than £1,000 each getting their pass certificate.

A Freedom of Information request to the DVSA by AA Driving School revealed the most spent on theory test attempts before passing was £1,380 at Redditch theory test centre. This equates to 60 attempts of the £23 test.

84 driving theory test centres saw candidates shell out more than £500 each getting their pass certificate after passing on their 22nd attempt.

Half of driving theory test centres (125 centres) saw at least one candidate spend £345 to take the test 15 times before they were successful.

The data, revealed by AA Driving School via a Freedom of Information request to the DVSA, shows test centres which saw candidate(s) spend more than £1,000 to pass their theory test were:

Number of theory test attempts prior to passing by candidate(s)Cost to individualTheory Test Centre
60£1,380Redditch
58£1,334Hull
56£1,288Guildford
54£1,242Royal Tunbridge Wells
52£1,196Bristol
48£1,104Birmingham
48£1,104Chelmsford
48£1,104Sidcup
48£1,104Sutton Coldfield
47£1,081Taunton

A written theory test was introduced for learner drivers in 1996. Today, the theory test is made up of two parts. The first is 57 minutes to answer 50 multiple choice questions based on the Highway Code and the second is the Hazard Perception test, during which candidates are asked to spot hazards in videos. Candidates must pass both the multiple choice (43 out of 50) and hazard perception test (44 out of 75) before they can book their practical driving test.

Recent research by AA Driving School showed the theory test pass rate has fallen to its lowest rate in recorded history with just 44.2% passing compared to 65.4% in 2007/08.

AA Driving School has launched a new theory test app to help learners tackle the test with confidence.

Camilla Benitz, AA Driving School managing director, said: “Passing your theory test is the first stage to getting on the road – you’re not allowed to book your practical test until you have that theory pass certificate.

“There’s no doubt it’s a tough test and these learners’ commitment to passing is amazing, but, with the right tools, it really shouldn’t need to cost this much to be successful.

“Nerves can undoubtedly play a part, as well as making sure you understand what the test will involve before you get there. It’s quite easy to underestimate the theory test and assume that you’ll be able to pass without any effort at all but that’s not the case.

“Revision is the key to success. Apps like ours can really help with features like flashcards for quick-fire revision sessions, both on and offline, as well as trackable progress with real-time statistics.”

AA Driving School Theory Test App

The AA Driving School Theory Test app contains more than 700 theory questions and extensive hazard perception clips. Learners can use the flashcard feature for quick-fire revision sessions, access content when offline, take timed mock tests and track their progress.

The AA Driving School Theory Test app is available on Apple and Google Play stores for a one-off cost of £4.99.

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