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When is the best time to book your driving test?

Ready to ditch your L-plates? You’ll want to give yourself the best possible chance of passing your driving test. So is there a specific month, day and time when you’re more likely to succeed? Read on to find out.

Ready to ditch your L-plates? You’ll want to give yourself the best possible chance of passing your driving test. So is there a specific month, day and time when you’re more likely to succeed? Read on to find out.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance expert
Last Updated
23 JUNE 2023
7 min read
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What is the best time to take your driving test?

Before we look at how the time, day and month might affect pass rates, it’s worth putting it into perspective. While the data is interesting, it’s not going to make a massive difference in the grand scheme of things. Don’t assume you’re heading for a fail just because you’re not booked in for your practical driving test at 10.14am on the first Monday in August.

The best preparation is to practise safely, with a qualified driving instructor, so you can have confidence in your own ability on the day of the test.

When is the best month to take your driving test?

We’ve taken a look at 2022 pass rate data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to find out whether the time of year you take your practical driving test can improve your chances of passing.

Best month to pass driving test: April.

Month Pass rate
January 47.3%
February 46.2%
March 47.6%
April 49.6%
May 48.3%
June 48.2%
July 48.8%
August 49%
September 48.3%
October 47.9%
November 47.4%
December 48.8%

Why is it easier to pass your driving test in spring and summer?

The evidence suggests that the spring and summer months tend to have a slightly higher pass rate. This could be thanks to better lighting and weather conditions.

“Even though driving tests are not conducted in the dark, this variation could be down to the fact that light conditions can vary considerably during the winter months, along with poorer road conditions such as sleet, ice, wet leaves and mud,” says Gary Warrington, a Grade A driving instructor with over 15 years of experience.

However, it’s marginal, and there’s only a 3.4% difference between the best and worst-performing months.

Expert tips for passing in the autumn and winter months

We asked Grade A driving instructor Gary Warrington to share his expert advice for passing driving tests in the autumn and winter months.

How can learners best prepare themselves to take their test in the autumn and winter?

  • Practice when the weather conditions aren’t perfect.
  • Always allow plenty of space from the vehicles ahead of you
  • Make sure you know how to switch on the headlights and wipers of the vehicle you’re driving while remaining in full control.
  • Never start driving with a misted-up front or rear windscreen – learn how to operate the controls to clear them and wait until you have full visibility before setting off (this is also important when sitting your test).

What should learners ask their instructors for extra guidance on ahead of taking a test in the colder months?

”Ask your instructor to show you how to operate headlights and fog lights, front and rear wipers, and how to demist the front and rear windscreen. Also, ensure they teach you the correct stopping distances and following distances.”

What is your number one tip for drivers who are taking their test during colder months?

”The number one tip I always give to my students ahead of their test is” take your time and do not rush”. It’s better to get a couple of ‘undue hesitation faults’ than rush into a situation and then regret it. And remember, the manoeuvres are no different during the winter months than the rest of the year, apart from poorer visibility. Take your time, look ALL around (don’t just rely on mirrors), and keep any reversing very slow.”

Check how prepared you are for your upcoming driving test with our driving test quiz.

When is the best time of day for a driving test?

Examiners usually schedule seven tests a day, but is it easier to pass your test in the morning, afternoon or evening? Here’s what you can expect on the roads at various times of the day.

Early morning driving tests

Early driving test times between 7am and 9am will see you taking to the road during rush hour. There are pros and cons to this. The advantages are that you’ll get the test over with nice and early so you’re not worrying about it all day.

There might also be less driving to do if you get stuck in traffic, although the examiner will usually know the area well so will choose routes that are less likely to be congested.

The downside is that you’re more likely to encounter commuter traffic, the school run and extra hazards from cyclists and pedestrians.

Mid-morning driving tests

Between 9am and 11am is generally a decent time to take a driving test because it’s outside of rush hour and avoids the traffic increase in the run-up to lunchtime. The examiner will be able to take you across a wide range of road types, including dual carriageways and narrow back streets lined with parked cars.
You may also be more alert during a driving test in the morning, compared with the ‘afternoon slump’.

Late afternoon and evening driving tests

A late afternoon test might stretch into school home times and rush hour, so may not be ideal. One benefit of a later test is that during the winter months there’s less chance of the test being cancelled because of icy roads.

Evening tests in summer can be good, especially after 7pm, because of the quieter roads after rush hour. But not all test centres offer evening tests. If they do, they’re usually more expensive.

What is the best day to book your driving test?

The best day is one that’s convenient for you – when you’re not too busy and can concentrate on the task in hand. It’s possible to arrange your driving test for the weekend instead of a weekday, if that’s better for you. Perhaps you work full-time or you’re at college or university during the week.

Also, if the area around the test centre is usually quieter on a Saturday or Sunday, it can be worth paying a bit extra to book a weekend driving test, although these aren’t always available. Weekend tests cost £75 compared with a weekday cost of £62 (correct as of June 2023).

Did you know?

It’s a myth that examiners only pass a set number of people each day, week or month. It’s also untrue that nobody ever passes on a Friday because examiners have already filled their quota for the week.

What are the most common reasons for failing your driving test in the UK?

According to information released by the government last year, not making effective observations, not using mirrors correctly and not having proper control of steering are among the most common reasons why learner drivers fail their test.

Here are the top 10 you should watch out f­­­or:­­

Rank Top 10 reasons for failing the driving test in the UK
1 Not making effective observations at junctions
2 Not using mirrors correctly when changing direction
3 Incorrect positioning when turning right at junctions
4 Not responding to traffic light signals
5 Not having proper control of the steering
6 Not moving off safely
7 Not responding to traffic sign signals
8 Road positioning
9 Not responding to road marking signals
10 Speed

Driving test waiting times

You’ll need to be patient when booking your practical driving test because you could be in for a long wait. At some test centres in the UK, the driving test backlog is more than four months. According to the DVSA, the average national waiting time for a car driving test is around 15 weeks.

The government says it hopes to get back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023 by taking steps to reduce the backlog. This involves recruiting new examiners and creating thousands of extra test slots.

It’s important you’re aware of the situation before you book your test so you don’t have unrealistic expectations.

How many times can I change my driving test?

You can change your appointment up to six times. If you need to make more changes after that, you’ll have to cancel your test and rebook it.

Ideally, you should give at least three full working days’ notice if you need to change your test, otherwise you’ll have to pay again.

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

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