June 3, 2015

Why are some test centres tougher than others?

It is 80 years since driving tests became compulsory for all new drivers in Britain, but why does it matter where you take the test?

Every learner driver goes through the same motions when going for their test. The nerves, ensuring you have the right documents, your last run through with your instructor before you go into the test centre. Pass and you are greeted with freedom, career prospects and that rewarding pink licence that you can show off. Fail and you have to wait just that bit longer for that rewarding moment, and the pressure of the day can even put people off trying again.

In recent years the number of people requiring 3, 4, 5 or even more tests in order to pass seems to be increasing and a lot attribute it to the test getting hard. But with some test centres boasting pass rates well in excess of that national average, does it matter where you take your test? In short, the answer is no since the DVSA states that examiners are regularly assessed to ensure tests are consistent across the country.

However, the case is more complicated than this. Learners in rural areas are effectively learning test routes in a fairly predictable environment. That way, there will be no nasty surprises. The opposite is the case in major cities as the situation is constantly changing with multiple hazards. Figures show that the lowest pass rate was in Belvedere in London with a pass rate of just 32.2% whilst the highest pass rate is in Isle of Mull, off the coast of Scotland with an 80% pass rate.

Shona from Britannia Driving School says ‘Driving tests in London are harder but this gives pupils a more varied experience, providing them with the skills to tackle all kinds of situations. The driving tests used by our pupils have pass rates above the national average and are the highest rates in the London area.’

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