• Calendar shows Boxing Day to be the worst day of the year to take a driving test – with highest number of fails (60.5%)(1).
• Pass rate trends reveal learner drivers should book their test on a Monday, with 3pm-4pm proving to be the prime time of day.
• Data shows rural locations are easier test routes, as Golspie test centre, Scottish Highlands, tops the list for highest pass rate (76.7%)(2).
Taking a driving test is one of the most nerve-wracking things a learner driver could experience. But new data may offer some relief to students taking their test in August as it is revealed to be the most successful month to take a driving test(1)
The pass rates data, obtained by Confused.com from the DVSA revealed that 47.5% of learner drivers who have taken their test throughout August over the past five years, walked away with their driving licence, making it the most successful most for pass rates.
To help learner drivers looking to book their driving test, Confused.com has used this data to create an interactive calendar
to help them identify the best and worst dates of the year to book their test. Learners can toggle between the calendar, which includes the average pass rate for every day of the year, or look to see how pass rates vary for different times of day, days of the week or month of the year to find the prime slot for them.
According to the calendar, the 4th August is the most successful day, with an impressive average pass rate of 50.3%. While, on the other hand, learners may want to avoid booking their test on Boxing Day (26th December), as this had the highest number of test failures (60.5%), on average, over the past five years. And March appears to be the worst month to take a driving test, with just 45.8% of learner drivers walking away with a pass this time of year on average.
Top three months with highest driving test pass rates
See calendar for full breakdown
||% of passes
However, a driver’s chance of passing doesn’t only boil down to the month, or day of the year. In fact, picking the right day of the week can be equally as important. According to the calendar, learners who book their test on a Monday have a better chance of passing than any other day of the week. In total, 47.5% of tests taken on this day resulted in a pass. While those opting to take their test on a Sunday are in a more likely position to fail, with just 45.4% of learner drivers passing on a Sunday in 2017.
And picking the right time slot can also determine how likely you are to pass the test. Surprisingly, the school run is revealed to be the prime time slot for learner drivers, with 48.1% passing their test between 3pm and 4pm. However, taking the first slot of the day may just ruin their chances, as the fewest learners passed (44.2%) between 7am and 8am.
However, learner drivers don’t always get first pick of what time or day they get to take their test. And sometimes they can be restricted by their location, too. It seems those living in rural locations have the advantage. According to further data from the DVSA, test centres set in more secluded locations ranked the most successful last year, with Golspie in the Scottish Highlands taking the top spot, with an impressive 76.7% pass rate(2). Other Scottish towns followed, including Pitlochry (73.6%), Duns (72.7%), and Inveraray (72.2%). The most successful place outside of Scotland goes to Llandrindod Wells, in Powys, which saw 72.2% of learner drivers walking away with their driving license.
And it seems that learners taking their test in bigger cities are more likely to fail, despite these test centres seeing a higher number of candidates each year. In fact, Goodmayes in London, which conducted the highest number of tests in 2017/18(3) - a whopping 29,669 learner drivers - saw just 38.5% walk away with a pass. But this isn’t the worst performing test centre in the UK. Yeading in London ended the year with a 25% pass rate, followed by The Pavillion in Birmingham (30.2%).
However, late-2017 saw the introduction of the sat nav and longer independent driving to the practical driving test, which could impact drivers’ chances of passing. Perhaps those taking their test in rural areas are given an even greater advantage due to the lack of traffic, while busy-city driving is aided by the use of a sat nav(4). However, the introduction of a new manoeuvre, which requires students to pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse two car lengths and re-join the traffic, may just see more first-time fails, as the change receives backlash for arguably breaching the Highway Code(5). It remains to be seen how these changes will impact future pass rates.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “Taking a driving test, be it for the first or fifth time, is always a daunting experience for learner drivers. So we have tried to take the pressure off a little bit by creating an interactive calendar which helps learners to identify the best date, month and time to book their driving test.
“There is a myth that examiners only pass a certain number of students on one day, but this calendar proves that this isn’t the case. And there are clearly other factors that learners may need to consider when it comes to booking their test.
“To give yourself the best chance of passing, use our calendar to find the golden date for you – or the ones to avoid!”
Notes to editors
1. Confused.com issued a Freedom of Information request to the DVSA requested the average driving test pass rate by date and time slot, for the years 2012 – 2017. This data was then aggregated to provide an average pass rate per date, day, month, and time of day based on the five years’ data.
2. Driving test pass rates by driving test centre – DVSA0201 - https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/car-driving-test-data-by-test-centre
3. Data based on tests between April 2017 and March 2018.