Easiest and hardest places to pass your driving test - Britain’s 10 trickiest test centres revealed

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Taking your driving test
Hardest test centres
Easiest test centres
Choose your centre wisely
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Taking your driving test can be a nerve-racking experience — for many young drivers, it can be even more terrifying than school exams or job interviews!

The most important thing is to get your practice in, nail your manoeuvres, and work on your show-me, tell-me questions. You'll only pass when you're good and ready.

But there are some big differences between the pass rates of different test centres - so, for fun, we've found the 10 easiest and hardest driving test centres to pass at.

Slow down! Before you start, make sure you're insured 👇

First things first: you need insurance to drive, even before you pass your test. Check out our temporary learner driver insurance for everything you need. Getting a quote only takes a few minutes.

And by the way: data for this article comes from the 1,242,026 driving tests taken in England, Scotland and Wales between April and December 2022 (the most up-to-date stats we have).

Where you take your test can matter

The average pass rate for a practical driving test in Great Britain is 48.4%.

This means that more tests are unsuccessful than successful - so don't be too downhearted if you don't pass first (or second… or third!) time.

But new data this year shows a massive 59% difference in pass rates between the easiest and hardest driving test centres in the country. So some areas have a much higher pass rate than others. Let's dive into the DVLA data 👇

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The 10 hardest places to take your driving test

We’ve crunched the numbers to find the 10 driving test centres with the lowest pass rates in Great Britain.

And, because we’ve always got you covered, we’ll throw in some nearby test centres with higher pass rates 😉

By the way: for fairness, we've only included test centres which saw at least 100 tests undertaken during the dates mentioned above.

Rural areas tend to have a higher pass rate
Rural areas tend to have a higher pass ratee

So, onto the top 10 hardest test centres in Britain!

10. Plymouth - 37.4% pass rate

Located in the south-west of England, barely 1/3 of tests are successful in Plymouth. Yikes!

Given its fairly isolated location, it's also a bit of a trek to a centre with a much higher pass rate, but we've done our best.

Nearby test centre: Newton Abbott - 50.5%.

9. Bury - 37.1% pass rate

The market town of Bury in Greater Manchester is also a tough place to take your test, judging by the low pass rate.

Luckily there are a fair number of alternative test locations nearby.

Nearby test centre: Bredbury - 54.7%.

8. Glasgow Shieldhall - 36.4%

Glasgow has a decent number of test centres to choose from, but some - including Shieldhall - have very low pass rates.

Nearby test centre: East Kilbride - 46.6%.

7. Greenford - 36.4%

London has a large number of test centres with a huge disparity of results - even in the same rough region (in this case, London's north-west).

Nearby test centre: Pinner - 48%.

6. Belvedere - 36%

London's south-east also has a big difference in pass rates. Check out a centre with a bit more joy below.

Nearby test centre: Bromley - 53.4%.

5. Wednesbury - 35.9%

Let's head to the West Midlands! A busy, populated area means a lot of test centres - so pick wisely!

Nearby test centre: Birmingham Shirley - 48.6%.

4. Crawley - 35.6%

It's a 10 mile drive from Crawley to the Redhill Aerodrome test centre, but a huge difference in pass rate.

Nearby test centre: Redhill Aerodrome - 53.1%.

3. Wolverhampton - 35.3%

Back to the West Midlands! And back to Birmingham Shirley, if you're on the hunt for a test centre with a higher pass rate.

Nearby test centre: Birmingham Shirley - 48.6%.

2. Erith - 32.2%

Less than 1/3 of tests are successful at this London test centre. Wow!

Nearby test centre: Sidcup - 55%.

1. Speke - 27.1%

This Liverpool test centre has the lowest pass rate in Britain!

Nearby test centre: Southport - 55.6%.

And that's your list!

It's worth remembering though, that you'll pass your test when you're ready. You can't game the system. Drivers pass at the hardest centres and fail at the easiest centres. So just get those hours of practice in!

Top 15 easiest driving test centres by pass rate

We've also rounded up the 15 driving test centres with the highest pass rates.

Just a reminder, we've only included centres where at least 100 tests took place.

  1. Forfar - 76.6%
  2. Kelso - 74.6%
  3. Montrose - 74.5%
  4. Peebles - 74.5%
  5. Hawick - 74.3%
  6. Arbroath - 71.5%
  7. Stranraer - 69.1%
  8. Lerwick - 68.7%
  9. Golspie - 68.6%
  10. Kendal - 67.4%
  11. Pembroke Dock - 66.2%
  12. Oban - 65.8%
  13. Aberystwyth - 65%
  14. Chichester - 64.8%
  15. Bridlington - 63.2%

Plus an honourable shout-out for Inveraray. Only 72 tests were taken here during April-December 2022, so it doesn't count in our official list, but an incredible 86.1% of those tests were successful!

Cities are harder than rural areas

You might notice that many of the 10 easiest test centres are in Scotland, and lots of the 10 hardest are in or near big cities in England.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Scottish driving examiners are more generous, or that drivers there are much better (though we’re sure they’re all lovely people!). It’s because Scotland is home to some of the most rural areas of Great Britain, and it’s usually easier to pass your test in these more remote test centres.

That’s probably because the roads are less busy (and a bit easier to navigate) in rural areas — meaning you’re less likely to come up against more complex hazards that might lead to mistakes, like a traffic jam, an emergency vehicle on blue lights, or a busy junction.

Other things to consider

You might be wondering why any driving instructor would ever allow their students to take a driving test in Speke, knowing that their chances of passing would be slimmer than in any other test centre in the country. But there are a few important factors that driving instructors (and students) should consider before booking their test at whatever centre has the highest past rates at the time.

Waiting times: You’ll usually have to book your driving test at least a few weeks in advance. Wait times can depend on test centres — and appointments could book up faster at test centres with higher pass rates. So for some students, it’s probably worth choosing a test centre with a lower pass rate, rather than waiting for months and months.

Prior knowledge: If your driving instructor has better knowledge of the roads around certain test centres, they’ll have more tips, and tricks to share with you when driving on those routes. On the other hand, it could be disadvantageous to learn on roads that your instructor is unfamiliar with — even if the local test centre has a higher pass rate.

Distance: You don’t necessarily have to go for the closest test centre to your house. But it may not be a good idea to go too far away. If you pick a test centre that’s miles away, you might end up spending most of your driving lessons travelling to and from the test centre routes, rather than practicing your driving on them.

Also, you ideally want to use your lessons and test as an opportunity to prepare for the types of road you’ll be driving on as a full licence holder. So if you live in central Manchester, we wouldn’t recommend doing your driving test in the Scottish highlands.

Quick and easy learner driver insurance

If you’re learning to drive and want to get in a bit of extra driving practice on top of your lessons, why not give our temporary learner driver insurance a try?

You only insure yourself when you're borrowing the car, and there are no nasty hidden fees, tie-ins or interest. Plus, you can use us for your driving test, too.

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Updated on 25th May 2023