Preparing for Your Driving Test

Research carried out by Driving Test Tips and the DVSA show that in 2015/16 there was more than 1,500,000 driving tests completed with 723,444 passes with a 47% pass rate.

Every year, there are more and more people taking driving lessons and tests with the aim to get driving on the roads in the UK with the next 12 months.

However, many pupils end up taking their practical driving tests in the wrong location because its more convenient for their instructor – something that we’re massively against here at driveJohnson’s.

If you want to pass quickly and in an area near you, you need to learn how to find a driving test centre.

How You Can Find a Local Test Centre . . .

Finding a local driving test centre is relatively straight forward and its something that you can do from home, at work or even on the bus home from college or sixth form.

The best way to find a driving test centre is to use the free tools available on the government website.

Here you will be able to enter your location details such as your postcode and address to find the nearest location to you. Its best to learn to drive in the area that surrounds the test centre, as most of the test routes will be covered, giving you a better chance of passing first time.

Driving Test Check

Simply select the green “Start now” button and you will be asked to fill in a couple of details. In the next window you’ll be asked to fill in your postcode and the select the type of vehicle that you want to book a test for.

For the sake of this example, lets say that we’re taking driving lessons in Oxford and we need to find the closest test centre to our home. The post for our Oxford branch is OX1 1RE – so lets put that into the search filter and select “Car”.

Oxford Test Centre

As you can see, the website has provided us with a list of the nearest driving test centres for that postcode. So simply add your personalised postcode into the search tool and this will provide you with a list of the nearest test centres.

Checking Availability for a Driving Test Centre:

One thing well worth doing before you book your driving test is to check the availability at the nearest test centre to you. Use the tool above to find your nearest driving test centre and fill in the details as we discussed.

When you have completed that, there will be a section that you can navigate to that allows you to check test availability. It will look something like this:

Norwich Availability

This example is for anyone looking at taking driving lessons in Norwich. As you can see the Norwich test centre can take car bookings and larger vehicles.

Remember to check this section before proceeding so you know that you’re checking the availability for the correct licence category. Next to the “Car” section there is an option to check the test availability with an additional government tool. Select it.

You’ll be brought to a new screen that asks you to fill in details about your licence and type of vehicle you want to book a test for. Use your provisional driving licence to complete these details and you will be able to view test availability and any cancellations within your area.

Test Availability

Comparing Driving Test Centre Pass Rates . . .

Another task worth doing before you book a driving test is to study and consider other driving test centres if you feel comfortable. We always encourage our pupils to use the test centres that are local to them, as they will have a better understanding of the area.

However, if you prefer learning in a neutral environment, other test centres are available.

As you may well know, not every driving test centre is the same. Each location is positioned differently and surrounded by a number of different potential hazards and stoppages.

Test centres will all have various test routes too – some easier than others. This is another great reason to check other locations as the routes may be considered “easier” giving you a better chance of a first time pass.

Meeting the Test Pass Marks:

Although the driving test centres may have different routes, the test marking sheets are always the same unless there is a significant change by the DVSA, however that is something for your driving instructor to worry about and not you.

If anything, with your driving test, you want to keep your “score” down to a minimum. There isn’t a target for you to reach as the practical driving test is measured and marked on a major and minor fault system.

As a driver taking the test, you’re allowed a maximum of 15 minor faults.

Unfortunately, if you commit more than 15 driving faults, you will have failed your driving test and you will need to rebook at a later date. Of course, a major fault is significantly more serious.

You cannot get any of these, as a major driving fault is something that puts other drivers, road users or pedestrians in an unsafe position.

We encourage our pupils taking driving lessons in Blackburn to consider other test routes and centres as the built up locations in cities such as Blackburn offer more “threats” and hazards during an examination.


Before you take your driving test you’ll need to confirm and agree on a test centre with your driving instructor. The easiest way to find a test centre near you is to use the free government tool available online.

When you have found the test centre that you would like to book with, you’ll need to check the test availability. Unfortunately, waiting times for practical driving tests can be quite long, however, booked in plenty of time, the waiting quickly passes.

If you have multiple driving test centres near you, make sure that you consider the other options nearby. The other locations may have slightly easier test routes or better availability so that you can take your test quicker.