driving test marking sheet

As your practical test approaches, it is understandable to try to do everything in your nature to increase the chances of smashing your test and passing the first time.

Although your test is all about proving to your examiner that you are a safe and confident driver who they can trust will remain careful on the roads, it is always reassuring to know the statistics of the driving test centre pass rates you’ve booked in with.

For some drivers, the most recent pass rate statistics is a huge factor that contributes to whether you stick to the test centre closest to you or venture a little further out to one with a higher percentage.

Driving Test Centre Pass Rates : 3 Worst Driving Test Centres

Many different factors contribute to pass rates, the number of tests taken and the location of the centre being the top two contributors. It’s almost impossible to track down a test centre in the UK with a pass rate of 20% or less, the lowest you’ll most likely be able to find is around the 30% mark. The average first-time pass rate for learners in the UK is 47%, so you may want to steer clear of test centres that drop below 40% if you feel a low pass rate may intensify your nerves on the day.

We’ve done some research into the latest pass rate results and devised a list of the top 3 best test centres and the bottom 3 you may want to reconsider, along with some useful information on pass rates in the biggest cities in the UK.

Top 3 Test Centres

1. Pitlochry, Scotland – 73.6%

2. Inveraray, Scotland – 72.2%

3. Islay Island, Scotland – 71.4%

Worst 3 Test Centres

1. The Pavillion, Birmingham – 30.2%

2. Erith, London – 30.6%

3. Belvedere, London – 32.9%

Pass Rates For Top 10 Largest Cities In The UK

London town

1. London

Highest Pass Rate: Chertsey = 51.0%
Lowest Pass Rate: Erith = 30.6%

The population of London is over 8 million, meaning that the pass rate percentage of test centres will vary dramatically. If you are taking driving lessons in London and are worried about a low pass rate at the nearest test centre to you, luckily due to the size of the city, there will be many different alternative test centres you can book in with instead.

For example, if you’re taking driving lessons in Tooting, London, the closest test centre to you is Croydon which has a pass rate of just 37.6%, lower than the national average. However, if you’re happy to travel just a few more miles, you can book in with Carshalton (Tolworth) test centre, which has a better pass rate of 48%. This seems to be a running theme in areas of London, so always do your research before booking. Another example is if you’re learning to drive and taking driving lessons in Basildon, the Basildon test centre has a percentage of 35.6%. Again, travel just an extra 5 miles, and you’ll be at Brentwood with a pass rate of 49.8%.

2. Birmingham

Highest Pass Rate: Shirley = 44.9%
Lowest Pass Rate: The Pavillion = 30.2%

Being the second largest city in the world, it is unlikely that Birmingham will have an exceptionally high first-time pass rate, so if you’re taking driving lessons in Birmingham always keep this in mind.

3. Leeds

Highest Pass Rate: Horsforth = 45.6%
Lowest Pass Rate: Harehills = 33.3%

4. Glasgow

Highest Pass Rate: Baillieston = 42.8%
Lowest Pass Rate: Knightwood = 37.5%

When taking driving lessons in Glasgow, you’ll be taught how to take extra care around pedestrians due to the high level of tourists.

5. Sheffield

Highest Pass Rate: Middlewood Road = 46.4%
Lowest Pass Rate: Hansworth = 42.0%

With lots of narrow roads and one-way streets, it can be tricky to get your head around manoeuvring and taking driving lessons in Sheffield.

birds eye view of sheffield

6. Bradford

There are only two test centres in Bradford, so if you’re taking driving lessons in Bradford these will be your only choices.

Highest Pass Rate: Thornbury = 43.3%
Lowest Pass Rate: Manningham = 36.9%

7. Liverpool

Highest Pass Rate: Southport = 49.0%
Lowest Pass Rate: Garston = 40.1%

Liverpool consists of many different test centres, so it’s always recommended to take a look through the pass rates before your test while taking driving lessons in Liverpool.

8. Edinburgh

As you can see, there is very little difference between the highest and lowest test centre pass rate for pupils taking driving lessons in Edinburgh.

Highest Pass Rate: Currie = 48.8%
Lowest Pass Rate: Musselburgh = 46.9%

9. Manchester

Luckily, for learners taking driving lessons in Manchester, this particular city has the highest first-time pass rate out of all top ten.

Highest Pass Rate: Hyde = 57.2%
Lowest Pass Rate: Cheetham Mill = 33.7%

10. Bristol

Highest Pass Rate: Avonmouth = 54.4%
Lowest Pass Rate: Brislington = 44.4%

Similarly to most other areas in the UK, Bristol consists of a mix between city and rural areas, so when taking driving lessons in Bristol, you’re likely to experience both.

Why are some of the test centre pass rates so low?

Unfortunately, somebody has to have the lowest pass rate, and it’s not down to certain test centres having horrible examiners.

You will notice the higher pass rates are in rural areas and the lower pass rates are commonly in the busy urban areas. If there were a few test centres with low pass rates in rural areas, then that would be some cause for concern perhaps.

There are some test centres which are located in the centre of the hustle and bustle cities with complicated junctions surrounding the area, naturally, you will find these areas probably have more general accidents than the rural/countryside areas again.

In a nutshell, denser populated areas will naturally be trickier areas to take the driving test (most of the time) compared to those quiet countryside test centres.

Do Your Research!

It always pays to do some research before booking in your practical test. Although it may be convenient to opt for the test centre closest to you, it may not always work towards your advantage, especially if you’re in a rush to gain your licence and can’t afford to fail. Of course, it’s essential to be comfortable driving in the area you’re taking your test in and are aware of all test routes you may be faced with. It’s always recommended if you are going to head further out to a different test centre, limit yourself to less than 10 miles away. This means you’ll only be around a 20-minute drive from home and will have time during your lessons to drive to the area you’re taking your test in and practice possible routes.

In the weeks leading up to your test, aim to book two-hour lessons, it’ll give you a chance to familiarise yourself with the location, trickier roads and practice manoeuvres in common test route areas. One hour lessons go a lot quicker than you’d expect!

To find a list of the nearest practical test centres to you, head over to the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency website. Simply submit your postcode into the search bar, and a list of different test centres will be located in order of closeness to your postcode.