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Repeat test candidates are more likely to fail.

24 February 2012

Nobody likes to fail their driving test, its dissapointing for the candidate and their instructor, but over half (54%) of candidates failed their practical car test in 2010/11. For the majority of those who don’t pass the first time the key to success on a second or third attempt is more practice on the roads.

For some candidates however, further retakes do not help. In fact, the statistics suggest that the more attempts made by a candidate, the lower their odds of success (see graph below):

There is a gradual decline in the pass-rate through to the 12th attempt. With attempts after this the samples are very small so the pass-rate varies greatly. Of the 14 who took their 14th test, half were successful, whereas the 8 who made their 15th attempt all failed. I spoke to Victoria, 22, a learner driver who has failed her practical test 8 times and asked her how situation made her feel:

It makes me generally feel like a failure, especially when I see people who have passed make numerable driving mistakes… it is just disheartening and embarrassing. I feel almost like I am not a “real grown up” as I cannot drive.

Victoria also feels the test has gotten increasingly difficult with the introduction of vehicle maintenance and independent driving sections. However, her biggest concern is the mounting cost of her test retakes, a cost that will only get higher as she prepares for her 9th attempt in February.

In contrast to candidates like Victoria, who need multiple attempts to pass their practical test, there were in 2010/11 a total of 6,049 people who passed on the first attempt and with zero faults! A full break down of these statistics is available from the DSA.

Have you passed your practical test?

Do you have any tips for passing? Submit them in the comments and let’s see if we can reverse this trend.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lindsey Meehan permalink
    24 February 2012 10:42 am

    I passed first time, I think it was to do with the fact I didn’t put in for my test until my instructor said I was ready and not when I thought I was ready because I’d have done it 2 months earlier if it was down to me and probably would have failed, just relax and remember the examiner is just a normal person and your there to show them what you can do and you can obviously do it if you’ve booked the test, remember to breath and book the test for the part of the day you are at your best I’m not a morning person so done mine at 1300, remember to eat and just try to focus don’t put too much pressure on yourself, good luck

  2. 27 February 2012 8:28 am

    Just had my third first-time-pass of the week. I always make sure it’s my idea to put a pupil in for their driving test. That’s the most important thing we can do as a professional. Our knowledge is key to giving pupils the best chance possible.

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