Learners shelling out more than a grand on theory test attempts

Driving theory test candidates at 10 test centres spent more than £1,000 each getting their pass certificate*. The AA Driving School can reveal the most spent on theory test attempts before passing was £1,380 at Redditch theory test centre. This equates to 60 attempts of the £23 test.

84 driving theory test centres saw candidates shell out more than £500 each getting their pass certificate after passing on their 22nd attempt. Half of driving theory test centres (125 centres) saw at least one candidate spend £345 to take the test 15 times before they were successful.

The data, revealed by AA Driving School shows test centres which saw candidate(s) spend more than £1,000 to pass their theory test were:

Number of theory test attempts prior to passing by candidate(s) Cost to individual Theory Test Centre
60 £1,380 Redditch
58 £1,334 Hull
56 £1,288 Guildford
54 £1,242 Royal Tunbridge Wells
52 £1,196 Bristol
48 £1,104 Birmingham
48 £1,104 Chelmsford
48 £1,104 Sidcup
48 £1,104 Sutton Coldfield
47 £1,081 Taunton

A written theory test was introduced for learner drivers in 1996. Today, the theory test is made up of two parts. The first is 57 minutes to answer 50 multiple choice questions based on the Highway Code and the second is the Hazard Perception test, during which candidates are asked to spot hazards in videos. Candidates must pass both the multiple choice (43 out of 50) and hazard perception test (44 out of 75) before they can book their practical driving test.

Recent research by AA Driving School showed the theory test pass rate has fallen to its lowest rate in recorded history with just 44.2% passing compared to 65.4% in 2007/08.

As a result, AA Driving School has launched a new theory test app to help learners tackle the test with confidence. The AA Driving School Theory Test app contains more than 700 theory questions and extensive hazard perception clips. Learners can use the flashcard feature for quick-fire revision sessions, access content when offline, take timed mock tests and track their progress.

The AA Driving School Theory Test app is available on Apple and Google Play stores for a one-off cost of £4.99 and can be downloaded here.

* Data obtained via Freedom of Information request to the DVSA by AA Driving School. Data shows number of theory test attempts prior to a pass, by test centre and candidate age, for the period January 2023 – June 2023.

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