REVEALED: The hardest places to pass the driving test in the UK over the last decade

  • The UK average driving test pass rate is 54%, according to figures
  • Insurer Marmalade analysed the outcomes of attempts at test centres up and down the country over the last 10 years
  • The location with the lowest success rate is 23% lower than the national average
  • We reveal the centres across the country that pass and fail the most learners 

A learner has a 54 per cent chance of passing their driving test.

That’s the average success rate of all those who took their practical driving test over the last decade, according to a new study conducted by insurer Marmalade.

But which test centres have the highest percentage of pass – and fail – rates in the country? All has been revealed.

Unluckiest test centres for learners: Analysis of driving test pass rates have named these locations as the most difficult place for people to get their licence

Unluckiest test centres for learners: Analysis of driving test pass rates have named these locations as the most difficult place for people to get their licence

For many people, passing the driving test is one of the most momentous life experiences.

But there are some UK locations where people have less chance of celebrating the milestone. 

Marmalade – a motor insurance provider for learners and young motorists – analysed 10 years’ worth of results to find out which test centres have a record for the most flunked attempts.

AND Belvedere in Kent has been named the unluckiest test centre for learners in the UK with a pass rate of just 31 per cent over the last decade.

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December is the least fruitful of months, with success rates declining as low as 29 per cent, the stats suggest.

Regionally, it’s London and West Yorkshire where new motorists struggle most, which is understandable considering the higher volume of traffic to contend with.

Both areas have three test centres in the top ten hardest places to pass: Wanstead, Barking-Tanner Street and Barnet in London and Leeds, Bradford-Heaton and Heckmondwike in West Yorkshire. 

UK TEST CENTRES WITH THE LOWEST PASS RATES IN THE LAST 10 YEARS
Driving Test Centre Pass Rate Unluckiest Month
1.Belvedere, Kent 31.20% December 29.33% pass rate
2.Wanstead, London 32.13% June 31.18% pass rate
3.Leeds, West Yorkshire 34.73% December – 33.28% pass rate
4.Bradford (Heaton), West Yorkshire 35.03% May – 34.23% pass rate
5.Barking (Tanner Street), London 35.38% March – 33.97% pass rate
6.Barnet, London 35.49% November – 34.34% pass rate
7.Birmingham (South Yardley), West Midlands 35.60% March – 34.22% pass rate
8.Wednesbury, West Midlands 35.64% November – 34.08% pass rate
9.Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire 36.19% November – 34.90% pass rate
10.Wood Green, London 36.44% March – 34.94% pass rate
Source: Marmalade     
Belvedere in Kent had the lowest pass rate of any driving test centre in the UK over the last decade, Marmalade said

Belvedere in Kent had the lowest pass rate of any driving test centre in the UK over the last decade, Marmalade said

Motorists who sit their test in Belvedere in December see their chances of passing the test decline as low as 29%

Motorists who sit their test in Belvedere in December see their chances of passing the test decline as low as 29%

Marmalade’s analysis has also revealed the test centres where success rates are above the national average.

It’s the fairly remote Scottish town of Campbeltown in Argyll & Bute that placed top for the easiest place to pass a practical driving test in the UK, with an average success rate of 74 per cent.

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The best month to take a test in Campbeltown is May when there is a nine in ten chance you’ll earn your licence at the end of the practical examination.

In fact, it was Scottish test centres that claimed over half of the spots for the easiest places to pass, with Rothesay, Pitlochry, Ballater, Lerwick, Lochgilphead and Orkney also making the top ten. 

All of these locations have relatively low levels of traffic, meaning fewer distractions for those sitting their tests. 

UK TEST CENTRES WITH THE HIGHEST PASS RATES IN THE LAST 10 YEARS 
Driving Test Centre?  Pass rate Luckiest Month
1.Campbeltown, Argyll and Bute 73.68%?  May 90% pass rate
2.Rothesay, Argyll and Bute 72.13%?  January 100% pass rate
3.Pitlochry, Perthshire 70.61%?  November –  85.71% pass rate
4.Llandrindod Wells, Powys?  ?  68.45%?  January – 74.37% pass rate
5.Ballater, Aberdeenshire?  68.15%?  November – 73.53% pass rate
6.Lerwick, Shetland?  66.89%?  December – 71.5% pass rate
7.Lochgilphead, Argyll and Bute?  66.24%?  April – 72.31% pass rate
8.Malton, North Yorkshire?  64.17%?  January – 67.49% pass rate
9.Orkney, Orkney?  62.72%?  January – 66.83% pass rate
10.Kendal, Cumbria?  62.68%?  July – 65.09% pass rate
Source: Marmalade     
Remote locations with lower volumes of traffic have the highest pass rates, as drivers are less distracted by other road users

Remote locations with lower volumes of traffic have the highest pass rates, as drivers are less distracted by other road users

Changes were made to the driving test in December 2017, though pass rates were found to remain relatively consistent

Changes were made to the driving test in December 2017, though pass rates were found to remain relatively consistent

Changes were made to the driving test in December 2017, with reversing around corners and three-point-turn manoeuvres being removed. 

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New additional included driving with a sat-nav and a longer test duration, though Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVSA) stats showed that pass rates remained statistically unchanged.

There is also a new hazard perception test

Just over a year ago, learners accompanied by a qualified instructor have also been allowed to practice on motorways in a bid to improve their confidence before taking their test and getting behind the wheel on their own.

That said, Marmalade ceo Crispin Moger pointed out that nerves can still get the better of many new drivers no matter where they sit the test.

‘More than 50 per cent of young motorists are equally or more anxious about facing their driving test than their academic exams,’ he explained.

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