Learning to Drive

As driving instructors, we often get asked the same questions when learners are inquiring about learning to drive and taking driving lessons.

All driver related tests and licences (with exception to the police) are dealt with through the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). All theory test and practical driving test telephone numbers and website links can be found on this page.

Provided are the most frequently asked questions that potential learner drivers ask driving instructors on how to start learning to drive.

LEARNING TO DRIVE

Learning to drive can be time consuming and costly. The Driving Test Tips website offer plenty of tutorials and help for learner drivers, experienced drivers intending on taking the UK driving test, plus advice once passed.

What age must I be to start learning to drive?

To drive on a public road, you must be at least 17 years of age. Certain driving schools do offer driving lessons conducted on private land. In this situation, you can start learning to drive at a younger age than 17.

Learning to drive

I’m 17, what do I need to start learning to drive?

You will need to apply for your provisional driving licence. The current fee for a provisional driving licence is £34 at the time of writing and can be applied for in two ways;

Option 1

The easiest way is to apply online. By visiting the official gov.uk website, you can apply for your licence providing you are:

  • Residential to Great Britain
  • Are no younger than 3 months before your 17th birthday
  • Can meet the minimum eyesight requirement
  • Are currently not prevented from driving due to a conviction or health
  • Are able to pay £34.00 by MasterCard, Visa, Electron or Delta debit or credit card
  • Hold a valid form of identification, for example a UK passport
  • Are able to produce evidence of residence for the previous 3 years
Option 2

Obtainable from most Post Offices, application form D1 and a photo card application form D750 should be completed and sent up to 3 months before your 17th birthday to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AD. Once you have received your provisional driving licence, you are able to start learning to drive. Getting off to a good start is essential, so read our tips on finding a good driving instructor.

THE THEORY TEST

Driving theory test

The information below offer advice on booking the driving theory test and if applicable, changing or cancelling the test.

When can I take the theory test?

Your theory test can be booked and taken once you receive your provisional driving licence and are 17 years of age.

Book a theory test

To book a theory test, you will need your

  • Great Britain or Northern Ireland provisional driving licence number
  • credit or debit card
  • valid e-mail address to receive your confirmation booking details. You will not be able to book your theory test without an e-mail address

There are 2 ways in which a theory test can be booked;

  • Book theory test by phone

    Telephone the DVSA on 0300 200 1122, welsh language 0300 200 1133 or textphone 0300 200 1166. You can use the telephone service from Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm.

  • Book theory test online

    The easiest way to book a theory test is online

  • Book theory test online

Check or change or cancel theory test booking

If you did not receive a theory test confirmation e-mail or have forgotten the time and date of your theory test, you can check online when your date is. You can also use this to change or cancel your theory test. If you intend to cancel a theory test, allow at least 3 working days’ notice to inform the DVSA.

Cancellations made within 3 working days (including Saturdays) will not be refunded. The same policy applies to changing a theory test date. A change of date is not possible unless 3 working days’ notice is provided. Check or change or cancel theory test booking. You will need your provisional driving licence number at hand to make any changes.

If you are struggling to study or pass the theory test, let your driving instructor know as learning to drive in itself combined with theory related questions and answers from your instructor will help.

How Long do I need to wait if I fail the theory test?

If you were unsuccessful in passing your theory test, you will need to wait 3 working days before you become eligible to re book the theory test. For help with passing the theory test, please see our tutorial on tips for passing the theory test.

THE PRACTICAL DRIVING TEST

Practical driving test

The information below provides details on how to book a practical driving test, change or check the dates and times of your test and how to cancel your test.

When can I book my driving test?

To book your driving test, you will need to have received your provisional driving licence and to have passed your theory test. Once you have chosen your driving test centre, you can book your practical driving test.

Book a driving test

To successfully book your driving test, you will need:

  • a valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland provisional licence number
  • a credit or debit card
  • if applicable, a theory test pass date and certificate number

There are 2 options available for booking your practical driving test:

  • Book a driving test by phone

    Telephone the DVSA on 0300 200 1122, welsh language 0300 200 1133 or textphone 0300 200 1166. You can use the telephone service from Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm.

  • Book a driving test online

    You can select your preferred driving test centre and book your driving test online. This process takes around 15 minutes.

  • Book a driving test online

How long do I need to wait if I fail the driving test?

If you were unsuccessful in passing your driving test, ten working days must be cleared before you are entitled to retake the driving test. The current fee for the driving test is:

  • £62.00 for weekday prices
  • £75 for weekday evenings, weekends or bank holidays

Check driving test date

You can easily check your driving test online. Ensure that you have at hand two of the following pieces of information:

  • your valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland provisional driving licence number
  • your application reference number
  • your theory test pass certificate number
  • Check a driving test date booking

Cancel or reschedule a driving test

The DVSA state that 3 clear working days must be providing if you wish to cancel or reschedule the driving or theory test. To cancel, reschedule or check a practical driving test appointment, ensure you have at hand at least two of the following pieces of information:

  • your valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland provisional driving licence number
  • your application reference number
  • your theory test pass certificate number
  • Cancel or reschedule a driving test

DVSA cancelling driving tests

The DVSA can on occasions cancel driving tests. If your driving test has been cancelled, you will receive notification in the post. Driving tests can be cancelled due to:

In this situations, the DVSA will automatically re book your practical driving test at the next earliest appointment. If this date and time is not convenient, you may change the driving test date or cancel the driving test.

LEARNING TO DRIVE CONTACT INFORMATION

All theory test and driving tests are managed and conducted by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). The theory test and driving test booking telephone numbers below are automated services although a DVSA member of staff can be contacted by listening to the available options.

  • Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
    The Axis Building
    112 Upper Parliament Street
    Nottingham
    NG1 6LP
  • 0300 200 1188 – Customer inquiries
  • 0115 936 6666 – General inquiries
  • 0300 200 1122 + option 1 for booking theory test
  • 0300 200 1122 + option 2 for booking driving test
  • Email: customer.services@dsa.gsi.gov.uk
    When you email the DVSA, 2 of the 3 pieces of information below must be included:

    • Driving licence number (this is shown in section 5 on the front of your photocard driving licence)
    • Theory test pass certificate number (if you have one)
    • Application reference number (if you have one)

See:

Lost theory test certificates

If you have lost your theory test certificate and need your theory pass number for booking a practical driving test, use the contact information below.

LEARNING TO DRIVE TIPS

Learning to drive can be costly and challenging. Although friends and family can help with the learning to drive process, it is important that a driving instructor is used either as the sole trainer or a combination between the instructor and family or friends.

It’s not always easy to tell a good driving instructor from bad. Generally the best approach is ask for recommendations or look for online reviews – although this won’t guarantee a good quality instructor. How ever you found a driving school or instructor, ask them a few questions before booking a lesson.

  • Is your instructor fully qualified or a trainee driving instructor?

    There’s nothing wrong in using a trainee driving instructor for learning to drive, but a fully qualified instructor will have passed all the tests and may have greater experience.

  • Does your instructor teach locally and are they familiar with the local driving test routes?

    Knowing all the test routes that the driving examiners take you on is not important, but having a good knowledge of the difficult areas certainly will benefit you. An experienced local instructor will know these routes.

  • What are your pass rates?

    Don’t always be too assured by a school advertising high driving school or instructors pass rates. There are many variations on pass rates.

  • What car shall I use for the driving test?

    Ensure that you will take the driving test in the same car as that you are learning to drive in. A car that you are familiar with driving will be much easier on the test.

  • Will I have different driving instructors?

    Ensure that you will have the same instructor throughout the entire learning to drive course as different instructors us different teaching techniques and may become confusing.

  • Can I try before I buy?

    Before signing up for an entire course, take an assessment lesson whether you’re a total novice or had previous driving experience. This first driving lesson will of course either start or continue your learning to drive process, but the importance of this initial lesson is to enable you to establish if you and the instructor get along and that you clearly understand the way in which they teach. You should also ensure that your instructor is patient, friendly and understanding to any mistakes that you make.

2 thoughts on “Learning to Drive”

  1. Roy Brown

    May I use a Fiat Convertable car for a driving test?

    Thank you.

    Roy Brown

  2. Hi Roy,
    It’s not the the DVSA’s list of cars that are prohibited, but if you are using a convertible car, you must contact the DVSA prior to taking your test. You don’t want to get there only to find they’ll not allow your car.

    customerservices@dvsa.gov.uk
    Telephone: 0300 200 1122

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