One of the most crucial parts of learning to drive is choosing the right driving instructor. There are plenty of factors to take into account: their availability, teaching style and vehicle will all come into play. For many learners, however, it all comes down to cold hard figures: what's my driving instructor's pass rate?
It's little wonder that learners are interested in these stats. After all, the entire point of taking lessons is getting ready to pass your test! Nonetheless, it can be notoriously tricky to check an instructor's pass rate. In this guide, we'll provide some pointers on how to find out, as well as assessing how useful this stat really is.
If you've ever tried to research any driving test-related statistics before, then it's likely you'll have found yourself on the DVSA's website. As the body that oversees all driving tests conducted in Great Britain, they've got a wealth of information on driving test pass rates, breaking down how likely you are to pass by gender, age, location, and even number of attempts.
So, is it possible to check pass rates by instructor using this service? Unfortunately, no. You see, while the DVSA has access to a lot of information about you as a candidate, they won't necessarily know who you've learned with. While it is possible to put an instructor's ADI number into the system when you book a test, this isn't mandatory.
As a result, it's not possible for the DVSA to automatically calculate an instructor's pass rate so simply. This can be frustrating, as they're the one body that you should be able to rely on for impartial statistics and advice. Nonetheless, there are other routes you can try if you're hunting for your driving instructor's pass rate.
If your hunt for a pass rate is less about exact figures and more about getting some reassurance, then sometimes all you need to do is ask around. After all, for most people, it doesn't matter too much whether an instructor has a pass rate of 72% or 83%—it's about getting a simple confirmation that, yes, people really do pass with them.
Ideally, you'd be in a position to ask a friend or family member that you know and trust. However, the days when we all chose a driving instructor based on personal recommendations are behind us. Nowadays, one of your best sources of information is the internet.
Almost any established driving school will have at least some sort of online presence where it will be possible for the general public to leave reviews. Most are available on Google, with many also present on services such as Facebook, Yell and TrustPilot, all of which allow for detailed reviews. These should give you a good idea as to whether you're choosing a trustworthy instructor who helps students get over the line.
If, however, you're not won over by anecdotal evidence alone, don't fret. Elsewhere on the internet, it may be possible to find a more exact figure…
While you're searching for information on an instructor, one of the most obvious places to look is their website. Alongside details about their lesson rates and the test centres they cover, it's quite likely you'll find some stats regarding their pass rate.
At this point, though, it's worth sounding a note of caution. An instructor's website is, at the end of the day, trying to get you to book with them. This means that, while they may not outright lie about their pass rate, it's probable that they'll try to massage the truth a little.
At the end of the day, instructors understand that students are desperate to pass, and may select some of the most favourable stats to put themselves in the best light. For example, they may say that 95% of their students pass with them, but don't specify whether these students pass on their first go or their fifth.
Our advice? If you see a pass rate that looks suspicious, you can usually assume it is. After all, the national average pass rate currently stands at just below 46%—if someone's claiming double that, you're probably smelling a rat.
Even if an instructor is being totally honest about their pass rate, it's worth remembering that many don't update their website frequently. The figures you see there may, for example, reflect the instructor's pass rate before the December 2017 driving test changes, which saw the introduction of sat navs, an overhaul of manoeuvres, and a longer independent driving section. The figures now may be entirely different! So, how can you be sure of an up-to-date pass rate?
Sometimes a little conversation can go a long way. Simply asking an instructor what their pass rate is is often the best method of finding out the truth. It's possible to do this while you're on a lesson, but this isn't necessarily advisable.
If pass rates matter to you, it's better to figure out whether your instructor meets your needs before you part with any cash. Meanwhile, from the instructor's point of view, getting this line of questioning on a lesson may come across as you doubting their abilities. Not great for rapport.
Instead, it's better to ask while you're still at the point of researching which instructor to choose. Do note that many of the same caveats apply as with checking a website: statistics may not be fully accurate or up-to-date.
It's also worth noting that many instructors may simply not keep records of their pass rate. In such instances, you may have no statistics on which to base your opinion. So, with no hard proof of an instructor's abilities, what should you do instead?
In a world where so much data is instantly available at our fingertips, it can be difficult to disregard the stats entirely. But learning to drive is unique to each person, and that experience is impossible to measure in numbers alone.
A driving instructor might have a very high pass rate, for example, but a teaching style that just doesn't work for you. You might find a male instructor who looks fantastic on paper, but know deep down that you'd feel more comfortable learning with a female instructor. Whatever factors matter to you, your learning process is personal. A pass rate reflects other people's stories; not yours.
So, how do you choose the right instructor? Well, one of the best ways is to get some help from the pros. As it happens, we know a thing or two about choosing a good instructor. We work with grade A and B ADIs, and always aim to match you up to an instructor who's a good fit for you.