Why One Lesson a Week Probably Isn't Enough

Learning to drive

When learning to drive, it can sometimes feel like you'll never get your hands on that licence. There's loads of skills to learn, a theory test to pass and then, when it's finally time for your practical, you have to hope you won't succumb to test day nerves. Sheesh! When you put it like that, it does sound like a lot to take on.

Thankfully, these days, people have access to a wide range of driving tuition packages that can help make their journey from learner to qualified driver go by in a flash. There's intensive courses, semi-intensive courses, one week courses and even residential courses.

With all of these options available, it doesn't really make sense to stick to the traditional approach of taking one driving lesson a week. Indeed, dragging out the process of learning to drive can be detrimental to your progress for a host of different reasons. Yes, when it comes to getting behind the wheel, it pays to be the hare rather than the tortoise.

Not really sure what we're on about? Don't worry! We're about to lay out a number of reasons why one driving lesson a week probably isn't enough…

The traditional approach to learning to drive

Black and white image of 1933 Ford car

Back in the day, before companies like PassMeFast existed, it was common for people to learn to drive by taking one lesson a week. Yes—just one! The average lesson was also only about an hour long. As a result of this approach, even quick learners could expect to spend about 6 months learning to drive before they were ready to take the practical test.

Now, there's nothing (much) wrong with the softly, softly, catchy monkey tactic. If you find it less stressful to learn like this, then by all means, go ahead! We would at least recommend that you make sure that your weekly lesson is longer than an hour, though. Squeezing in 1.5-3 hours of tuition a week will really help you get to grips with everything much faster.

The rise of intensive courses

Yellow car with magnifying glass

Are you eager to pass your driving test quickly? For most people, the answer to that question is a resounding “yes!”. And so began the rise of the intensive driving course industry…

Intensive courses are structured so that a learner driver will get behind the wheel for a few hours a day, rather than a week. We're talking frequent lessons all lasting around 2-5 hours. This enables people to master all of the necessary skills in a much shorter space of time. Students are also more likely to retain everything they've learnt, thanks to the fact that there are smaller gaps between lessons.

An added bonus of the intensive approach is that your instructor will very quickly be able to get an idea of where you're at in terms of ability. They can therefore advise a realistic date for the practical test early in the process, which means learners don't have to worry about the often lengthy DVSA wait times slowing things down. Such forward planning is not really possible when you're only taking one hour a week, because progress will be slow and it's thus harder to gage how long the whole thing will take.

Time is money

Piggybank on top of pile of coins with keys draped on head
Photo © Pictures of Money (cc-by/2.0)

One of the biggest reasons people decide to stick to just one lesson a week is because they can only afford to pay on a lesson-by-lesson basis. If you find yourself financially constrained in this way, it's fair enough to do whatever suits you. At the end of the day, learning to drive is a great thing to do, no matter how you go about it.

We also appreciate that the price tags attached to intensive and semi-intensive courses can be intimidating! Anything in a lump sum often looks more expensive than you imagined. If, however, you do have the option to pay upfront or save up until you can, intensive courses can actually work out cheaper than traditional style lessons. After all, they save a lot of time—and time is money!

Seriously, though, when you think about it, a lot of stuff happens in your life over the space of 6 months. If you're only trotting off to take driving lessons once a week, there are plenty of other things that are going to distract you from the learning process. People who go for the slow approach can end up forking out more money over time because they have to waste some lessons going over the same things they learned the previous week. It's just not an efficient way of doing things.

Flex your brain muscles

Plastic model of the human brain

OK, so your brain technically doesn't have any muscles, but it does understand and retain information in a particular way. Continuity is an incredibly important aspect of any learning process. So, if you have long periods of time (and in driving, 6 days is a long time!) where you're not focusing on the task at hand, you'll find it takes much longer to master the desired skill.

In other words, taking one driving lesson a week won't be enough for your brain to work to its full potential. Even though you have plenty of commitments outside of lessons, you need to acknowledge that learning to drive takes a significant amount of focus and determination. Try not to treat it as a part-time thing (even if, in reality, it is!).

It's also really beneficial to get in some practice hours behind the wheel outside of your formal driving lessons. Particularly if you are only taking one lesson a week, we'd recommend trying to organise some drives with friends and family. They're a great opportunity to go over what your instructor has taught you and generally build up your confidence on the road. Just be sure to check that the person with you is legally eligible to supervise a learner driver.

Find what works for you

Pass Plus course student

While we're pretty set on the notion that one lesson a week probably isn't enough, we do accept that everyone is different when it comes to learning new things. When planning your driving lessons, therefore, the best route is that which suits you. If intensive sounds too overwhelming, just take things at a pace that you feel comfortable with.

You also need to consider your schedule when arranging driving lessons. How much of your time are you able to commit to this process? If the answer is not much, it might be worth delaying your course or taking time off work so you can dedicate yourself to lessons. Even a short course will require quite a bit of your time and energy. Remember, though, to always consult with the instructor or driving school before booking any holidays from work.

Though it's up for debate, there are a number of other factors that may affect how easy or hard you find learning to drive. This includes things like your age, how anxious you are and how much previous experience you have. Like we said, it's not established how exactly these elements may affect your driving journey, but they're worth taking into account.

Is there a middle ground?

Yes! If intensive sounds too much but you agree that one lesson a week just won't cut it, you do have other options. Semi-intensive courses sit somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. Plus, once you embark on a semi-intensive course, you might find that  you want to slowly ramp things up. That is, you could start with a semi-intensive style course and, as you start to find it easier to concentrate for longer periods of time, build up to intensive lessons.

Is one driving lesson a week enough?

Monthly planner open on desk

In our professional opinion, taking one driving lesson a week is not an effective or efficient way to learn to drive. Why spend months getting to grips with driving when you can learn swiftly and safely in just a few weeks? Taking frequent block lessons gets you your licence much faster and is often more beneficial for your brain and your bank balance!

You'll get the most bang for your buck by taking an intensive or semi-intensive course. It's like we always say: the road to driving doesn't have to be long! Taking just one lesson a week, however, could see that road stretching further and further towards the horizon…