We don't know about you, but one of the first things on our mind at 17 (besides where our next tenner was coming from) was getting our hands on a driving licence. Learning to drive is a rite of passage as far as we're concerned, and nothing feels as good as when you first take to the road as a fully qualified driver. The sense of accomplishment, freedom and independence is pretty unbeatable!
The fact a lot of learners quickly realise, though, is that earning a licence takes quite a bit of time. It's not simply a case of putting foot to pedal and doing whatever your driving instructor says for a few weeks—there's a lot more hard work and admin involved. Some skills are trickier to learn than others, you need to secure a theory test pass certificate before you can even think about the practical, and waiting times at test centres can be looong.
There goes your dream of passing by the end of summer! ...Or maybe not. While you can't exactly cut corners when it comes to getting a driving licence, there are a few things you can do to make the whole process go more quickly. Curious? You've come to the right place. Whether you've just turned 17 or 70, have a look at our top 5 tips to speed up learning to drive. Heed our advice and you'll be hitting the road in no time at all!
You can't really call yourself a learner driver until you're in possession of a provisional licence. First on the list, then, is doing just that! Hop online or visit your local post office and fill out the application. The earliest you can apply for your provisional licence is 2 months before your 17th birthday. Unless, that is, you're receiving the mobility part of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), in which case you can get started when you're 16. Nice one!
While we're all about being speedy, be careful not to rush through your licence application. Any mistakes or missing information may result in you having to complete this step all over again. That will be neither fun or time-efficient. So, make sure you're all set up before you start the process. You'll need to have £34 available, along with some kind of identity document and the addresses you've lived at for the last 3 years.
Once everything's done and dusted, you can expect to wait around 2 weeks for your provisional licence to arrive. While that's being sorted, why not start researching driving schools and instructors in your local area? You'll be maximising your precious time!
Now you're set up and ready to go, it's time to think about how you're going to learn to drive. Will it be traditional hourly lessons, or an intensive course? If you went for the latter—ding ding ding, jackpot! Yes, it probably comes as no surprise that we recommend intensive driving courses as the most quick and efficient way to earn your driving licence. Rather than dragging out 1 hour lessons over a few months, you'll pack lots of 2-5 hour lessons into a few weeks.
This approach will get you test-ready in a much shorter time (some people even manage to do it in one week!) and help you retain important information for the big day. It's not all sunshine and roses, though. If you take an intensive course you need to be prepared to work hard. As you can imagine, lessons that are more than an hour long require a high level of concentration and you need to be prepared to learn lots of new skills in a short amount of time.
On top of that, you'll need to squeeze plenty of lessons into what could already be a fairly packed schedule. Fitting driving around school and work can be a little overwhelming at first. Make sure you're ready for such an undertaking, or consider taking some time off to really focus on getting your licence.
Even if you plan to learn to drive in a short amount of time, you need to think long-term. There are two different tests to sit (the practical and the theory) and they need to be slotted around your lesson plan in a particular order. Before you can book a practical test, you need to have passed the theory test. So, as soon as your provisional licence arrives, get this booked in at your nearest centre.
One of the best pieces of advice we have for any learner is to take the theory test seriously. You'd be surprised how many people don't. A small slip-up here can really slow the whole driving process down. There are tons of useful revision tools out there—both free and to purchase. So, there's really no reason to fail. Again, even though this article is focused on speed, make sure you select a realistic test date that gives you plenty of time to revise the theory test.
As we've explained, you won't actually be able to book your driving test until you've passed the theory. Once that's done, you can expect fairly hefty waiting times when it comes to finding a practical test slot. Of course, if you come to a company like PassMeFast, we can find you a test date using our state of the art fast-track system. Ok, 'state of the art' might be an exaggeration, but trust us, this gets the job done—and quickly!
When it comes to revising for the theory test, start with the Highway Code, which provides vital road information and rules. We advise buying resources like the official DVSA handbook or the AA theory test book. They both contain official DVSA questions with answers. Revise them thoroughly—they could show up on your test.
When contacting the DVSA or booking tests, there are important documents and bits of information that you need to have to hand. For the sake of making life easier for yourself, it's a good idea to keep all of your driving info (like your theory test pass certificate and proof of any special requirements) safe and in one place. In particular, try not to lose your provisional licence. We know it handily doubles up as a form of ID accepted in all of your favourite bars, but if time is of the essence when it comes to passing your test, you need to have your priorities straight!
As one large supermarket chain likes to remind us, every little helps! This is certainly true when it comes to learning to drive. Practice really does make perfect, so the more you are able to get out on the road and work on your skills, the sooner you'll be deemed test-ready!
If you can, organise some informal drives with family and friends to practise the skills you've been taught by your instructor. It will increase your confidence behind the wheel and help reinforce your abilities. Keep in mind, though, that not just anyone can take you out for these practice lessons. At the very least, the other person must be over the age of 21 and have held a licence for more than 3 years. Find out more in our guide to practicing your driving outside lessons.
Finally, even if you're super-duper eager to score that licence, be careful not to jump the gun. It might seem to go against your goal to speed up learning to drive, but the key to becoming a qualified driver as soon as possible lies in being realistic, organised and working your butt off. Simply rushing through everything and booking tests at the earliest available date won't necessarily get you that licence any faster. In fact, it can slow the entire process down.
The theory and practical are not the kind of tests you can blag your way through. So, if you sit them before you're ready, chances are you'll fail. While this isn't the end of the world, it does add more time on to your driving journey. And we're not just talking about the time it takes you to find a new test appointment.
You see, the DVSA actually imposes restrictions on how long you need to wait between taking tests. You are required to leave a gap of at least 3 working days between theory tests, and 10 working days between practical tests. All of this adds up in terms of both time and money! To avoid getting ahead of yourself, make sure you take enough lessons to master all areas of driving and consult with your driving instructor before settling on a test date. Not sure how many hours of lessons you require? Give PassMeFast's course recommender a whirl. At the end of the day, you're aiming to be a well-rounded, safe driver—not just someone who can jump through a few hoops on the test.
All the different things you need to do to earn a licence may seem like a lot of effort, but remember, you're working towards a potential lifetime of being able to drive! That's a pretty big deal, if you ask us. Even if you don't manage to pass first time, it's likely that you've done most of the hard work.
Book back in as soon as possible and hold on to that determination! The pay off is definitely worth it. With a range of intensive courses, CX Advisers who can organise all your tests for you, and a blog full of handy revision resources, PassMeFast is the place to go if you want to learn to drive as quickly as possible. Check out your options online, or give us a call today on 0333 123 4949. The road to driving doesn't have to be long!