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Learning to Drive

Are Intensive Driving Courses Worth It?

February 13, 2024

7 min read

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Sam Plant

Content Writer

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It takes a recommended 48 hours (or so) of driving lessons to become a good enough driver to sit your practical test. But you can structure your lessons in a few different ways to suit your lifestyle, commitments and budget. Intensive driving courses are a popular option — but are they really worth it?

We’ll cover how long they take, how much they cost, and whether they deliver results, so you can see whether a crash course is the right decision for you.

What is an intensive course?

Intensive driving courses give you the opportunity to get your licence faster than if you were to take traditional hourly lessons — which can drag on (seemingly) forever.

There are a few different types of intensive course:

  • Residential courses: A holiday bootcamp-style approach, where you stay ‘on location’ and drive for several hours each day. Typical length: 1-2 weeks.
  • Local intensive courses: Daily instruction in your local area. Typical length: 1-2 weeks.
  • Local semi-intensive courses: A flexible course that fits around your other commitments, but is still a quicker process than traditional lessons: Typical length: 1-3 months. 

For all intensive courses you’ll need:

Are intensive driving courses worth the money?

Weighing up whether something is worth it can be tricky. Worth is subjective, and depends on your individual circumstances — so what’s "worth it" for one person won’t be for another.

But while we can’t offer a definitive answer, we can run through three main considerations to help you decide: is an intensive driving course worth it… for you?

  • Time — how quickly can you learn to drive?
  • Money — is it cost effective?
  • Quality — will it yield results?

But first, a note on why you should always check for a fast-tracked test option.

Some intensive driving courses don’t offer a test date right at the end of your lessons — meaning you have to wait weeks or even months before a slot becomes available. It doesn’t matter how quick your course is, your learning to drive journey isn’t complete until you’ve got your licence.

Sitting your practical at some point in the semi-distant future is going to see you needing to splash out on more lessons in the meantime. Otherwise you risk being out of practice and forgetting vital skills you’ve already been taught.

We always recommend choosing a course with a fast-tracked test, so that your lessons are tailored to your test date. You may have to wait a teeny-tiny bit longer to start learning, but it’ll save you both time and money in the long run.

Time — how quickly can you learn to drive?

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The main draw of a crash course is that it doesn’t take forever to pass your driving test. You may have a specific deadline for getting your licence: a potential new job that requires one; a theory test certificate that’s going to run out; a break in your education or employment where you can concentrate on driving. Or you may simply have come of age, have saved enough money and are raring to go.

Whatever your motivation, condensing your lessons into a shorter timeframe suits a lot of learners because it build on your skills each lesson, rather than wasting lots of time recapping forgotten instructions. Overall, this should enable you to pass with fewer hours.

However, fully intensive courses are… well, intense. You could be in the car for five hours each day. Driving is mentally and physically taxing, especially when it’s all new, so you need to consider whether you’d get the most out of this method. A semi-intensive course is a good option if you still want to learn quickly, but feel you’d benefit from something a little more flexible. This also gives you chance to drive in a wider range of weather conditions — something that can be lacking in a fully intensive course.

Pros of an intensive course

  • Learn to drive within a shorter period of time
  • Able to pass by a deadline (when your theory test certificate runs out / you start a new job etc.)
  • Fast-tracked test means no wasted time waiting for a practical test slot to become available

Cons of an intensive course

  • Inflexible courses can be overwhelming, tiring and may not suit your learning style
  • Time commitment may not be compatible with your lifestyle, education or job
  • May not experience a wide range of different weather conditions

Wondering what residential courses are all about? They're driving courses where you'll go to the driving school (and usually stay overnight), rather than their instructor coming to you.

We look deeper into the pros and cons of residential courses here.

Money — is an intensive course cost effective?

Intensive driving courses tend to cost in the region of £1500 to £2000 for a beginner driver. They're generally a little more expensive than hourly lessons because:

  • They (should) include the cost of a fast-tracked practical test
  • You’re paying for convenience 

However, a course of lessons may actually save you money in the long run, since:

  • The intensive nature means you’re unlikely to need to practice in between lessons (eliminating insurance and fuel costs)
  • You may be able to pass with fewer lessons than with conventional hourly lessons

Something else to think about is the fact you can usually get flexible payment options with a block-booked course. Taking hourly lessons with a driving instructor may mean you need to pay in cash at the start of every lesson.

Check at what point your driving school requires payment, as some will accept a small deposit to get the ball rolling — and it’s always worth asking whether you can split the total cost into more manageable payments. Bear in mind that payment plans may not be interest-free, so if you can afford to pay up-front, that’s usually the best option.

Why is learning to drive so expensive?!

Learning to drive is an investment. You’re learning a skill for life — and lesson prices reflect that. But they’re also expensive because you’re paying for both the instructor's expertise and overheads:

  • Expert instruction. Your instructor has to be properly qualified, DBS checked and DVSA-approved. They should also keep up to date with their professional knowledge.
  • Insurance. You’re a beginner, so you pose a risk on the roads (no offence!). Your instructor covers that risk with insurance: a cost that’s included in your lesson price.
  • Car maintenance. MOTs, services and general upkeep of any motor vehicle is eye-wateringly expensive — and, as safety and functionality are of the utmost importance here, your instructor needs to make sure their car is in good nick at all times.
  • Fuel. You cover a lot of miles during your lessons, and your tuition money must cover the tanks of fuel you’ll get through.


  • Likely to need fewer lessons before passing, meaning lower overall cost
  • Often bookable with a small deposit
  • May be the option to pay by instalments (be aware of any interest accrued)
  • Should include a fast-tracked practical test (check with your course provider)


  • Big up-front payment (although you can ask about spreading the cost)
  • May have to take time off work to complete the course

Quality — are you likely to pass your test?

You can’t properly assess the value of an intensive course without considering whether it’s actually going to pay off. Without a pink licence to show at the end of it, no amount of time or money is ever going to be worth it.

There are no national statistics comparing pass rates for those who’ve graduated from an intensive course to those who’ve taken traditional lessons — but our internal figures show PassMeFast students pass at comparable rates to the national average. In terms of assessing the quality of one driving school against another, look for testimonials from previous customers and listen to recommendations from people you trust.


  • Experienced instructors
  • Comparable pass rates


  • Intensive courses aren’t a shortcut for hard work (sorry!) 

Is an intensive driving course right for me?

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Compare your need for speed, budget and expectations with the pros and cons we’ve highlighted to see whether you’d thrive in an intensive course setting, or be better suited to learning at a slower pace.

Remember that for many people, the best fit is somewhere in the middle: a flexible, semi-intensive course that builds your confidence and experience over a couple of months.

Whatever you decide, look for trusted driving course specialists or a high-quality instructor, who will personally tailor your provisional-to-pass journey. They should provide you with the skills to stay safe on the roads, no matter the conditions.

How to make the most of an intensive or semi-intensive course

If you do opt for an intensive or semi-intensive course, you can help to ensure your time and money is well spent by: 

  • Preparing for your theory
  • Booking in early
  • Avoiding ‘guaranteed passes’

1. Prepare for your theory

It’s difficult to overemphasise the importance of really getting to grips with your theory — not just so you can sail through the test, but also so you know exactly what you’re meant to be doing on the roads when you finally get there. That way, your lesson time will be spent efficiently, practising practical skills, rather than going over the rules of the road.

2. Book fast to pass fast

Many people miss this memo, but you have to be realistic about matching your free time with that of a driving instructor. Their schedules get booked up very quickly, especially in peak times like the summer (and at the moment, of course, they are still battling pandemic backlogs).

While your lessons themselves aren’t going to take long with an intensive course, you need to get booked in nice and early so that you can learn when you want.

Are ‘guaranteed passes’ worth it?

Some intensive driving schools offer ‘guaranteed’ passes. Let’s be clear: nobody can guarantee you’ll pass. Whatever they’re offering comes at a steep price, and is not usually worth the extra cash. PassProtect is the perfect alternative to confusing 'guaranteed pass' courses. You get 2 extra fast-tracked practical tests for the price of 1!

What can PassMeFast offer you?

PassMeFast’s specialty is building a driving course that suits you — so you don’t have to compromise on flexibility or time constraints. Once you’re booked in (and have completed your theory) we’ll find you a practical test that fits your schedule and beats DVSA waiting times.

Next we’ll match you with a fantastic instructor in your local area, so you can arrange your lessons directly. We’ll keep checking in to see how things are progressing — and await with anticipation that ultimate end goal: the pink licence of dreams.

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