Learner drivers have had a hard time since 2020 (say no more). We hear you: you want to learn to drive quickly, but you're not sure what 'quickly' looks like these days. And you just want someone to be upfront with you and tell you exactly what the deal is, how long it will take, and when exactly you can aim to pass your test.
So, here's what's going on and how fast you can pass with PassMeFast.
Need the lowdown fast?
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Although we’ve been restriction-free for a while now, there’s still a BIG backlog of driving lessons and tests for all those people who wanted to pass in the last couple of years. Most of you will be well aware of this—but for those of you who have come of driving age recently (or have recently decided to learn to drive) we just want to give you a heads up that things aren’t yet back to normal.
This is a less well-known issue—but driving instructors are in short supply. Between 2010 and 2020, the UK went from nearly 50,000 instructors to under 40,000. That means roughly 1-in-5 instructors hung up their instructing hats and moved onto something new.
There are a few reasons for this: lots of instructors have retired, others have dropped down their hours pre-retirement, and plenty made a job change during the pandemic when they weren’t able to work in this industry.
Covid also made it difficult to train to become a driving instructor, and will have put off some people from pursuing it as a career.
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This all means that fully intensive courses—where you book out several days in a row with the same instructor—are more difficult to accommodate right now. Many companies have stopped offering them altogether, instructors are juggling lots of pupils and rarely have long periods of availability in their diaries. It also means the whole process takes a bit longer than it used to (even compared to just a few years ago).
How long are DVSA test waiting times?
The DVSA is still maxed out trying to clear a backlog of thousands of tests either cancelled or delayed because of the pandemic. That means, if you book your test without a fast-track system, you’ll most likely be waiting several months.
Image source: Marc Sendra Martorell via Unsplash
Although it's not as easy as before the pandemic, there are a few things we can do to help you pass your driving test before the rest:
→ PassMeFast beat DVSA wait times. In most areas, we cut them in half. So if the soonest test at your local centre is in 6 months, we can probably get you one in just 3 months. Not too shabby!
→ The more flexible you are, the faster you can pass. Semi-intensive courses—where you do several hours of lessons a week—are quicker than fully-intensive courses nowadays. This is because, with a semi-intensive, you don't need to wait for an instructor to have a free week in their diary.
Semi-intensive courses have the same benefits as fully-intensive courses. They still allow you to learn quicker than taking traditional lessons and you can take lessons right up until your test, so everything’s fresh in your mind.
Extra brownie points for the fact, they're also easier to fit into your schedule, and give you more chances to gain experience in different weather and traffic conditions.
When we spoke to our lovely instructors, it turns out semi-intensive courses are their most recommended route too. The most popular structure is 2–3 lessons of 2–3 hours per week, meaning you can complete any of our courses in a month even if you've never been behind the wheel before.
When you factor in a faster test date as well, they really are the best option!
So, what’s a realistic timeline if you were to book in with PassMeFast right now—and what would your learning experience look like?
Bear in mind that all timescales are approximate and vary depending on your location and availability.