What Does The Learner Driver Journey Look Like?

Learner drivers have been having a bit of a hard time, particularly in the current climate (a phrase we can't wait to stop using!). We hear you: you want to learn to drive quickly, but you're not sure what that looks like. 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.

It's really important to us that we keep our processes transparent, so you're able to make decisions based on facts and realistic timescales. So, without further ado, here's what's going on—and what you need to factor in if you're planning on learning to drive.

What state is the wider industry in right now?

There are a couple of huge pressures the learning to drive industry is facing right now.

A give way sign against a blue sky

Image source: Joe Parkin via Unsplash


Although for the UK, we’re now restriction-free, there’s still a big backlog of driving lessons and tests for all those people who wanted to get passed 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 just decided to learn to drive, we just want to give you a heads up that things aren’t yet back to normal.

Driving instructor shortage

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’s a huge decrease!

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.

What does this mean for you?

People waiting in a queue

Image source: aykapog via Pixabay

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. 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 maxed out at the moment, trying to clear a backlog of thousands of tests either cancelled or delayed because of the pandemic. That means, if you go direct to get your test, you’ll most likely be waiting several months.

How can you learn to drive quickly?

Car light trails along road

Image source: Marc Sendra Martorell via Unsplash

Although our timescales aren’t as quick as they were pre-pandemic, there are things we are doing—and you can also do— to help you pass your test as soon as possible.

PassMeFast beat DVSA wait times. Our test team are working incredibly hard to secure suitable tests for all our customers so you can get on the road.

The more flexible you are, the faster we can potentially book your test. So, semi-intensive courses—where you do several hours of lessons a week—are usually quicker, start to finish, than fully-intensive courses at the moment.

Semi-intensive courses have a lot of the same benefits as fully-intensive courses, in that 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. But they are also easier to fit into your schedule, and give you more chances to gain experience in different weather and traffic conditions. When you factor in a faster test date as well, they really are the best option to consider at the moment.

Your customer journey

So, what’s a realistic timeline if you were to book in with PassMeFast right now—and what would your learning experience look like?

All timings are approximate, and vary depending on your availability and where you’re based.


Choose your course and book in (Day 0)

Starting from scratch? Want to get your driving licence by a certain date? Able to take a semi-intensive course to fit around your busy schedule? Let us know your personal requirements, so we can tailor the experience for you. All we need is a deposit of £250 and we can set the wheels in motion.

Optional extra: theory test (+10 days)

STUDY STUDY STUDY Head to our theory test topic resources so that you know what you’re up against; take practice tests to get the hang of hazard perception.

Top Tip: Make sure you’re up to date on the 2022 Highway Code changes!

Take your theory test

Put that learning into action; head to the centre and come out theory test certified.

It’s a date! (+14 days)

Our team will fast-track your practical test at a day, time and location that suits you. We book this first so that you can have lessons right up to your test, and avoid forgetting all those skills you’ve just been taught.

Your perfect match (+14 days)

We’ll set you up with one of our expert instructors, who will have a car with your chosen transmission (manual or automatic) and will also be available to take you to your test.

Pay the balance (+7 days)

If you’ve not yet paid for your driving course, it's time to settle up.

Arrange your lessons (+1–3 days)

You and your instructor can now work out a schedule that suits both of you. Enjoy all the flexibility that comes with planning your lessons around your other commitments.

Get on the road (+1–3 weeks)

Start getting to grips with practical driving skills like clutch control and smooth gear changes. We’ll check in periodically to make sure you’re happy with how everything’s going.

Pass your practical (+1 day)

Your lessons have prepared you. Now ‘all’ that’s left is to dazzle your examiner!  

Total time = 3-5 months


Sounds pretty painless, right? Book in today to start the faster route to driving.


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