My Theory Test Is About to Expire! What Should I Do?

Cartoon to-do book and timer

There's no sugarcoating it—learning to drive will cost you time, money and effort. Working towards getting a driving licence can feel like quite the commitment when you first get started but, rest assured, it is very much worth it.

The problem with time is that, like money, it seems to run out very easily! One day you're skipping out of the theory test centre clutching a pass certificate and, within what feels like such a short period of time, you suddenly realise the expiry date is creeping up. This is never a fun experience and you may find that the subsequent stress you feel causes you to ignore the deadline for even longer.

The reality is that the theory test pass certificate lasts for 2 years. If you do not book, take and pass the practical test within this time window, you will need to start from the beginning. That's right—you won't be able to book another practical test until you have retaken and passed the theory test.

So, if your theory test is about to expire, you have two options: sack it all in and give up on your driving dream, or snap into action and do what you can to get back on track. What's it gonna be? For those saying option two *ding!*, let us walk you through your next steps…

Don't panic!

Direction sign with the word 'Panic'

The first thing to remember is to not lose your cool. Getting in a flap about something very rarely leads to it being sorted out. In fact, panicking will achieve nothing except making you feel worse about the whole thing. You can't change the date on the pass certificate and you can't cheat the system, so it's time to accept the situation and focus on what can be done. This will be different for everyone, depending on how much time you actually have.

Still a few weeks left before the expiry date? Willing and/or able to set aside time to practice your driving? You could be lucky enough to just squeeze through if you go to the right place. Theory certificate runs out in a few days and you're super booked up until then? It's probably time to start revising the highway code again—sorry!

Whichever bucket you fall into, follow our advice and you'll find that becoming a qualified driver doesn't have to be a struggle—even if you have left it a bit late.

Find the right course

Cartoon laptop, car and book

If you still have a bit of time left before your theory test certificate expires, picking the right driving course could mean the difference between passing and starting all over again. The obvious answer when time is of the essence is to go for an approach that packs as much learning into as little time as possible. Luckily, at PassMeFast we know quite a bit about that!

Intensive courses

Intensive or semi-intensive driving courses are usually taken in chunks of 2-5 hour lessons. This not only means that the learning process can be completed in days or weeks (rather than months), it also ensures that everything you've learnt stays fresh in your mind and you get to grips with the basics from day one. For those who are pushed for time, it's the perfect solution.

Fast-tracking tests

To really get ahead of the game and save as much time as possible, combine an intensive course with a fast-tracked test. A major issue that often crops up when theory test certificates are about to expire is the fact that practical test wait times can be very long. You might think you can be test-ready in the space of a week, but that's no good if you're waiting 6 weeks for the next available test slot.

Some companies are able to get around this by fast-tracking tests. At PassMeFast, for example, our team constantly has one eye on the practical test availabilities across the country, meaning we can snap up any cancellations as soon as they appear. We'll often book learners a test before they've even started to take lessons, ensuring they have a date to work towards and don't have to worry about any delays down the line. This is obviously ideal if you need to pass by a certain time.

Take two

Paper and pencil sharpener

If your theory test is going to expire in a week or two, it's probably time to accept you've left it too late to fit in a quick practical test. Companies that focus on getting students passed fast are speedy, but we're not miracle workers! Still, this is no reason to give up. Starting all over again really isn't as much of a drag as it sounds. Once you get going again and show some dedication, you'll find that the pace can really pick up!

Re-taking the theory test

Step 1 is going to be getting yourself booked in for another theory test ASAP. You don't want to lose any momentum by putting it off. Some good news—remember fast-tracking? We can do that with theory tests too! Also, while we're on the positives, keep in mind that you've aced this test before, so doing it again shouldn't be a problem.

If luck really isn't on your side and you don't manage to pass, it's not the end of the world. The DVSA just requires that learners leave a gap of 3 working days between their last theory test and the next. Book yourself a new test and use the wait time to get some revision in.

Learn from the past

The second time around is the perfect opportunity to learn from your past mistakes. Take note of your new expiry date and focus on learning to drive way before it arrives. Consider the fact that practical tests come with wait times and even possible cancellations.

Finally, though it's important to believe in your abilities, it's wise to leave plenty of time for at least a couple of stabs at the practical test. Not everyone passes first time. In fact, the stats show that most people won't! This isn't a reason to be pessimistic—rather, be realistic.

My theory test is about to expire! What should I do?

Cartoon mark sheet

Whatever the reason behind your theory test being close to expiration—never getting test ready, bad learning experience, failed a few tests…etc—the most important advice to heed is to not give up. You've already started the driving journey, so there's no point dragging it out any more than you need to. Just think—it's a lot more likely to go well if you complete it while some of the important information is still vaguely fresh in your brain.

PassMeFast can help you out no matter what the situation is with your theory certificate. If it's due to run out in days, we'll fast-track you a new test and make sure you're well on your way to turning the situation around. For those who still have a bit of time, we can organise an intensive course that will really speed up the learning process.

Not sure which category you fall in to? Give us a call on 0333 123 4949 and a member of our team will work out your options for you. Don't waste any more time stressing about expiry dates! Re-start your driving journey today and you'll be out on the open road in no time.


  1. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Tyler,

    Yes, you can sit a theory test before your current one expires to extend your certificate by 2 years.

    Good luck!


    3 days ago

  2. Tyler Keel

    Hi there my theory runs out on 26th of July and I was wondering if I would be able to go redo my theory before it runs out

    5 days ago

  3. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Rhys,

    It updates straight away so it sounds like your test centre is fully booked, I'm afraid. A cancellation will come up eventually, so be sure to keep checking!

    Good luck!



    5 days ago

  4. Rhys

    My 1st theory test was due to expire 8th August. I couldnt find a slot for a practical so ive re-done the theory a 2nd time to extend my booking range.
    Ive passed my 2nd theory, how long does it take to update on Dvla system? As its still saying no slots available even a year in advance?

    5 days ago

  5. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Julie,

    The existing theory certificate should be valid until it's expiry date, if your daughter was to fail the theory test in July.

    Wish her luck with both tests from us!



    1 week ago

  6. Julie Lennon

    My daughters theory runs out in a couple of months. She has a test booked but if she fails that we will be starting from scratch. Do you know if she failed a rebooked theory (in July) but her current theory test doesn’t expire till end August if that would invalidate her taking her practical test in early August?

    1 week ago

  7. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Becky,

    Yeah, that's right! Very wise move.

    Good luck!


    1 week ago

  8. Becky

    My theory runs out 19th Aug and theres no chance of me getting a practical test before then.. am I aloud to retake my theory before it runs out for example could I book my theory
    for this June to restart the 2 years

    1 week ago

  9. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Sarah,

    If you book a practical test for the future and your theory expires before the test date, then the practical test will be automatically cancelled by the DVSA.

    Your best option is to take a new theory test ASAP so you can book your practical test without worrying about the expiry.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but good luck with your tests!

    If you need any help with booking tests, give our team a call on 0333 123 4949.



    3 weeks ago

  10. Sarah

    Hi! My theory expires very soon - can I book a driving test now for the future even though it will expire? I'm planning on re-taking my theory anyway, but would like to book a test before I do the theory. Thank you!

    3 weeks ago

  11. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Olabanji,

    Sorry to hear your test didn't go to plan.

    It's unfortunate that your theory is set to expire in July. However, there is a chance of getting a practical test before then, so don't lose hope!

    You can check the DVSA bookings site regularly to secure a cancellation, and there are also paid services that do this for you. In fact, every PassMeFast course includes a fast-tracked practical test!

    Using a fast-track system like ours will give you the best chance of securing a cancellation before your theory expires, but isn't guaranteed. Feel free to give our team a call on 0333 123 4949 to see how we can help.

    Good luck!


    4 weeks ago

  12. Olabanji Ibidapo

    I recently failed my test as a mad a serious fault at the end of the test. I've been trying to book my driving test again asap but I cant find any slots/cancellations available and the theory test expires in july. What should I do?

    4 weeks ago

  13. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Michaela,

    If the DVSA system hasn't updated with your new theory test, then it'd be best for you to cancel the existing 'on hold' practical test. The DVSA will refund you and you can rebook with your new theory certificate number.

    Hope that helps!



    1 month ago

  14. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Thomas,

    With your practical test being cancelled and put on hold, it'll probably be held in the system until you pass the theory test again. Chances are you'll be asked to submit your new theory test certificate number to proceed with rearranging that test.

    If not, you'll be able to cancel the test and have the fee refunded back to you so that you can rebook. Either way, you'll either get a test or a refund, so don't worry about losing any money!

    Hope that helps.



    1 month ago

  15. Michaela

    I’ve just redone my theory test and passed as it did expire:)
    I have a practical test booked but it is on hold, it was cancelled twice. On the website it hasn’t updated with my new theory expiry date and isn’t showing any available tests because it doesn’t show anything beyond your expiry date. I have no clue on how to update it. I’ve tried Googling it but there is nothing on it as I’m guessing this never really happened till recently. I just want to get it booked and out of the way!! .

    1 month ago

  16. Thomas Phillips

    My theory has lapsed but due to the test being canceled on the dvsa side (on hold) I still have a booking on the system what happens to that practical test booking between now and if and when I get a new theory certificate? (I have booked a new theory test)

    1 month ago

  17. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Jessica,

    Your existing theory test certificate would still be valid until the expiry date. So no need to worry about that!



    1 month ago

  18. Jessica

    My test expires in the end of June and I am wondering if I retake the theory test and fail does the previous pass certificate become null and void or is it still valid until its expiration date. Thank you

    1 month ago

  19. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Malcolm,

    Our current timescales to complete a course are 3–4 months, so it might be a bit tight with your theory certificate expiring soon.

    However, if you only need a fast-tracked practical test, we'd be aiming to get you in for a test within 8 weeks. Please bear in mind that we wouldn't be able to provide an instructor for this, though, and you'd need to use your own car/instructor to take the test.

    Hope that helps, but please feel free to give us a call on 0333 123 4949 to discuss your options!



    1 month ago

  20. Malcom Everest

    My theory test expires in 3 months do I have time to fast track a practical with you

    1 month ago

  21. Andy@PassMeFast

    Hi Charlotte,

    I've just contacted the DVSA to ask whether this is possible and they've said that it would be fine. You just need to visit the official theory test booking service; from there, you can log in with your driving licence details and book your test.

    Hope this helps!


    2 months ago

  22. Charlotte

    I've accepted the fact that I will need to redo my theory test due to the pandemic. However, do I need to wait for my current theory to expire before I take the test again or can I redo the test at any time? I've tried looking it up and I can't find anything on this issue. Any suggestions would be great!

    2 months ago

  23. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Shaz,

    I'm afraid only the government has the power to extend theory test pass certificates and it has refused to do so. As a result, if your certificate has expired, your only option is to re-take the theory test.

    I completely understand your frustration with this, but sadly the decision is out of PassMeFast's hands.

    Good luck with it all!


    2 months ago

  24. Shaz

    Hi can we not have a extension on our theory test certificate because of the pandemic it’s expired and we was not able to give lessons and book practical what shall we do 😔

    2 months ago

  25. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Abu,

    Despite the pandemic preventing learner drivers from taking lessons and tests, I'm afraid the DVSA is not allowing theory test certificate expiration dates to be extended. As a result, you will need to re-take the theory test.

    Test centres are due to reopen from April 12th, but wait lists for appointments are likely to be quite lengthy. You can give PassMeFast a call on 0333 123 4949 to get an idea of how long you'd be waiting if we fast-tracked a test for you.

    Hope this helps!


    2 months ago

  26. Abu kamara

    My theory test passed certificate is expired since last month March 24 what can do

    2 months ago

  27. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Susan,

    I'm really sorry to hear about how the pandemic has impacted your ability to earn a licence. This has been an incredibly frustrating time for learner drivers. It's great that you have a practical test appointment coming up, and I would urge you not to focus on the possibility of failing.

    There are lots of articles on the PassMeFast site and blog that offer advice on how to pass the practical test. You should also try to get out on the road as soon as possible. If you live in England, you are now allowed to take practice lessons with people from your household or support bubble, and driving lessons can start from April 12th. Make the most of those 2 months!

    I wish you the best of luck for your driving test. You can do it!


    2 months ago


    My theory test expires on the 25th of June and i'm booked for practical test on the 16th of June, what if i fail, no more time to get another test. I've been rescheduled 4 times because of this pamdemic🤨

    2 months ago

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