Most of us want everything as fast as possible — whether it’s a meal, online delivery, or a driving licence. It used to take months (sometimes even years) to learn to drive and pass both tests, but not any more… Enter the ‘intensive driving course’, sometimes referred to as a ‘crash course’ — the game-changing secret weapon for learner drivers who like things done fast.
But what is an intensive course? And, most importantly, are they really worth it?
Let’s take a good look at the pros and cons of intensive driving lessons. By the end of this article, you’ll know if these speedy courses are a good match for you.
Back in the day, driving lessons would typically consist of 1- or 2-hour lessons, once a week. So, with the DVSA recommending at least 40 hours to get test-ready, learning the old school way could take over a year...
On the flip-side, intensive courses are designed to teach you everything you need to pass your driving test in the shortest possible time. These courses are usually spread over a week or two, with lessons on most (if not all) days.
One thing to bear in mind is that it’s best to pass your theory test before starting your lessons. This helps to prevent any delays if you need to re-sit the theory. Plus it’s much more efficient to concentrate on just the practical side of things during your course.
These are usually 5-day courses taught from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. You’ll be expected to travel out of your local area to a driving school (unless you live nearby) so you’ll need to pay for a week’s stay in a hotel.
Some driving schools are located in popular holiday destinations around the UK, and the course is advertised as a kind of ‘educational holiday’. But we want to learn to drive, not throw a frisbee on the beach, right?! So, let's put promenades and piers to the back of our minds and discuss the ups and downs of learning to drive with residential intensive courses.
✔ Typically faster than traditional lessons
✔ Established driving schools with reputable instructors
✔ Possibility of a fast-tracked driving test
✔ The usual requirement to pass the theory test before the course means you can concentrate on the practical side of driving
✔ Usually based in nice, rural locations (but this can also be a big disadvantage — more on that in one mo)
☒ More expensive than traditional lessons
☒ Requirement to take time off work or education
☒ No guarantee of a driving test at the end of the lessons (your test could be months later than your lessons, so you lose confidence in the downtime)
☒ Little opportunity to practice driving in bad conditions (e.g. driving in the dark and/or rain)
☒ Learning on quieter roads might mean you struggle to drive in your local area
☒ Zero (or little) support with your theory test
☒ Expensive hotel and travel costs
☒ Late cancellation can result in losing all fees paid
This more popular type of intensive course is offered by most driving schools and instructors around the UK.
Instead of travelling to another area (like the Residential Courses we just covered), you’ll learn in your local area with a local instructor. Generally, you’ll have 2–5 hour lessons on consecutive days and take your practical test at the end of the course.
Most schools offer this type of intensive course, so it might be overwhelming when it comes to shopping around. Cheaper is very rarely better and it’s smart to go with a driving school that has access to fast-tracked driving tests .
But what are the ups and downs of local intensive driving courses?
✔ Typically faster than traditional lessons
✔ Fast-tracked driving tests will mean you take your test straight after your lessons, keeping everything fresh in your memory
✔ Many schools and instructors offer intensive courses
✔ Some schools offer help with your theory test
✔ Learn in your local area
✔ Much more flexibility and chance to work around your schedule, not the school’s
✔ Option to scale down and learn semi-intensively if intensive isn’t working for you
☒ More expensive than traditional lessons, but cheaper than a Residential Course (no overnight stays)
☒ Many options might make it harder to choose the right school/instructor
☒ Late cancellation will result in losing some lesson/test fees, but you’ll rarely lose the whole course cost
☒ Usually less opportunity to drive in different conditions
If you’re scouring the market for an intensive driving course, then you might notice some schools offer a ‘guaranteed pass’.
At first glance this sounds great, anyone would probably be willing to dish out a lil more dosh if they knew for certain that they’d have a licence at the end of it all. But the proof is in the small-print — and guaranteed passes are often too good to be true…
Each provider defines a ‘guaranteed pass’ differently. Some offer just one extra driving test, others offer several. In rare cases, you might be given unlimited attempts at the test but a time-scale to pass within. If you don’t pass within that time, you’ve paid all that extra money for nothing.
At the end of the day, no company can guarantee you’ll pass your practical test. Test examiners are employed by the DVSA, and no driving school or instructor can influence their decision. The one thing all companies can agree on when it comes to ‘guaranteed passes’ is that it comes at a cost — these types of courses are usually the most expensive (by a long stretch too).
Want to know more? We’ve done a deep-dive on ‘guaranteed pass’ courses to help you make an informed decision.
PassMeFast are intensive course specialists, but we reinvented the intensive to make learning to drive better for you.
We don’t ask you to travel out of your local area to take your course (but if you want to, we can also arrange that). Instead, we arrange your course to take place in your local area, with pick-ups and drop-offs from home or work. This way you’ll master driving around your local area and pass your test with bags of confidence.
Another problem that learners have with intensive courses is simply finding the time to do it! Life can be hectic — between work, hobbies, friends and family, a lot of us don’t have much to spare.
When you book with PassMeFast, we’ll ask you about your availability, rather than forcing you into our schedule. We’ll build the course around your needs, and find the perfect test and instructor for you.
Now, the really good thing about PassMeFast is how we organise our courses (if we may say so ourselves!).
Pssst — wanna know our secret weapon? We book your driving test before your lessons start. This might sound a bit backwards, but there’s a good reason for it.
By booking your test first, we can find your perfect instructor with plenty of availability in the run-up to your test. This way your lessons are as close as possible to the test day, keeping everything fresh in your brainbox and giving you the best chance of smashing your test.
Many intensive courses will tempt you into booking by telling you lessons can start in, “Just a week or two”. But your destination isn’t just learning to drive, you want to pass your test (and fast).
So even though you might start your driving lessons soon, your test could be ages after. This big, unwanted gap in your learning is just going to make you forget skills and you’ll end up forking out even more money for refresher lessons. No bueno!
So, that’s why we preach that it’s not when you start learning, it’s when you take your test that really counts.
Would you prefer to go with a company that offers to start your lessons in 2 weeks, but your test would be 2 months after your final lesson? Or would you prefer to go with the company that starts your lessons in one month, with a test straight after your final lesson?
It’s a no-brainer, if you ask us!
You already know we’re fans of flexibility and giving you the power to choose how you learn. Now you might be sitting there thinking: “I wanna pass fast but intensive just ain’t for me.”
And you know what? Nobody knows you better than… you!
So we offer semi-intensive and not-intensive-at-all courses too. And you can still pass faster than usual because we will fast-track your theory and practical tests. Your tests will be booked with enough time for you to fit your lessons in with one of our fantastic instructors at a pace that you’re comfortable with.