To give yourself the best chance of passing:
If you happened to be around in the mid 1930’s you may have enjoyed Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The 39 Steps’ at the movies, driven one of the first Citroen Avant’s to roll off the production line and joined in the jubilee celebrations for King George V. To keep driving that lovely new Citroen though you would also have been required to sit a driving test.
Compulsory from May 31st 1935, the test was a more low key affair than drivers experience today. Then, there were no designated driving centres and examiners pre-arranged meeting locations such as at the local post office or the town hall. Drivers were expected to demonstrate skills which included handling, practical manoeuvres and even hand signals (although these were eventually discontinued 40 years later in 1975).
Since then the test has come a long way. Now it includes a theory portion as well as a ‘show me, tell me’ section aiming to test a drivers’ understanding of their vehicle.
While the test may have evolved, data suggests that pass rates have remained rooted in 1935. Reportedly over 50 million have sat the driving test with the first time pass rate remaining consistently around 49%.
Now Lookers, one of the UK’s most popular car retailers, has done some testing of its own by polling 100 people* and asking how many attempts it took for drivers to gain their licence.
Pass rates were as varied as the number of documented test routes. 53 happy people passed first time, while one unfortunate driver took six attempts. Others took between 2 and 5 tries – and there was a cluster of 8 people for whom 4 was the lucky number.
Drilling into the data further, the pass rates between men and women saw men slightly ahead with 28% v’s 25% of women who passed first time.
While the results suggest you may have a 1 in 2 chance of a first time pass, you can help increase your chances by reading our handy tips. And when you do pass, check out our top suggestions for the best cars for new drivers.
*Number of attempts