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The easiest and hardest UK test centres to pass your driving test 2023

Where you take your driving test can have a big impact on how hard, or easy it is to pass. Let’s look at the latest numbers from the DVSA…  

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The easiest place to pass your practical driving test is Kendal in Cumbria, with more built-up areas in Liverpool, London and Manchester among the hardest. That’s according to our latest analysis of the DVSA (Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency) data on pass rates at driving test centres across the UK. 

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We looked at data covering the 12 months from April 2022 to generate the lists you’ll find below of the hardest and easiest test centres at which to take your practical driving test. We excluded any test centres that conducted fewer than 1,000 tests over the period because the test centres with the highest pass rates tended to be those in remote locations such as the Highlands and islands of Scotland, where only a few tests were taken.

The difference between the different locations is still startling when you consider that everyone is taking the same test. At Speke test centre in Liverpool – the hardest place to take your driving test – more than eight thousand tests were taken in the period and only around one in four passed. In Kendal – the easiest place to pass your driving test – there was a 68 per cent pass rate over more than 1,700 tests.

Urban areas are definitely harder to take your driving test in, with the top 15 toughest locations to pass including test centres in major UK cities such as London, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham. In these kinds of driving environments, high levels of traffic, complicated junctions, multi-lane roads and an abundance of signage can provide an extra challenge for learner drivers.

By contrast, the list of the easiest places to pass your driving test include test centres in towns in more rural areas around the country, including locations in England, Scotland and Wales. Quieter roads with fewer complicated roundabouts and one-way systems would seem to boost the chances of learners passing their test.   

According to the DVSA, the number one reason for someone failing a driving test is lack of observation at junctions. This is followed by failure to check mirrors, steering control and turning right at junctions.

The average pass rate for UK driving test centres as a whole over the period analysed was 48.4 per cent, with Kendal up at 68 per cent and Speke down at 29 per cent. Speke in Liverpool is actually the UK’s toughest test centre by a whole 5 per cent, beating London’s Erith test centre to the dubious title. Below that, the results tend to be much more evenly distributed.

The hardest places to pass your driving test in the UK

Below are the top 15 toughest driving test centres by pass rate in 2022/2023…

 

Test centre

Tests conducted

Passes

Pass rate (%)

1

Speke (Liverpool)

8382

2428

29.0

2

Erith (London)

3871

1334

34.5

3

Wolverhampton

13160

4649

35.3

4

Crawley

5890

2102

35.7

5

Wednesbury

6786

2425

35.7

6

Belvedere (London)

2892

1043

36.1

7

Glasgow (Shieldhall)

5868

2147

36.6

8

Bury (Manchester)

7925

2923

36.9

9

Plymouth

9345

3475

37.2

9

Rochdale (Manchester)

6860

2561

37.3

10

Greenford (Horsenden Lane)

6475

2447

37.8

11

Norris Green (Liverpool)

13201

5041

38.2

12

St Helens (Liverpool)

8292

3170

38.2

13

Wallasey

2780

1065

38.3

14

Featherstone

8397

3235

38.5

15

Barking (Tanner Street)

5294

2049

38.7

The easiest places to pass your driving test in the UK

Below are the UK driving test centres that carried out more than 1,000 tests with the highest pass rates for 2022/2023. A few test centres in remote locations have higher pass rates, with the centres in Isle of Tiree and Benbecula Island on top overall with a pass rates of 85.7 per cent, but carrying out only 84 and 7 tests in the 12 months respectively.  

 

Test centre

Tests conducted

Passes

Pass rate (%)

1

Kendal (Oxenholme Road)

1695

1158

68.3

2

Barrow In Furness

1929

1250

64.8

3

Chichester

7302

4726

64.7

4

Pembroke Dock

1773

1145

64.6

5

Aberystwyth (Park Avenue)

1241

788

63.5

6

Bridlington

3008

1903

63.3

7

Lee On The Solent

9332

5798

62.1

8

Dorchester

5202

3224

62.0

9

Melton Mowbray

2159

1337

61.9

10

Ipswich

9085

5610

61.8

11

Basingstoke

4214

2585

61.3

12

Dundee

5362

3285

61.3

13

Preston

9704

5930

61.1

14

Barry

1359

830

61.1

15

Abergavenny

4941

2999

60.7

Have you taken your driving test at any of these locations? Let us know what it was like in the comments…

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Head of digital content

Steve looks after the Auto Express website; planning new content, growing online traffic and managing the web team. He’s been a motoring journalist, road tester and editor for over 20 years, contributing to titles including MSN Cars, Auto Trader, The Scotsman and The Wall Street Journal.

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