A question we hear fairly often is 'how many lessons will I need to pass the driving test?'.
This is understandable when you work out how much pupils pay over a course of lessons (not forgetting the theory and driving test fees). But it's a bit
like the proverbial question - how long is a piece of string?
Put another way, if you imagine 20 people learning a new language, the equivelant question could be, which one
of them will be fluent first? It's basically impossible to predict.
The DSA quote 47 hours of professional lessons and 20 hours of private practice for the time it takes the average learner to pass.
Of course, this is an average, but it underlines the reality of the quantity of lessons required.
Funnily enough, all pupils seem to know a friend or family member who 'passed after 10 lessons'!! Unfortunately, although possible
for a tiny minority, there are many reasons why this is virtually unheard of. The exception being a learner who does hours of private
driving then takes a few lessons to set them up for the test.
Outside of this, pupils who take and pass the test in under 20 lessons will have a natural aptitude for driving. They also generally
have experience of road driving away from the lessons, whether in a car or on a motorbike.
The average learner, in our experience, takes around 30 to 40 lessons to get near test standard. Pupils that are able to
take private practice away from the driving lessons take less tuition. This is because, once learners get to a certain level, they know
what to do and it's just a matter of gaining more experience. Which basically means - driving around as much as possible (and practicing
Driving Instructors are often put under pressure, unfairly, by a pupil's Uncle, Dad, Mum etc. who say they passed after 10 lessons.
This fact gets quoted by the pupil who may not realise that the test was easier to pass 20 years ago.
Also, the number of lessons someone else took has no bearing on the person currently taking them.
They are different people, with a different personality on different roads - no two lessons or tests are the same! It might be
the same route, but what happens during the drive will be different every time.
We also find that some people who say they passed first time or after 10 lessons are prone to exaggeration or selective memory loss!!
Either way, the general response from the instructor is to give permission for the pupil to take the test in the Uncle, Dad, Mum's etc. own
car. This generally changes the situation!
The best tip we can give you if you feel you're ready for the test but are still taking lessons, is to ask yourself; would I
be able to drive around unaided for 40 minutes without any help (except the occasional road direction from the examiner). If you're not
sure, you're not ready!
If you feel your instructor is dragging their heels and stringing out the lessons (it happens, although less than it used to), ask to do a mock
driving test. It will alert the instructor that you feel you are ready, and hopefully, after the mock test, it will prove you are ready!
You could also book an assessment with a seperate Driving Instructor (from a different school), who should give you an impartial opinion
on how close you are to test standard. Obviously, if your regular instructor found out it could have connotations, so be careful how you
go about it.
To sum up, the DVSA average for professional driving lessons is probably slightly high for the majority of pupils, and the numbers can be
thrown out the window completely if you are able to do a lot of private practice.