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Learning to drive

Test pass rates: what’s normal?

Good news: normal does not exist!

I - and you I bet - fell for the idea that everyone in the world except me/you passed their driving test first or second time. I have since realised that this is complete BALDERDASH. There isn't even a 'most people' in this equation.

Once I'd started asking around, I came across a lot of people who had quietly taken anything from 2 to 23 driving tests. Some of them still haven't passed. Of course, I know plenty of people who passed first time, but they seem to be in the minority.

Test pass rate for under 25s

The pass rate for under 25s is 54% for guys, 48% for girls and 51% overall. That means nearly half of all the driving tests taken end in a disappointing result.

Driving test pass rates

Practical car test pass rates 2013-2014, GOV.UK

And don't think 51% of young drivers pass first time - these are the pass rates for all tests taken in the UK over a year, which includes lots of people taking their test several times. The first time test pass rate is actually only 21%!

YOU are normal

As long as you haven't taken enough tests to be featured on the Daily Mail website, you're probably doing OK. The driving test is hard to pass because driving is hard to do. Go figure.

The important part of learning to drive is making sure you are safe and confident enough to captain a tonne of metal through a bunch of other people having varying success doing the same. It's not a race to the pass and thinking it is can be the very thing that leads to taking test after test and getting nowhere.

If you find you need a bit of help, here's how to get over failing your driving test. I'm an expert.


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Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .

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