Finding local driving test centres

There are lots of driving test centres dotted around the UK. At last count, there were about 380, with at least one in every county. 

Your certified driving instructor will know exactly where the local ones are. It can make good sense to book locally, not just because it is more convenient and involves less travel, but because you are more familiar with local roads and terrain. The more relaxed and familiar you are with your surroundings, the less likely you are to get so nervous you fail the test. 

Taking your test at the local centre can have another advantage: you can take your test with your driving instructor, if they are available. Ask them for their unique driving instructor number and quote this when you are booking to see if they are available. Having someone you are comfortable with when you are taking your test can increase your chances of a successful test significantly. Of course, if you do not get along with your driving instructor, you can book a separate test. 

To find your local driving test centre, you can do a Google search for “driving test centres near me”. This will work if you allow Google to see your current location. If you do not want to do this, search instead for “driving test centres in insert local area here”. 

Alternatively, the Government website has a tool to help you book your test at your local centre. If you cannot book online, or need assistance with finding information and booking, you can contact either your local centre or the DVSA directly or by calling them on 0300 200 1122 Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm. There may be call charges.

Booking your theory test at your local driving test centre

You can book online either through the government portal or at the local driving test centre’s site.

Booking your practical test at your local driving test centre

Once you’ve passed your theory test, you can then move on to your practical test. You can book this directly on the day of your theory test, or you can book it later from home.

Different testing centres

Each testing centre is unique. They all have the same standards of testing but the course you are tested on can be different from others. A lot of care is taken to ensure that no centre offers an advantage but some rural centres have higher pass rates. This is possibly because urban environments are harder to navigate. 

While it might seem a good idea to take a test at a centre that has a higher pass rate, there are advantages to taking the test in familiar territory. The overall pass rate for driving tests is 47 per cent, so you have a good chance of passing first time, wherever you take the test.

When to take your test

How much traffic there is on the road can change how nervous you feel and how difficult it is to navigate the road environment. Early tests can be taken during rush hour, which is a notoriously difficult time to take the test because of the complex traffic and how nervous it can make you. People are desperate to get to work, so they can behave irrationally, not something you want when you are nervous! 

The best time to take your test seems to be between 10am and 2pm. This time can avoid most of the daily traffic, although there is usually an increase during lunch time.

Does your local driving test centre have the right facilities?

Not all driving test centres can test for all the different qualifications. The majority do, but check to see if they offer what you need before you try to book. 

Driving test centres are reviewed publicly. You can check these reviews online.

Speak to your instructor

Your driving instructor will have the best idea of your abilities and temperament, and will therefore be best suited to recommending the right driving test centre for you. Remember that you can ask them to be an invigilator for your exam, or if they cannot do that, they can be in the car with you while you take your test.