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This week the DVSA has published statistics showing the test centres across the UK showing the pass rates at each location. And a clear message from the statistics is that pass rates in metropolitan areas and large cities is far lower than at rural locations.
But with driving instructors being assessed regularly to ensure they are testing to a consistent level why should this be?
Well, Sandra Macdonald-Ames, who is an Advanced Driving Instructor and recently featured in the BBC fly on the wall programme So You Think You Can Drive, thinks the reason is clear. Test centres with higher pass rates tend to be in rural areas.
She says “[Those being tested in rural locations] are effectively learning test routes in a fairly predictable environment. If you practise for 20 to 30 hours you will inevitably cover all the local roads at one time or another. There are no nasty surprises.”
Furthermore she says “Additionally larger towns and cities present “multiple hazards" more frequently. As it is more unpredictable, candidates are more likely to get it wrong as decision-making needs to be much sharper," she said.
Figures from DVSA for 2013 to 2014 the pass rate at Belvedere in Bexley, a borough of London are 32.2%, while all the top ten centres passed over 68% of learners.
|Test Centre (2013/14)||%|
|Isle of Mull||80|
|Isle of Skye (Portree)||72.2|
|Barrow in Furness||68.3|
|South Yardley (Birmingham)||32.4|
|Wood Green (London)||34.2|
The DVSA said that whilst pass rates may be influenced by different factors it could not say if it was easier to pass at any particular test centre.
They stressed "Some people take more lessons and are better prepared for the test”.
The key is to prepare as thoroughly as possible. Obviously this can mean more lessons, but a more affordable way might be time behind the wheel with a friend or relative.
However this has, over recent years, become more difficult as many mainstream insurers no longer cover learners when they are driving.
This has led to a new market of specialist learner driver policies. These provide add on cover just whilst a learner driver is in control. These can be taken out for any period from one day to 6 months. It takes seconds to compare learner driver insurance using the unique MoneyMaxim service.
This will allow a learner to become more familiar with local routes, tricky junctions and bottlenecks, reducing the fear factor when it comes to taking the test, and increase the chances of passing.
Image courtesy of: David Castillo Dominici - FreeDigitalImages.net