How do I not get ripped off when booking a Theory Test?



Please Do NOT be fooled by the theory or practical test booking services that appear in the sponsored listings in a Google search.

You will end up paying more than £60.00 for a booking that should only cost £31.00, an extra £30.00 for literally nothing at all.

Let’s take some examples of “unofficial” test booking sites:

  1. – Has a admin charge of £18.00 totalling £49.00
  2. – Has an admin charge of £28.50 totalling £59.50
  3. – Has an admin charge of £28.50 totalling £59.50
  4. – Has an admin charge of £15.99 totalling £46.99
  5. – Has an admin charge of £17.00 totalling £48.00

They will charge upto an extra £30.00 on top of the £25.00 DVSA booking fee. What do you get for this extra? The answer really is Nothing!

You can obtain a Theory Test training DVD from someone like ‘Driving Test Success’ for about £6.00. You can obtain additional free advice from your instructor.

These companies claim free re-sits if you fail your test. The reality is that in order to benefit from this service (which, remember, costs and extra £30) you have to satisfy a range of unrelistic conditions. It doesn’t even cover you if you fail hazard perception! So what are you paying the extra for?

Their booking services often have official looking DSA Theory Test logo’s using the same colours and other road safety logos to fool you into thinking that they are official.

Services prey on the nervousness of people hoping they do don’t read the small print.

Save your money and prepare properly for your test and you’ll pass. The cheapest way to is to pass it first time. Ask you instructor for the best way to prepare for your test.

How do I get a short notice driving test?

Getting a short notice test is achieved by making use of existing previously booked driving test cancellations appointments.

For example, if a test candidate is not ready for or unable to take their driving test they may cancel it and rebook a later appointment. Every day there are thousands of these cancellations being made available. When a cancellation is processed, the test appointment slot is then available to be used by other candidates.

You can contact the Driving Test Booking service by phone on 0300 200 11 22. This number is charged at a local rate from a landline and is included in your allocated minutes on your mobile.

Or the easiest way is to go online to Book Your Driving Test Here, this has the advantage of temporarily reserving an appointment up for 15 mins, which is long enough to check with your Driving Instructor if they can make the new appointment. If you also ensure to enter your driving instructors number then they are unlikely to double book with another test.

This will take some patience, persistence and time to get the result you want.

How to Choose a Great Driving Instructor | Driving School

Google driving schools and you will get over 600k results. So how are you going to whittle through these and make a decision that may involve your future. You will obviously narrow this down for the area in which you live. So if you Google ‘driving school Cambridge’ or ‘driving instructor Cambridge’ you can stick to the first page. Proper reviews are quite useful, either on the website or Google or Facebook. If you get to calling you’d probably be better off going by the feel and the manner of the conversation rather than believing the statistics that you’re told.

Are the driving instructors fully qualified?

Some driving schools use trainee driving instructors. This means that they are still undergoing training to become a driving instructor. A trainee instructor will display a pink licence in the windscreen and a fully qualified driving instructor will display a green licence. A trainee instructor will not have completed a required amount of the training necessary or gained enough experience to instruct to a high standard. This will naturally take you longer to learn. The driving instructors at Driveaway School of Motoring are established, highly qualified with the majority having taken advanced and fleet driver training and risk assessment qualifications. We do not use trainees.

How much experience has a driving instructor?

A driving instructor with many years experience will have developed many hints and tips they have gained over the years to pass onto you and have a detailed knowledge of the test routes which will further aid you on your driving test.

Will you have same instructor for all your lessons?

Have the same instructor throughout the duration of your driving is important but as we are the largest local driving school in East Anglia and the only Co-operative driving school in the United Kingdom there is always backup if it’s needed.

Patient, friendly & Professional Driving Instructors

Not all teachers can teach. Our highly qualified driving instructors have been specially chosen, not only by their qualifications but also their experience and reputation. As a local driving school, reputation is really important to us. We cannot survive without the reputation we’ve built up over many years. The vast majority of our students are recommendations.

The cars we provide for tuition

We always use current, high spec, dual controlled, fully insured and maintained vehicles. Thinking of your safety always.

Picked up from Home, College or Work

Finding a driving school that will pick you up from your chosen location will make things a lot easier for you. Our instructors will endeavour to pick you up from a convenient location at no extra cost. We will also drop you off at an alternative location if required.

Driving Lessons in the evening or at weekends

Everybody had commitments of some form or another. Finding an instructor or driving school that can fit around your schedule is important. Driveaway School of Motoring provide lessons from early in the morning up to 8pm into the evening. Weekend lessons are also provided at the same price as weekday lessons.

Cost of Driving lessons

Is it worth shopping around for good lesson prices? The cheapest isn’t the best. If the average price for a driving lesson is £30-£35. If an instructor or school is offering lessons for less then you need to ask yourself why. There may be several reasons for this, either they’re not good enough so pupils are not referring them or they are relatively new to the industry in which case they haven’t had time to hone their skills. A good driving instructor or school will have a consistently high amount of work coming in. A considerable amount of this will be from referrals from previous students. Therefore, there will be no need for this school to charge excessively low prices. In the Cambridge area price per hour range from around £30.00 to £35.00. Our price currently per hour for driving lessons is £32.00 although purchasing blocks of lessons in 10’s or 20’s will be a little cheaper.

What is the test pass rate

This may be difficult to determine. Every time a driving instructor takes a candidate for their driving test the test result is recorded against their ADI number. The Driving Instructor can request an annual report from the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) showing their test results and pass rate. So if you want proof then you can ask to see these if he has them. Driveaway School of Motoring’s high pass rate is maintained by providing a structured learning system. The system is approved by the DVSA. It’s easy to understand and key skills easily learnt. Combine this with friendly and patient instructors that provide confidence and a relaxed environment to their students is what enables most of our students to pass first time.

How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance

Initially it’s worth looking at Marmalade they do a fairly good insurance policy for young and/or inexperienced drivers. The advantage of Marmalade’s policy is that it runs side by side the existing policy holders insurance and doesn’t affect the existing policy holders insurance in the event of a claim. Definitely worth checking out You should have a look at Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert. He has quite a lot of information on car insurance for young drivers. Cut up to 35% of Car Insurance with Pass Plus. 5% of motorists have already been forced off the road by the rising cost of motoring according to research by MoneySupermarket.

In the case of young and newly qualified drivers this is mainly due to rising car insurance prices, with the average driver between the ages of 17 and 22 now paying £2,431 every year. This is 64% more than they would have paid 12 months ago for a similar policy according to the AA.

However, this doesn’t mean the end of the road for young drivers, with it being possible to shave up to 35% off your car insurance premiums with a pass plus qualification.

Reasons for price increases

An increase in the number of claims being made, for even minor incidents, has seen many insurance companies become unprofitable. In a desperate attempt to avoid this, insurers have been increasing the cost of their premiums; penalising the policy holders deemed to be the riskiest the most severely.

Unfortunately young and newly qualified motorists are statistically the most dangerous on the road, with teenage drivers been ten times more likely to be badly injured or killed in a road accident than someone over the age of 35. It is also estimated that 20% motorists will be involved in a road incident within the first year of passing their tests.

However, there is a way that you can use statistics in your favour. Completing a Pass Plus qualification through Driveaway School of Motoring will provide you with a wider range of experiences in a variety of situations; statistically making you far less likely to be involved in an accident and make a claim on your car insurance policy.

What is Pass Plus?

Pass Plus courses are available to anyone with a full UK driving licence. They have been designed by the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) in an attempt to help newly qualified motorists drive in situations they may not have experienced before under the tuition of a qualified driving instructor. This helps ensure that they have expert advice in how to deal with these situations which they can employ while driving
independently in the future.

There are currently six modules which must be completed by pupils in order to obtain a Pass Plus qualification, these include:

Town driving – tuition in how to deal with rush hour traffic and complex junctions.
All-weather driving – how to drive safely in extreme conditions such as heavy rain, fog or snow.
Driving out of town – learn how to control your speed and position your car while driving out of town on country roads.

Night driving – you will be taught the correct light settings to use in specific situations and how to judge distance while driving at night.

Dual carriageways – build up the skills you need to operate on a road with multiple lanes.

Motorways – the next level up from dual carriageways. You will be taught how to plan ahead, maintain distances and generally drive safely.

If you are worried about having to experience another test like you had during your practical driving exam, then
don’t. There will be no official test at the end of the course, but you will be monitored by your instructor throughout in order to make sure that you have reached the required levels of competency.

Bring down car insurance prices

Not all insurance companies will assign the same weight to a Pass Plus qualification. However, it has been known for some insurers to provide discounts of up to 35% which translates into a potential saving of over £850 for the average young driver between the ages of 17 and 22. By making you a safer driver, Pass Plus could also make you a richer person.

However, there are an increasing number of avenues now being opened to younger drivers who simply can not afford to pay for a policy under normal circumstances. One of which is ‘Pay-as-you-go’ cover, where a black box is fitted to a vehicle and the motorist simply pays an agreed amount to the insurer for each mile that they travel. This has been specifically designed to help young drivers who are unable to meet the demands of conventional annual premiums. For more information on this and for more car insurance money saving tips, please visit the young drivers car insurance page.


Marmalade Learner stacked - V2 Marmalade New Driver stacked - v2

Are Intensive Driving Courses any Good?

Certainly they work for some people but for others an intensive driving course (or crash course) is too intense! It will depend very much on the individual. But remember it’s not a short cut. You still have to learn the same amount.

I would suggest that to gain the best from learning that you allow time in between your lesson to internalise what you have learnt. Slow and steady about 2 hours per week is usually good.

In reality humans have a limited amount of concentration in one go. If you have booked an intensive course that includes about 4 hours per day over several days you can assume some of those hours would have gone to waste.
If you have some driving experience already and nearly at test standard then a short intensive might be of benefit.

If you would like any further advice please don’t hesitate to ask.

10 Tips After You’ve Passed

Congratulations, you’ve passed your driving test! Now all those nerve wracking moments are behind you, you’re free to drive a car unaccompanied from now on, but it’s important to take everything you’ve learned with you as you go. Here are the top ten tips for when you’ve passed your driving test.

1. You must exchange your pass certificate for your full driving licence right away. The pass certificate is valid for a period of two years and if it is not exchanged, you will have to take your test again. While it may seem that you have time on your side, it’s easy to put the certificate in a drawer and forget so do it right away.

2. Obtain some probationary plates. This is purely optional but there are some advantages to displaying P-plates and letting other motorists know that you are new to driving. Most other drivers will display more patience when you are new to the road.

3. Avoid distractions. One of the biggest causes of accidents is the use of mobile phones while driving. While it may be tempting to use the phone as soon as you’re on your own in the car, remember that it’s illegal for a reason. Avoid using your mobile at all times.

4. Learn to be instinctive. Becoming an instinctive driver will come with time but you can start the learning process right away. Predicting the actions of other drivers can avoid accidents.

5. Advanced tuition. Motorway driving can make anyone nervous and as a new driver, you won’t have any experience of this. Seriously consider some lessons in this respect as well as looking at the advantages to taking the advanced driving test.

6. Keep some basic tools in your car. A basic car tool kit can include jump leads, a jack and a set of spanners and screwdrivers. While it may be prudent to join a motoring organisation for major breakdowns, a few everyday tools can get you home.

7. General maintenance. Take care of the basics by checking oil and water levels and keep an eye out for the petrol gauge. It sounds like a cliché but if you look after the car it will look after you.

8. Drive defensively. If you encounter an aggressive driver just stay out of their way. Getting involved in senseless arguments or ‘racing’ should be avoided by motorists new and old.

9. Stay alert. For new drivers, it can take time to get used to longer car journeys and driving on your own requires levels of concentration that you’ve not experienced before. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before any journey and that you take plenty of rest stops at regular intervals when you undertake longer drives.

10. Remember all your lessons. Keep the good habits that you’ve learned from all those driving lessons and from the test itself. They were taught for a reason and when you adopt them as soon as you get behind the wheel on your own, they will help you to stay safe. These lessons are vital and if you keep in mind all that you’ve taken on board when you were learning, you should ensure life-long safe driving.

Are the Rumours about Driving Examiners True

It has long been said that if you take your driving test on a Friday afternoon or at the end of the month, the chances are that you will fail. Do the examiners ‘manage’ their pass rates. Are these rumours true?

In fact the truth is yes and no. Like every large organisation the Driving Standards Agency which conduct the Driving Tests in the UK keep records of everything. They keep records of each Driving Examiners test.

The Driving Examiners at each test centre have to keep within a 10% pass rate from all the other Examiners in their centre. If their rate changes i.e. they pass too many, the change is highlighted at head office. Someone from regional office is then informed of the said crime and they are sent to the centre to examine the examiner. They do this by sitting in the back of the car whilst there is a candidate on test.

Many examiners maintain that this pressure to conform does not affect the way they conduct the test. Assuming examiners are human beings, then they will have human characteristics. On a day they are not under pressure to conform, they will mark the test according to how they usually do. On a day they are under pressure then their perspective may be different. With an error that requires discretion. One day they will perceive the error as a minor fault and the other they may perceive the same error differently maybe as a serious fault and thus fail the test.

If you have any stories about unfair marking please let me know.