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01/03/2024 - Bristol

Drivers wasted more than £16 million on failed theory tests last year

Data shows 55% of learners who sat down to take the test were unsuccessful in 2023 – amounting to 711,000 disappointed budding motorists, shelling out £23 a go.

And women were more likely to make the grade with a 47% pass rate, compared to 44% of male learners.

But data shows pass rates have been on the decline since 2007, which peaked with 65% getting top marks.

Since then, successful tests reached an all-time low in 2022 – with just 44% getting the chance to move on to the practical examination that year.

The DVSA data has been analysed by RED Driver Training, after research of 2,000 adults found the most common reason for failing was due to nervousness or anxiety (34%).

Seb Goldin, CEO of the driver training provider, said: “The driving theory test is not as easy as people think and there certainly are tricky questions from first aid to knowing your driving documentation.

“Factors such as stricter test standards, evolving road regulations, and heightened examination rigour have contributed to this trend.

“Learner drivers must prioritise comprehensive preparation, including consistent practice, thorough understanding of road rules, and seeking professional guidance.

“Success on the road begins with diligent preparation in the classroom, before mastering the technical skills behind the wheel.”

It also emerged that of those who failed their theory test, 20% were lacking familiarity with road rules.

But 15% chose to ‘wing it’ on the day, underestimating the difficulty of the theory test, and 14% bemoaned a lack of sufficient time for revision.

In fact, 39% who didn’t pass first time devoted less than five hours to preparation.

As a result, 42% of these kept their failure hidden from anyone outside of their immediate family – and 12% didn’t tell anyone at all.

Seb Goldin from RED Driver Training, which has developed a fuller free version of its ‘Complete Driving Theory’ app, said: “We want to turn theory tests into a positive and rewarding milestone rather than a daunting task.

“Our focus revolves around empowering learners to excel and feel safe on the roads, emphasising the importance of understanding rules and acing the theory test.

“We want to see an increase in first-time theory test successes, steering away from the approach of attempting to ‘wing it’.”