Intensive driving course are they right for you?

Intensive driving course are they the best way to learn to drive?


What exactly is an intensive driving course?

They are concentrated lessons given over a short period of time and often (but not always) finish with a driving test.

What intensive driving course is right for you?

This is a common question most driving schools and instructors will get asked when people call to inquire about driving lessons.

Intensive driving course

To be honest it’s also a question that cannot be answered without meeting people and assessing their existing abilities.

Not one course fits all because people are at different standards when they want to go the intensive route.

They could be new drivers with no previous experience, someone with a few hours under their belt, or may be someone who’s already had a lot of previous practice.

Then you’ve also got to consider where, and who did they get their practice with.

Learner might have only practiced on car parks or private land, or they might have had 10 lessons 20 years ago and never driven since.

They might have practiced with family, friends or a professional driving instructor.

There are so many possibilities, which makes it impractical to advise on which course would suit them best.

So, where do you start?  

Theory first. Before you can book a driving test you must have a valid theory pass certificate.

Bearing in mind that an intensive driving course should end with the driving test, therefore you won’t be able to book a course without the theory.

How many lessons will you need?

If you are a new driver with no previous experience, then you should consider that the course that you think you want, might fall short on the lessons you need to get you to the standard required to pass a driving test.

If you book a course with too few hours, once the course has started the driving instructor will not have any extra space, or the time to get you to standard before the test date resulting in the driving test being cancelled.

Even if you want to take the test for experience, your instructor won’t allow it if their opinion you could damage their car, or put people at risk including themselves and the examiner.

Also, the DVSA (who are the people responsible for driving tests, and driving instructors in the UK) will not be impressed with an instructor who allows a student to take a driving test when clearly, they are not at the required standard.

It’s not showing a proper sense of responsibility!

So, the logical first step for a new driver is to take a few lessons to grasp the basics and allow the instructor time to get an idea of your capability to learn on an intensive course.

For learners with previous driving experience they should take a few assessment lessons.

If they haven’t driven for some time they will need more than just a couple of hours to pick up somewhere near to where they left off.

Of course, if they are having lessons already and what to go intensive, their instructor will already be able to advise on which course is the right fit for them.

Don’t be tempted to book a intensive driving course without an assessment, because you won’t know the standard you need to be at to pass the driving test.

Even if you think your driving is good, it makes sense to get the opinion of an expert.

Intensive driving course and driving tests!  

When can you realistically expect to start an intensive driving course?

This is where good marketing comes in to play. Intensive driving courses are big money, and companies are setting up web sites to capture people wanting to pass fast.

They advertise learn in a week on an intensive driving course, with a guaranteed test.

But what they don’t make clear is which week the course starts, so the potential customer assumes it’s next week!

But that’s rarely ever the case.

Generally there’s a waiting time to book a driving test at most of the test centres in the UK.

Over the last 3 years, test demand has increased by over 200,000 tests – with an extra 92,000 last year alone. At the start of the year there were 265 fewer driving examiners than the last time demand was this high. Between April 2008 and March 2009 the DVSA saw demand rise to 1,756,522.  Source DVSA.

Waiting times at test centers can often be 3 months plus in advance, and that can increase if examiners take holiday or take sick leave, because there’s no one to cover their test’s, and so they get cancelled.

Another reason why you can’t just book an intensive driving course for the following week is that many of these internet companies who advertise courses don’t actually have their own driving instructors working for them, they are just middlemen.

So, they advertise intensive driving courses, take your money, and then try to find an instructor who’s short of work to accept the course.

Alternatively, you’ll be offered a split course. This is where you’ll start your week intensive driving course, and then wait a further few months for a test date before going back to take a few more days training.

Driving test centres

You can get around the test waiting time by taking the driving test in another town/city where the waiting time is shorter.

The problem with doing this is the lack of knowledge about the new routes. If you’re not familiar with the area, you’re at a big disadvantage.

What is the ideal lesson length?

This differs from person to person, and also depends on how advanced you are with your lessons.

Some intensive driving courses will have you in the driving seat for 7 hours a day. For example, a 35 hour course spread over 5 days.

Even a seasoned experienced driver will cringe at the thought of driving for seven hours, even though they will have little to think about, because they are driving from memory.

Drivers in the early stage of learning might be able to concentrate for a few hours but quickly become exhausted beyond that.

Learners with good experience can focus for up to three hours but beyond that you are asking a lot from them.

Following those guidelines, and new driver taking a 35-hour driving course will need 3 weeks to complete based on a 5 day a week.

A more experienced driver taking a 15-hour driving course would only need a week to complete the course.


Guaranteed test pass

If someone could guarantee a driving test pass, they would be a millionaire.

A Guarantee of a test pass is a gimmick.

No one can give you this type of guarantee unless they have an hand in the outcome. It implies that they can influence the driving test and that’s not possible.

What they really mean is that they will give you *unlimited lessons and book additional *tests each time you fail until you do pass.

*Check the small print unlimited isn’t unlimited!

But you are either going to pay way over the odds for this type of course, or give up for one reason or another.

Booking an intensive driving  

Before handing over your money follow this simple guide.

  1. Pass the theory test first
  2. Take an assessment drive, or if new to driving book some lessons to get beyond the basics
  3. Agree your lesson dates and times (avoid taking more than three hours in a day unless you get a reasonable break between lessons) and test date with the course provider
  4. Read and agree to their terms of service, this should include lesson cancellation and test cancellation policy
  5. Ask for a detailed plan of the course in writing or by email for back up, and peace of mind. They will need to see your driving licence to book the driving test
  6. Confirm the instructors details, is he a franchisee of the school or an out sourced instructor, and do they conform with the course providers terms of service
  7. Once you are happy then pay them using either bank transfer or visa for proof of payment.


If you don’t learn to drive today…

If you don’t learn to drive today you risk missing tomorrow’s opportunities!


This year has been a big year for inquiries about intensive courses, why?

Well people have put off learning until something happens which means they need a full driving licence quick.

Many employers now prefer prospective employees to have a full driving licence on their CV, so when a job opportunity arises, those without a licence could stand less chance of an interview.

We’ve seen an increase in people needing to drive when the opportunity of a promotion becomes available in their company, or a move to an new company is on the cards.

learn to drive

That’s when they start thinking about an intensive driving course to learn and pass quickly.

But, they soon hit a problem, because intensive courses don’t work quite in the same way they were hoping for.

The general consensus is that you can call up and book an intensive course starting next week and take a test at the end of the week.

Now wouldn’t that be great! So why is this concept floored?

Well first of all there’s generally a waiting time for tests with the driving vehicle standards agency. There are only a handful of examiners at each test center across the UK, and they can only take a certain amount of test’s each day.

So, if there are thousands of people booking tests then the waiting time could be several months ahead.

Yeah sure from time to time people cancel tests, but as soon as they appear on the DVSA’s booking site they are snapped up in seconds.

A couple of other factors to consider is:

  1. You can’t book a driving test without first having a valid theory test pass registered to your driving licence, and that apply’s to everyone.

Again, the general concept that driving school businesses have test dates pre-booked isn’t true, because they can only do so if they have a candidates licence details which must show an in date theory pass attached.

2. Availability of a driving instructor. Most decent driving instructors will have a full diary of clients for weeks in advance, and they aren’t going to risk loosing them by putting their lessons on hold to squeeze someone in for a one week intensive driving course.

Although some companies only offer intensive courses, their job is to keep their instructor’s busy every week, and to be successful at doing that they need to have courses booked weeks, even months in advance.

However there’s an increasing amount of companies posing as driving schools who actually don’t have any driving instructors.

But yet they’ll guarantee you a driving course, so how can they do that?

Well, first they’ll ask you to book and pay for the course you want upfront, some may even show available dates in a week or so’s time.

But because they don’t have any driving instructors working for them, they will ring the driving schools and instructors in your area, exactly in the same way you can do yourself, they’re just a middleman trying to make money in a busy market.

Obviously if everyone’s busy they’ll just book the first available course date possible, which could be in a few months time, or they’ll book a course in a different city which means you’ll have to travel.

If your not happy they’ll refund you money, but more than likely they’ll charge an administration fee for their time which could be a couple of hundred pounds.

Always read the terms and conditions before booking a driving course and make sure you research the company first.

Another consideration before booking an intensive course is how many hours will you need before you reach the standard required to pass the driving test.

You must first know the standard required before you can make that decision, and only a driving instructor will have that knowledge, so first you’ll need some sort of assessment.

So, to avoid disappointment it’s better to start learning to drive on your 17th birthday, take regular weekly lessons, commit to continuing with lessons until you pass the driving test, and you’ll be ready to take any opportunity that arises in the future.







Intensive Courses

Intensive Courses – The magic bullet to a successful test pass or not?

You’ve probably been told that intensive driving courses are the quickest way to pass your driving test.

And you might be led to believe you can start learning today and pass your driving test by the end of the week.

In fact you might have even seen driving schools offer a guaranteed test pass, you can usually find them advertising somewhere online.

In truth, I’ve never met a good, reliable driving instructor yet that can manage to fit you in for an intensive course within a week of booking, and juggle a full diary of customers to do so.

And I’ve never met an instructor who has the Midas touch, where everyone of his students pass first time round.

Which is why there’s a monumental flaw with Intensive courses & guarantees:

They don’t work for everyone, because:

  • Instructors don’t take you for the driving test – a DVSA driving examiner does, so instructor’s have zero control over the outcome of your test
  • The national test pass rate is less than 50% (source DVSA), and it’s even lower for those that learn from a week intensive driving course
  • So called guaranteed test pass courses cost thousands to book, and have a plethora of terms and conditions attached to them – They work on the assumption that most will pass the test well before using their paid allowance for lessons, or they will give up trying to pass. Either way they make a huge profit on the cost of lessons.

I’ve been in the driving school business for nearly thirty years and during that time I’ve got to know an awful lot of good driving instructors who will honestly tell you that intensive courses don’t work for many people.

And I’ve spoken to plenty of people who have made the mistake of booking expensive courses that didn’t work for them. And some of those have been scammed by people pretending to be instructors.

Here are some of the takeaways from what I have learnt:

  • One week driving courses are too intense for novice drivers to realistically have a chance to become a safe driver and pass a driving test
  • The thought of sitting behind the wheel for a Five hour driving lesson is sole destroying for someone that is learning each day over five days
  • Most of the information learnt on long driving lessons doesn’t stick
  • If you’re not up to speed by the end of the course your test gets cancelled and you forfeit the £62 test fee.
  • Candidates who fail their driving test on the course are often not offered a retest with the course provider, and have to look elsewhere for a new instructor

And if that’s not enough for you to think about, the world of driving lessons is alive and kicking with hundreds of wannabees, chancers and scammers who just want your money:

Another contributing fact to booking an intensive course date is the waiting list for a driving test with the DVSA. Contrary to most peoples belief, driving schools & instructors are not able to book and reserve driving tests. They are booked on a first come first served basis.

There are a few so called driving schools advertising intensive courses online that don’t actually give driving lessons or even have driving instructors. But they are quite happy to take your cash online…


With that said intensive courses that are managed and structured correctly can be very beneficial for people that want to learn quickly.

For example novice drivers should expect their course to last between three and four weeks. The reason is because it reduces the amount of time they need to spend in the car at any one time, and allows days off for the information learnt to stick.

Whereas people that have got good previous experience of driving, may only need a handful of lessons, and will be able to successfully complete a course in a week.

If you’re planning to start learning to drive soon, it’s easier to plan your lessons or course well in advance to avoid a long disappointing wait.