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How long will it take to learn to drive?

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How long will it take to learn to drive?

As a trusted driving school we get lots of questions asked about learning to drive etc. So we have decided to create blogs for all the FAQ’s about learning to drive. This blog post is part of our Frequently Asked Questions on learning to drive.

When you are trying to work out how many hours it will take you to learn to drive, you have to remember an old cliche “everyone is different”.

Everyone is different so you may need 30 hours and your friend may have 60 hours! But you can do a few things to make sure you reduce the number you need (see below)

Our average number of lesson from a beginner to passed.

We do find that as a driving school we do have an average of around 30 hours from a total beginner. This is a lot less than the DVSA published in 2008 after a major study of learner car drivers found that on average people who passed their driving test had 47 hours of tuition and 20 hours of private practice. But that also means we have learner drivers who take longer or have had fewer lessons. Don’t be fooled by some driving schools saying they have an average of 20 hours! They may not be talking about complete beginners!!!

What you can do to minimise the number of lessons you need to pass your driving test.

We have asked our learners, driving instructors and also looked into the patterns of learner driver’s behaviour to give you these top 10 ways to reduce the number of lessons you need. The learner drivers with the best habits tend to progress the quickest.

1. Make sure you have a great driving instructor that you get on with.

It seems sensible to suggest that you need to be able to “get on with” your driving instructor. But it will make a huge difference. You have to be able to relate to them trust them and they should be able to help you understand and reflect on your performance while working with you to hit your goals. This alone will help you reduce the number of hours you need. If you don’t like your instructor, you won’t learn as quickly, the time between lessons will be spent worrying about them and time in the car will drag and not be used effectively.

Make sure you get on with your instructor to ensure you learn quicker

So what makes a great driving instructor? Aren’t all instructors the same?

All driving instructors who are legal, are registered with the DVSA. But we do find that the quality of driving instructors differs dramatically. If you have an instructor who is just “doing it for pocket money” as they are near retirement, or took early retirement and are just keeping their pension topped up, they often are not enthusiastic and will not put the effort in that a dedicated and enthusiastic instructor will. Also, the DVSA have also been working to change the way driving instructors are trained as they want a more client-centred approach, with coaching and reflection as the main training tools. This is due to come in anytime around December 2017 to February 2018 after they have got parliamentary approval (it was originally scheduled for October 2017). Lots of the older generation of driving instructors will never have had any training on client-centred approaches or coaching techniques. They will be able to tell you what you need to do to pass a test, but a trained coach will be able to help you with your needs and ensure you learn the areas that you need to improve on and skip the areas you don’t, this will minimise the lessons you need but also keep you safe on today’s roads – thus making the driving test easier to pass.

Find an enthusiastic driving coach to minimise the hours you need

2. Ask and plan what you can do between lessons.

At the end of your lesson, you can discuss your goals and reflect on your lesson. But, asking simply “what can I do before my next lesson”, will give you the ideas of what you can do. Some of the things you can do to minimise the time you are paying for in a car are:

Watch Videos

Quite often, you can use youtube (you instructor can recommend good videos) to watch videos on the topics you are learning, need to improve on or even the next lesson’s topics. That way you will minimise the time needed for your instructor to give you the knowledge and they can just help you with putting your knowledge into practice.

Observe your parents/friends driving

We spend a lot of time in cars, but most people don’t ask or observe others driving. Just asking whoever is driving you, what they are doing, why and observing if you would have done the same thing, can help you massively. If you keep thinking about driving between lessons, your brain will subconsciously also think of ways to solve the problems you may have. Just learning to drive on your driving lessons will extend the number you need. However, the learner drivers that we have who are more dedicated and excited to learn to drive tend to do this automatically and have a better knowledge and understanding of their lessons.

Reflective Logs

Completing a reflective log between lessons will keep your learning points and aims fresh in your mind. This will also help you learn and think about driving when you are not just in the car.

Use handouts

Does your driving instructor have handouts or other learning material you can use? If so then use them! 🙂

3. Book your theory test as soon as possible.

When you are revising for your theory test, the knowledge and understanding you gain will dramatically help you when it comes to driving in your lessons. The learners who book, revise and pass their driving test earlier in their lessons progress the quickest. Also, you cannot book your driving test until you pass your theory test. With the current waiting times for a practical test (at the time of writing this) being long and the examiners striking, you don’t want to be ready or at test standard in your driving and have to wait longer, keeping regular lessons so you don’t drop the standard just because you didn’t pass your theory in time to book your practical test for when you are ready to take it.

We give all our students free access to Theory Test Pro to encourage this. To have a quick free test or to sign up click on the banner below:
Theory Test Pro in partnership with

4. Book your practical driving test and make a plan to pass it.

Once you have passed your theory test, book your practical test! Work with your driving instructor to estimate how many hours you need, book those in the diary and then find a practical test that matches the date you will be ready. This way you can make a plan and it ensures that driving lessons are a priority, we all know that sometimes other things get in the way but if you have booked your test, then make sure you are committed to those lessons. You don’t have to worry though if you are not ready in time, you can change your test (giving at least 3 clear working days notice) to another date or ask if you can book extra lessons in on the run-up to the test to help.

5. Listen to your driving instructor and discuss topics with them.

My dad was chatting with a guy in the pub…

Yes, your driving instructor does know best! I have lost count of the number of times over the years I have been told “my dad was chatting with a guy he knows at the pub, and he said ….” Driving tests, situations, training and roads have changed a lot over the years so your “dad’s mate” who used to be an instructor 40 years ago probably is trying to help but, it’s likely not to be correct for you.

My mum said I was getting too close to the curb, or I’m driving too fast…

It’s great that your parents or guardians are getting involved and helping with private practice. But chat with your instructor on what is best. Remember, when your parent learned to drive, a lot was different. Also, they are not used to being passengers. Often, we find that after being out with parents, a learner then can’t keep to the left or they drive so slowly they become dangerous! Ask your driving instructor to explain to your parents what’s required now and what to work on. Or if your driving school has a workshop on supervising a learner or advice on the topic, encourage your parents to go to it or use it.

6. Don’t have long gaps between driving lessons.

If you have long gaps between each lesson, you will need a longer time to get back to the standard you were in the last lesson. Also, you can forget things as you may not have developed the skill into the long-term memory or developed muscle memory for that skill yet. This all adds up to wasted time in the car and means you will need more lessons 🙁

7. Get some private practice.

One of the main reasons people fail their driving test isn’t because they are not good enough, it’s often because they are not confident enough. If you are not confident in your abilities, you will overanalyse and do silly things when you are in a pressured environment – under test conditions. Be calm, get practice (legally – see our post on what you need to have private practice), with someone who isn’t your driving instructor so you know you can do it without them! If you can’t then try asking if you can have a mock test with another instructor from their driving school, this will help you become more confident.

Have a mock test with another instructor if you can’t get any private practice. This will help you be more confident.

8. Seach for workshops in your area.

If you want to save money and have fewer hours in the car with a driving instructor, then a workshop or classroom session on practical topics, theory topics and the driving test can help you minimise the number of hours you will need in a car 1-2-1. This will reduce the cost for you overall. Ask if your driving school provides this.

Workshops and training sessions can reduce the overall cost of learning to drive by giving you the knowledge and understanding of the topics in a group environment.

9. Join your driving school’s private Facebook group.

If you have questions to ask, can you ask them between lessons? Your driving instructor may not be able to reply to you as he is teaching someone else, by the time they do you are then doing something else. Giving you extra support and a place to ask questions that you can get correct answers to is another way to help you pass faster.

Join our new group today:

10. Have more than a one hour lesson a week.

If you want to maximise your learning, having at least a 2-hour lesson a week will help. If you want to learn faster, then having several 2-hour lessons will give you much more of an advantage. If you have more spare time in a week then have a look or ask about doing an intensive or semi-intensive course over one to six weeks.


If you have any thoughts or comments on this post, we would love to hear your opinions or views. Just leave us a comment below.

Chris RichardsHow long will it take to learn to drive?

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