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Driving Tests | UK Driving Test Advice
Driving Newsletter - Tips and Advice on Passing your Driving Test

Booking your Driving Test

“Give Us Yer Money!”: ok not us, but DirectGov

  • How, and where to book your driving test
  • Where to find the cheapest place to book it (DirectGov of course)

Contrary to the title, your driving test doesn’t cost the earth – at least, not compared to the amounts you’ll spend on lessons and insurance, both before and after passing.

What’s more, it’s a piece of cake to book your practical test, and it only takes a couple of minutes. You can book online through several websites, although here at we’d always advocate using the DirectGov booking service. This is guaranteed to be 100% above board, so if anything goes wrong (like the test centre mixing up the day of your test – it has happened!) then you can be sure of getting a refund or a new test date without much fuss. It also has the added bonus of being commission- and admin fee-free, so you only pay the price of the practical test, and not a penny more!
There are hundreds of test centres around the UK, so you’re never far from one. You can choose to take your practical test at any test centre, although it would make sense to pick one that’s in an area you know – you do, after all, have to drive around it.

The DirectGov booking site is available from 6a.m. to midnight every day, and the whole process will take you about 10 minutes. Simply fill in the details they ask for (nothing you don’t already know or can’t find out), cough up your money, and Bob’s your uncle (Bob, it would seem, is everyone’s uncle. What a prolific gentleman).

Where can I book my practical test?

Booking your practical test is pretty simple, and is very much along the lines of the theory booking page. You can book online at DirectGov, by telephone on 0300 200 1122 (8am to 6pm Mon-Fri) or by post (but you still have to call 0300 200 1122 to order an application form). Online is the quickest and simplest way to book your practical test, and here's where you can do just that,


What do I need to book my test?

To book you’ll need your provisional driving licence number (this is printed on the front of your licence); your theory test pass certificate (this is printed on your theory test certificate); and a valid debit or credit card to pay for your test.

How much does the practical test cost?

Your practical test costs £62 if you take it Monday-Friday between 9am and 4pm; this jumps to a slightly more alarming £75 for evening and Saturday tests (if available). Sadly, most of us don’t have a choice in the matter, as there’s always school or work to contend with. We suggest you book through the DirectGov website, as this way you’ll avoid the commission and admin fees that many other websites charge.

When can I take my test?

You can take your test at any UK test centre between 9am and 4pm, Monday – Friday. Certain test centres also offer evening and Saturday tests. You can only find out if your test centre offers this extra service when you book your test – but if your nearest centre doesn’t, you might find that another centre close by does, so don’t despair. Bear in mind as well that there’s a significant difference in price for tests taken on weekdays and those taken in the evenings or on a Saturday. Aside from being cheaper, midweek tests are generally preferable as the roads will be quieter. There’s nothing worse than taking your test during rush hour.

How far in advance do I have to book?

This will depend on which test centre you’ve chosen, as the waiting times vary. The standard length of time for bookings is 3 weeks in advance – so if you want to pass in 3 weeks’ time, you need to book now. You can book a test a few months in advance, but most learner drivers leave booking their test until they are confident that they will pass – usually your instructor will tell you when they think you’re ready to ‘put in’, as they say, for your practical test.

Can I cancel or change my booking?

You are allowed to cancel or change your practical test booking without charge up to 3 days before the actual date of the test. This allows you to rearrange or get a refund if something unexpected crops up, or you find you’re just not quite ready to take the test. If you give less than 3 days’ notice, however, it’s likely that you’ll lose your fee – so it’s worth being sure that you’re ready before you pay up.

Can I use my own car for my practical test?

You are allowed to use your own car, within reason – the DSA have published a list of cars they deem suitable for taking a practical driving test. The list includes most standard cars, with notable exceptions being (predictably) sports cars, large saloons and 4x4s, along with any cars which have safety issues (see the DirectGov website for the full list). However, you’ll have to make sure that your car is fully insured, taxed and MOT’d before you bring it to the test centre. If it’s missing any one of these key ingredients, the examiner will refuse to take you on your test and you’ll lose your fee.

Passed my theory test before I take my practical?

Yes! You cannot take – or even book – your practical test without first having taken and passed your theory test.

Can I take someone with me when I take my test?

Changes to driving test rules mean that now it is perfectly acceptable to take someone with you on your driving test. This person is usually your driving instructor, but can be a friend or relative. They’re not allowed to help you in any way; they’re simply there to observe. It’s generally considered a good idea to take your instructor along, as they will be able to watch for mistakes which they can then work on with you in later lessons (should you need any).

Alternatively, you can opt to have your instructor or friend/relative join you at the end of your test to hear the feedback. This is not quite as informative as having them in the car during the test, but is a happy compromise for people who might see an extra passenger as an added pressure.


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