Guide to driving test centres in the UK with the highest pass rate (%) for Q1 of 2020


When you begin to learn to drive, most of us often want to pass in the quickest possible time – so we can explore the world and gain a new sense of freedom.

Well, unfortunately, as many young learner drivers will know, driving lessons and driving tests in the UK were postponed for quite a few months by the Government to help slow down the spread of Coronavirus.

Fortunately, across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, for a couple of months, these had fully resumed and were back to near-full testing capacity for many centres; until the announcement on 31st October which suspended driving lessons and tests for a provisional month-long period.

But, as you also may know, there is incredible demand for driving tests in particular, by an entire cohort of young drivers, eagerly awaiting their driving test pass certificate and that pink licence card.

Roughly 1.6 million driving tests are taken each year across the entire UK[1], so that roughly means that 400,000 young drivers will take their test each quarter of the year.

But, the latest figures, released by the Government have revealed that only 6,264 drivers actually took their driving tests in Q1 of 2020[2].

Don’t worry – it’s not all bad news. There are some positives we can take out of this – for the first time in years, the recorded pass rate was over 55% for early 2020[3]; almost 10% higher than the previous year.


Where is the best place in the UK to take your test?

So, it’s possible you may have a small delay in waiting for a test – so, to give yourself the best chance at success on the day, we take a look at the best places to take your driving test, with the highest first-time pass rates in the UK:

# Location Region Pass Rate (%)
1 Llandrindod Wells Powys 76.3
2 Crieff Perthshire 74.5
3 Ballater Aberdeenshire 72
4 Montrose Angus 71.2
5 Berwick-On-Tweed Northumberland 70
6 Lerwick Shetland 67.1
7 Arbroath Angus 67
8 Malton Yorkshire 66.4
9 Alnwick Northumberland 65.9
10 Whitby Yorkshire 65.7


Well, it seems that the in 2018/2019 the North dominated the top spots for best locations for first-time learner drivers.

Driving tests aren’t passed based on your geographical location – luckily.

But, with a higher demand for driving tests than we can ever (that we can remember), geography has quite a lot of say on how quickly you can take, and pass your test.


What are the busiest test centres in the UK?

Ok – so it doesn’t take a genius to guess where the busiest test centres may be…

Yes, London.

The English capital city may be home to the Queen and Corgis, but it’s also home to more people than any other UK city.

So, it’s expected to see London dominate the top spot, but which ones are the worst for number of tests taken?

# Test Centre City No of tests taken (18/19)
1 Goodmayes London 11,253
2 Morden London 8468
3 Pinner London 6702
4 Isleworth London 6312
5 Hither Green London 5881
6 West Didsbury Manchester 5694
7 Farnborough Farnborough 5629
8 Reading Reading 5332
9 Norris Green Liverpool 5246
10 West Wickham London 5015

*According to Go Compare’s analysis of busiest test centres[4]

So, whilst we don’t have any figures (yet) of where the busiest locations are in the UK this year, we think it would be safe to assume that one or two of these busy locations will feature on the list.

But what about if you are looking to find a quieter location where you’re more likely to pass in a quicker period of time?


What are the least busy test centres in the UK?

Holy Cowal (Peninsula) – you’ll get it when you look at the table.

As you would imagine, areas of outstanding natural beauty often have fewer residents – and subsequently a lesser demand for driving tests.

Who knows – post-Covid times may change all of this, but as they stand, if you are lucky enough to live near one of these less busy test centres, chances are, you’ll have a higher likelihood of avoiding long wait times.

# Test Centre Region Number of tests taken (18/19)
1 Ballater Aberdeenshire 100
2 Crieff Perthshire 110
3 Thurso Caithness 127
4 Dunoon Cowal Peninsula 131
5 Kelso Roxburghshire 139
6 Girvan Carrick 139
7 Iverness Iverness 144
8 Banff Aberdeenshire 153
9 Buckie Banffshire 160
10 Callander Stirling 164

*According to Go Compare’s analysis of busiest test centres[5]

To book your driving test, click here to be re-directed to the website.


As test centres, and driving instructors keep up with meeting the massive demand for driving tests this year, we would recommend all learner drivers to familiarise yourself with all relevant test resources, to help make sure that when you do manage to book a test, you feel confident knowing that you’ll pass first time round.

Usually, the recommended advice would be to look at available slots in test centres located within an area you are highly familiar with, for your best chances at success.

But larger wait times will force some to look elsewhere – if this is the case for you, then perhaps ask your instructor to take you on the roads surrounding the test centre, to help let you get accustomed to those routes you would be driving.

Best of luck!


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